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home : news : news June 25, 2016

7/2/2014 1:27:00 PM
Graddy family struggles with autopsy results delivery via news media

By Tara Lindquist

Their lives are different now, each day is a struggle filled with grief and more questions than they will ever have answers for, as Sue puts it, each day just has a little bit or a lot of "suck" to it. Their kitchen table is permanently missing a child at dinnertime, at night a bedroom remains vacant.

The Graddy family has been mourning the loss of Noah, 15, since he was found deceased in March, on the railroad tracks outside of Kasson. He had been missing since January. The family has had Noah's death certificate for a while, but they have been waiting for the official autopsy results.

On Wednesday, June 25, they found the official autopsy results had been released, to the news media. Noah's sister Savannah VanDenBerg received a message on Facebook from a reporter from KAAL Channel 6 news, asking what drugs were found in Noah's system at his time of death, as Dodge County Sheriff Jim Jensen had just released the autopsy results to the news station but would not comment on what drugs were in his system. "I was blown away," VanDenBerg said. "I was in a complete panic, we had no idea Jensen was going to be releasing the results to the media, we didn't even know what the official autopsy results were, we were not notified about any of it."

VanDenBerg started trying to get a hold of her mom, Sue Graddy, and her dad, David Graddy, but was unsuccessful. "I felt horrible, I couldn't warn them," she said. The first time the family learned the final results were available and being released was from the news media. "Even the reporter that contacted me said he couldn't believe that Jensen hadn't told us before releasing the results to them."

Sue Graddy, Noah's mother watched the newscast online after it had aired and she had been notified that it made the news. Through broken sobs she explained she feels that Noah is still with her in her heart, and that night while watching the newscast she could physically feel Noah's spirit bury itself further in her heart. "I know it sounds strange, but watching that physically hurt my heart, I feel like Noah was just burying himself in shame. He was a good kid, he was so funny and so kind, this is what drug addiction does, in a matter of six months of using he was gone. I know to Jensen he may just be a dead person, but," Graddy stopped for a moment because grief overcame her when she started again, she concluded, "He's just not a case or dead person, he's our son, he was my daughters' brother, he was a friend to so many, he was loved and he is missed every single day."

As Graddy wiped her tears, she said she just doesn't understand why they weren't notified first so they could have prepared the rest of the story in the Star Herald print edition.

Claremont Service

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