RHINELANDER, Wis. (WXPR) -- Oneida and Forest County's former Medical Examiner will spend a year in jail as part of a plea bargain to end a case that has lasted more than two years.
47-year-old Traci England was arrested in January, 2012 after a sheriff's detective heard her talking about bringing home parts of autopsied bodies to train a cadaver dog, referring to it as a 'doggie bag'. England had no authorization to take the parts.
The complex case came to a resolution with Forest County Judge Leon Stenz sending England to county jail for one year with Huber privileges, ordering her to make thousands of dollars in restitution and do 300 total hours community service in both counties. "It speaks from all the facts in this case that has been recited today as well as the victim's letters in the proceedings that this was very arrogant."
The prosecution and defense had reached an agreement where England would plead guilty to two felony counts of Misconduct in Public Office. Other counts would be dismissed but read into the record. Judge Stenz dismissed a recommendation of 10 days in jail, saying the crimes were aggravated. He was moved by nearly two hours of victim statements, including the father of one victim Walter Olejnik. "You have to understand, your honor, that it is impossible for me to think about my son, David, and not immediately be reminded by the horrible acts committed by Traci England."
The families talked of having psychological problems knowing the parts of their loved ones were not properly taken care of after death.
England said she was sorry. “Your Honor, I need to start by saying how truly sorry I am for the pain I've caused these families."
But Prosecutor Charles Simino said he was enraged by England's action. "I can't begin to fathom the magnitude what it means to have a loved ones' body parts taken without permission."
Stenz said England had to be punished for giving the public a sense of mistrust in government officials. He also ordered written apologies to the families. The Olejnik family has filed a civil suit against England. She has until Friday to report to jail.