Medical examiner releases Scott autopsy results

Police call case 'death investigation'
November 17, 2009 8:40:14 AM PST
The Cook County Medical Examiner's Office has released autopsy results for Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott, but police continue to call the case a death investigation. On Monday afternoon, the medical examiner's office released the cause of death as suicide. Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis said despite the ruling by the M.E., police will continue to call the case a 'death investigation.'

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"There are a lot of questions that we still have that we have to track down through various investigative techniques," said Supt. Weis. "We have a lot of work to do. We have to interview a lot of people. We have to check cameras in the area."

Weis would not comment on the medical examiner's ruling of suicide. He said no suicide note was left.

"There's a lot of things we have to look at before we feel comfortable coming out with that," Weis said.

Scott's body was found in a foot of water on an embankment near the Chicago River around 3:15 a.m. by the Apparel Mart, 315 N. Orleans, which is just west of the Sun-Times building. Police confirmed a missing person's report was filed early Sunday evening.

His cell phone was used to locate his body and his car, which was found in a parking lot near the river.

Scott died of a gunshot wound to his head. A weapon was recovered at the scene; police are looking at whether the gun was registered.

"We're just trying to be thorough. It's early on in the investigation," said Supt. Weis. "We're searching the entire area, kind of backtracking out to where the body was found looking at logical way into that area and try and backtrack to see what cameras might be available so we could pull the footage and see what they might show us."

History of public service

Scott's history of public service spans three decades. Mayor Richard Daley canceled a speech in Michigan to be at Scott's home.

"It's a shock to everyone. Michael was a wonderful friend of mine. He loved Chicago just as much as I did," said Mayor Daley.

Daley appointed Scott to the school board twice. They were close friends for decades. The mayor saw Scott last week at a school-related meeting and said Scott did not appear to be troubled.

"I spoke to him this week and I have good memories of him at all times. I would say the memories of Michael continue. He can be in anyplace, he had a smile and he was always upbeat about life," said Mayor Daley.

Mayor Daley does not think Scott's death has anything to do with a federal investigation into admissions practices at Chicago Public Schools. Scott was recently called to testify in front of the grand jury investigating the CPS policy on enrollment at the city's magnet schools- and whether clout factors in.

Scott served in public posts under three mayors. He was once the head of the Chicago Park District Board and was also a member of the Chicago 2016 Olympic committee. He was the president of his own real estate development firm.

"My wife and I would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of Michael Scott. Mr. Scott was a strong advocate for education. His contributions to the minority communities of Cook County will be sorely missed, in particular, his love for the upward mobility of residents from Chicago's West Side where he spent his life," said Cook County Board President Todd Stroger in a statement.

Reverend Jesse Jackson, who was at the scene Monday morning, praised Scott, whom he has known for 25 years. Jackson said Scott was known for getting the job done and was "the man to turn to for anything anyone needed in the city."

"We loved him so much. He meant so much to us," Jackson said. He saw Scott last week and said he was upbeat.

The president of Chicago's Teachers Union, Marilyn Stewart, also released a statement: "He was dedicated to doing what was best for the children in Chicago's public schools, and his death leaves a huge void to fill at a time when the board definitely needs stability in its leadership."

Family releases statement

Scott, 60, is survived by two adult children and his wife, Diana Palomar Scott, who is the vice president of community affairs at ABC7. The family released a statement Monday: "The family of Michael W. Scott deeply appreciates the outpouring of support during this time of unimaginable grief. Our personal loss is also shared by many throughout Chicago, the home he loved so much. We will miss him greatly. Arrangements for a public memorial service will be announced shortly."


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