Coroner’s Backlog Delays Reports

By Patric Hedlund

Supervising Deputy Coroner John Van Rensselaer said Monday, Dec. 21 that toxicology and lab test results have been received for case files on Jukka Hellsten, 42 and Carl ‘Scotty’ Shropshire, 49. Both died in Frazier Park in November under circumstances that opened “suspicious death” investigations for both men. The coroner will not be issuing his reports in these cases for at least two weeks, Van Rensselaer said.

“We have only two doctors and one’s mother died this month, so we have 11 autopsies just for today and only one doctor. At most we will be able to get only two of them completed, with nine of them moved forward. And that leaves no ‘paper days’ for our doctor to compile reports from the information we already have on earlier cases.” the coroner explained. “We’re backlogged. Everything is in on both these cases; it is a matter of compiling all that information into final reports. It will be a couple of weeks….”

The life of Jukka Hellsten was celebrated by a large group of friends and family in a gathering at the Los Angeles Finnish Center this month. At that event and following it, reporters for The Mountain Enterprise were contacted by friends who assured us they had heard Hellsten make loud sounds (and screams) when he was alarmed, despite an injury to his voice about a year and a half ago.

Hellsten’s body was found in Cuddy Creek near the Monterey Trail bridge on November 3. The previous night an urgent 911 call was placed by residents of Decator Trail who heard screaming from the creek area as if someone was being attacked, running, and in great pain.

In interviews with The Mountain Enterprise, several witnesses have stated independently that Hellsten and his girlfriend Alyce Coleman had a violent relationship. There is no evidence of which we are aware at this time linking Coleman to Hellsten’s death.

Another of Coleman’s former boyfriends died November 27. Carl “Scotty” Shropshire’s body was found in his parents’ home while they were reportedly away on a camping trip. Shropshire is said to have told others that he was going on “a bender” and that he was suffering from severe hepatitis C. Lead Homicide Detective Kevin Brewer said Shropshire’s death “is still an open investigation but we haven’t determined yet whether it is a homicide because we’re still waiting on reports from the coroner’s office.”

Alyce Coleman, meanwhile, was arrested on an outstanding warrant October 26, 2009—the same day she reported to Kern County sheriffs that Jukka Hellsten had been missing since the night of October 23. She was released on a $5,000 bond and is scheduled to be in Ventura County Superior Court on DUI charges January 7, 2010.

This is part of the December 25, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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