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Police in Kentucky apologize for mistaking injured woman for dead

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Woman was badly beaten
  • Nearly five hours before paramedics were called
  • Victim died at the hospital the next day
  • Police change procedures because of incident

(CNN) -- Police in Lexington, Kentucky, are apologizing for mistakenly thinking a severely injured woman found at a crime scene eight days ago was dead, then failing to get her to a hospital until more than 3 1/2 hours after they found her.

According to a timeline of events from a Lexington Division of Police press release, officers responded to a call at 6:24 p.m. on June 9 and arrived at the house five minutes later. They didn't find the victim's body until 7:50 p.m. Then, they took another hour and 15 minutes to notify the coroner. A half-hour later, at 9:35 p.m., the coroner arrived. No one requested an emergency care unit until 11:07 p.m.

The woman died at the hospital the following day, Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said.

"We felt like we made a mistake in the way we handled the health assessment that night," said Roberts. "Because of the way she looked, appeared, officers thought she was deceased. Because of this incident, we have made a policy change.

"Anytime there is a case where a person is badly beaten, even if officers think they are dead, paramedics will always be called." said Roberts. She added that the Lexington Division of Police is performing an internal investigation.

Lexington Police Chief Ronnie Bastin has come up with directives for officers that will formally become permanent policy "in the coming days," according to the press release. They include ensuring the first officers on the scene immediately request emergency care and render whatever medical aid they can before preserving and documenting the crime scene.

CNN's Jackie Castillo contributed to this report