CIVIL SUIT FILED AGAINST
MOTHER OF DEAD WOMAN ASKING JUDGE TO REVIEW RULING ON DEATH
Police, Fire and Court reporter
The mother of a
Barb Thompson has been working since her daughter, former Washington State Patrol trooper Ronda Reynolds, died to persuade authorities it was not a suicide. The filing, called a petition for judicial review and extraordinary writs, requests a judicial review of
Reynolds was 33 years old and married to Ron Reynolds, principal of
"Hopefully this will accomplish something," Thompson said in a brief telephone interview on Friday evening from her home in
Errors plagued the investigation, including neglecting to check Ron Reynolds' hands for evidence he had fired a gun, meaning it was harder to clear him of suspicion.
The case was closed as a suicide by the Lewis County Sheriff's Office in May 1999, under protest by the lead investigator, former detective Jerry Berry. Thompson convinced then-Sheriff John McCroskey to reopen the case in 2001 and Coroner Wilson changed the manner of death to undetermined. Expert opinions have varied, with some certain the woman was murdered and some certain she took her own life.
In April 2002, investigators with the state Attorney General's Office reviewed evidence given to them by the sheriff's office and agreed the death should be classified as a suicide. And so
Wilson, who is running for his seventh term as elected coroner, could not be reached for comment.
The bulk of the 60-page filing is an analysis of the case by former police officer Marty Hayes. Hayes is seeking to unseat
Thompson said she met with new Sheriff Steve Mansfield and then this spring with
"I don't want Ronda's case to be part of an election," she said. "That was not my choice. That was not my wish."