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Death investigation becomes unruly as relatives demand to see loved one’s body

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A death from possible natural causes turned into unruly family members trying to push past police and reach for their weapons Friday morning.

Police say they were called to a home at 56th and Michigan in regards to a death investigation around 7:35 a.m.

According to police, a 56-year-old woman appears to have died of natural causes, but they are waiting for the medical examiner to confirm her cause of death. Until the medical examiner makes a confirmation, they must treat every death as a potential crime scene.

While officers were waiting, the woman’s family showed up and wanted to see the body. Police told the family they would have to wait until the medical examiner confirmed the cause of death to avoid compromising the investigation.

Relatives say the woman's son became particularly distraught and pushed past police and touched off a mini-melee inside the home.

Robin Patterson tells FOX 4 the woman's children just wanted to see her body one more time.

Robin Patterson tells FOX 4 the woman's children just wanted to see her body one more time.

"If it was my mom laying on the floor I would want to see my mom," said Robin Patterson, a niece of the deceased woman. "I would want to touch her. Feel her and see her for the last time. That’s all he wanted to do. But they would not let him in. And it just got all out of control."

During the struggle for control of the scene, two officers reported someone grabbing at their guns, but neither officer ever lost control of their weapons.

"Family members became distraught and attempted to push passed officers,  and in doing so a family member of the deceased did grab an officer’s gun there during the struggle," Kansas City Police Department spokesperson Kari Thompson said.

One officer sustained a minor hand injury during the incident.

Although police did restrain some relatives with handcuffs, cooler heads prevailed. An older family member helped calm down grieving relatives. And police say they did not make any arrests.

Some relatives say they should have been allowed to see their loved one. Police say when folks around them are overly emotional, they must remain rational.

"Our focus is to always maintain the integrity of crime scenes, there will be no arrests in this matter," Thompson said.


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