Family members of civil rights lawyer Mary Han are appealing a judge’s decision to dismiss their lawsuit against Albuquerque officials for mishandling evidence at the scene of Han’s death. Her death in 2010, said by police to be a suicide, raised suspicions of foul play.
Colin Baugh is a spokesperson for the family and says ultimately they want to get to the truth of what happened on the day of her death.
"As anyone knows who has dealt with a tragic death, it can be ever more compounded into a very unhealthy and somewhat terrorized psychological position when you just keep guessing at what happened that day," Baugh said. "There is something that is fundamentally human about having closure when your loved one passes."
The lawsuit, called frivolous by the city attorney, was dismissed earlier this week in Federal Court, but the family insists they are going full steam ahead until justice is served.
Baugh says the family is continuing with legal action at the 10th circuit because investigators working with the police department did not do their job when it came to determining the cause of Han’s death.
Several family heirlooms were missing from Han’s home where she was discovered, and some of her personal belongings, such as her laptop, were given to her former business partner instead of being filed into evidence.
The lawsuit alleges that there was deliberate interference in carrying out an investigation by high-ranking officials, and that the constitutional rights of Han’s family members were violated because her death could never be investigated as a murder due to police misconduct.
Last year Attorney General Gary King said the investigation into Han’s death was terribly mishandled.