More MS news articles for May 1999

Rio Rancho Police Investigate Kevorkian Associate In Death

May 12, 1999
The Associated Press

GALESBURG, Mich. -- A Dr. Jack Kevorkian associate is under investigation in the death of a 54-year-old Rio Rancho, N.M., woman who had been suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Police on Tuesday searched Dr. Georges Reding's home near Galesburg for documents that could connect him to the Aug. 30 death, John Francis, a Rio Rancho police detective, said today. The woman's name was not released.

"I do have some investigators (in Kalamazoo County), but the case is still open and I don't want to jeopardize what's going on," said Rio Rancho, N.M. police Capt. Karl Wiese.

Kalamazoo County District Judge Richard Santoni approved the search warrant Tuesday, and local sheriff's deputies accompanied Rio Rancho police to Reding's home, about 125 miles west of Detroit.

Reding, 74, a retired psychiatrist, was not arrested. Police located numerous files and documents, including apparent medical records for patients from across the country.

Authorities spent hours trying to figure out what to do with those documents, since the search warrant sought only records pertaining to the Rio Rancho woman.

A 1963 New Mexico law prohibits assisted suicide and is a fourth-degree felony, said Wiese. He confirmed that the woman died and said she at first had been thought to have died of natural causes.

Reding's wife Kathleen said her husband declined comment.

"This is just typical of the kind of harassment (law enforcement) is known for," said attorney Michael Schwartz, who has defended both Reding and Kevorkian. "Now that they've gotten Dr. Kevorkian, they've decided they're going to go after his colleague."

Kevorkian was sentenced April 13 to 10 to 25 years in prison for second-degree murder in the nationally televised injection death last September of Thomas Youk, a Lou Gehrig's disease patient from Oakland County.

In 1996, Reding said he joined forces with Kevorkian because he was "embarrassed by the cowardice of my profession." He has attended numerous assisted suicides with Kevorkian and said he has examined Kevorkian patients for mental competence.