WASHINGTON – It’s perhaps the simplest question in the Seth Rich murder mystery that everyone involved in the case won’t answer: What hospital admitted and treated the DNC staffer before a physician pronounced him dead on that fateful morning of July 10, 2016?
Now emergency responders, along with police and two local hospitals, are refusing to answer that basic question.
And the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has reportedly refused to release Rich’s autopsy report.
WND asked officials with the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department which local hospital its ambulance transported Rich to – MedStar Washington Hospital Center or Howard University Hospital. Both hospitals are located within a one- to two-mile radius of the shooting scene.
“We transported the patient, Priority 1, to a nearby hospital,” EMS’ public information officer Vito Maggiolo told WND Tuesday. “All further information regarding this ongoing investigation should be referred to the Metropolitan Police Department.”
Inadvertently confirming that Rich had not yet died when EMS arrived to transport him to the hospital, “Priority 1,” Maggiolo explained, is a term used to categorize patients who are in critical condition.
Maggiolo also told WND the ambulance carrying Rich took exactly 6 minutes and 40 seconds to arrive at the hospital from the scene of the shooting, at 2134 Flager Place. NW.
Howard University Hospital is three blocks east of the shooting site, and MedStar Washington Hospital Center is less than two miles to the north.
With so little traffic in the early Sunday morning hours, the ambulance could have brought Rich to either medical facility in that time period.
Rich, 27, worked as the voter expansion data director at the DNC for two years. He had just accepted a job with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign before he was murdered near his apartment in an affluent neighborhood. He was shot twice in the back, and his wallet, credit cards, watch and phone were left in his possession. Still, the Metropolitan Police Department has described it as a “botched robbery.”
Rich was “very aware, very talkative” when emergency responders were on the scene, according to the DNC staffer’s brother, Aaron Rich.
“They were very surprised he didn’t make it,” Aaron said emergency responders told him, according to the Washington Post. “He was very aware, very talkative. Yep, that was 100 percent my brother.”
The Post reported that Rich’s parents were told their son “didn’t know he’d been hit in the back by two bullets.”
“He wasn’t in pain, they were told,” according to the paper. “But he was confused. When Seth Rich was asked where he lived, he gave a previous address …”
WND asked EMS to provide details about Rich’s condition when he was picked up, whether he was able to talk and, if so, did he say anything about his attackers.
Citing the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, also known as HIPAA, Maggiolo declined specifics.
As WND reported, Rich was likely admitted to either MedStar Washington Hospital Center or Howard University Hospital, but those hospitals refuse to answer confirm whether Rich was treated in their facility.
Furthermore, a police report issued by the Metropolitan Police Department indicates that Rich was “conscious and breathing” when law-enforcement authorities arrived on the scene. However, the report doesn’t name the hospital where Rich was treated or name the physician at the hospital who pronounced Rich dead. The report states:
CIC reports the sound of gunshots at 2134 Flagler Pl. NW. Upon arriving to the scene, the decedent was laying in the Southwest corner of the intersection of W. St. and Flagler Pl. NW. The decedent was conscious and breathing with apparent gunshot wound(s) to the back. The decedent was transported to local area hospital and was pronounced dead by attending physician at 0557 hours.
When WND sought an interview with hospital officials and a media representatives of MedStar Washington Hospital Center, administrators refused to answer questions and instead summoned security guards. WND also called and emailed both hospitals.
MedStar’s director of media relations, So Young Pak, would not confirm whether Rich was treated at the hospital. Pak also said the hospital cannot release information about any patient and cited HIPAA.
“I am not permitted to reveal any information about any patient of this hospital, whether that patient is living or deceased,” Pak told WND. “Journalists are not permitted in any hospital in the nation unless escorted by a director of media relations.”
Pressed to merely confirm whether Rich was admitted and treated at MedStar, Pak said, “All information is subject to federal privacy laws, and thus we cannot respond to the question.”
In general, under HIPAA, hospitals may disclose basic directory information about patients, such as condition or location within a hospital, to anyone who asks about the patient by name, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. A hospital may also say if a patient has been “treated and released,” or if the patient has died. However, patients and their families can opt out of providing any information at all.
Howard University Hospital also declined to respond to WND’s multiple requests for confirmation that Rich was treated in its facility.
Instead, Howard University spokesman Sholnn Freeman told WND by phone, “Um, I’m not prepared to answer this right now.”
When WND inquired about whether Freeman would have the information at a later time, he simply replied, “You can follow up with me.”
In yet another twist in the mysterious case, WJLA-TV 7 investigative reporter Scott Taylor says the D.C. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has denied his Freedom of Information Act Request for Rich’s autopsy report.
The denial stated: “Autopsy reports (including autopsy photographs and toxicology reports) are only subject to release pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 5-1412(b) and (c). Regulation 28 DCMR § 5005.3 prescribes the conditions for release of those records as follows: written authorization from the next-of-kin for the autopsy report, serving a subpoena on the OCME custodian of records, or pursuant to a court order if the court is satisfied that such person has a legitimate interest. As such, the requested records are exempted from the release pursuant to D.C. Official Code § 5-534(2). Importantly, the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel recebtly affirmed the OCME’s decision to withhold autopsy related records in accordance with the earlier referenced exemption …”
Meanwhile, Americans have been hunting for clues and searching for answers to a myriad of questions surrounding the unsolved murder. Rumors and speculation are running wild in online chat rooms, social media and websites. Some social media users have even speculated that Rich was killed at one of the D.C. hospitals.
One America News claims the attending physician who treated Rich was Dr. Jack Sava, a donor to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, who visited the White House six times before the day of Seth Rich’s murder. But WND has been unable to verify whether it was actually Dr. Sava who treated Rich.
WND called Dr. Sava, one of 80 doctors who specialize surgery at MedStar Health, multiple times to ask him if he operated on Rich. But WND was unable to reach the physician, and his office has not returned messages.
Dr. Sava is in a relationship with Lisa Kountoupes, a lobbyist for the DNC in 2016 who reportedly visited the White House 23 times during that same time period. They both reportedly visited the East Wing, reserved for then-first lady Michelle Obama and her staff.
WikiLeaks emails reveal Kountoupes co-hosted a Feb. 22, 2016, fundraiser with Tony and John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s 2016 national campaign chairman. Kountoupes and Dr. Sava were also listed on a guest list attached to a Feb. 7, 2016, email to John Podesta. Kountoupes is listed among Clinton Foundation contributors in the $10,0001-$25,000 donation bracket.
WND repeatedly has been directed to the Metropolitan Police Department by the FBI, EMS, hospitals and others. The Metropolitan Police Department and Washington, D.C., mayor’s office maintain that Rich was killed during an attempted robbery, even though the murderers left behind his wallet, credit cards and other valuables.
Rich’s story has been largely ignored by establishment media. Those who have called attention to the suspicious circumstances surrounding the murder have been branded “conspiracy theorists,” including Fox News host Sean Hannity.
Authorities say that he also had bruises on his hands, knees and face and appeared to have been in a scuffle with his attackers. Yet, no DNA evidence has emerged from that apparent altercation.
Jack Burkman, the head of a private investigative team in Washington, D.C., trying to solve Rich’s the murder, insists that officials with the Metropolitan Police Department are deliberately withholding information about Rich’s case from the public and have been directed to stop the investigation by Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser.
“The police have shut down all full operations,” Burkman told WND. “The police are not cooperating with us or anyone, which is sad. This has become a very systematic and deliberate effort by the D.C. police and the mayor to end the Seth Rich investigation.”
The Metropolitan Police Department disputed these allegations, warning that the department does “not entertain conspiracy theories and does not engage with conspiracy theorists.”
Responding to claims that Bowser instructed the Metropolitan Police Department to stop investigating Rich’s murder, the mayor’s office insisted to WND that Rich was killed in an attempted robbery.
On July 22, just 12 days after Rich’s death, WikiLeaks released 20,000 emails that it may have obtained from Rich proving the Democratic National Committee conspired to sabotage Bernie Sanders’ candidacy and secure Hillary Clinton’s nomination, leading to Debbie Wasserman Schulz’s resignation as the DNC chairperson.
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, suggested that Rich was one of his sources and insisted that Rich’s murder had nothing to do with a robbery.
“Our whistleblowers go to significant efforts significant efforts to get us material, and often very significant risks as a 27-year-old that works for the DNC who was shot in the back – murdered just two weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington,” Assange said in an interview last August.
“We have to understand how high the stakes are in the United States and that our sources are – our sources face serious risks. That is why they come to us, so that we can protect their anonymity,” he continued.
WikiLeaks issued a $20,000 reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of rich last August.
ANNOUNCE: WikiLeaks has decided to issue a US$20k reward for information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 9, 2016
WND reported that more than 50,000 Americans are now urging President Trump to press for an official investigation into the unsolved murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich.
Tens of thousands of Americans have signed a White House petition calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the case. The petition, which was created May 19, presently has more than half the signatures required – with a goal of 100,000 by June 18 – to receive a response from the White House.
WND also asked 125 members of Congress to weigh in on the unsolved murder, but not a single U.S. representative has agreed to address the case.
As WND reported, a manager at Lou’s City Bar, the last known location where Rich was seen before his murder, claims police never interviewed the bar’s staff or requested evidence, such as footage from security cameras. And police never questioned Rich’s DNC co-workers.
Burkman, who is offering a $105,000 reward for anyone with information about Rich’s murderer(s), revealed that a burglar broke into an FBI vehicle and stole weapons – including a .40 caliber Glock-22 handgun and a Rock River Arms Rifle – hours before Rich was shot multiple times just two miles north of the weapons theft. Burkman has filed a lawsuit suing the MPD for ballistics reports that would indicate whether the two crimes are in any way connected. The text of Burkman’s lawsuit, filed May 31 in the District of Columbia Superior Court, can be read here.