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Jul. 18, 2013
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Details uncovered by this reporter shed new light into the June 18 death of journalist Michael Hastings.
Hastings' friend and confidant SSgt. Joe Biggs disclosed a macabre twist in the award-winning journalist's death in a suspicious single-car accident. According to SSgt. Biggs, "Michael Hastings' body was returned to Vermont in an urn." He further alleged, "Family members did not want Michael's body cremated."
This revelation provides another wrinkle in the Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) handling of a case they labeled "no foul play" only hours after the writer's death.
Nevertheless LA County assistant corner, Ed Winter, said it took two days to identify the burned-beyond recognition body of Hastings. Officials also confirmed that an autopsy has been performed, but the cause of death is still pending. Unfortunately the family will have to wait for cause of death answers as LAPD media spokesperson Lieutenant Andrew Neiman indicated, "It will take several weeks to get the toxicology results."
SSgt. Biggs also emphatically stated that liquor was not a factor in the accident, as Hastings hadn't consumed alcoholic beverages in five years.
So why is the LAPD delaying the reports?
It was SSgt. Biggs who released the following chilling email to members of the media; "Subject: FBI Investigation, re: NSA -Hey (redacted names) -- the Feds are interviewing my "close friends and associates." Perhaps if the authorities arrive "BuzzFeed GQ," er HQ, may be wise to immediately request legal counsel before any conversations or interviews about our news gathering practices or related journalism issues. Also: I'm onto a big story, and need to go off the rada[r] for a bit. All the best, and hope to see you all soon. Michael"
The receipt of this email from Hastings tipped the scales for SSgt. Biggs. "This wasn't an accident and I will continue to investigate his death."
As an investigative journalist, Hastings saw his fair share of threats. One particular passage in Hastings book, "The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan," revealed that a former McChrystal staff member made a death threat. "We'll hunt you down and kill you if we don't like what you write," the unnamed staffer said. Hastings coolly retorted: "Well, I get death threats like that about once a year, so no worries."
Despite the LAPD's categorization of the Hasting fatal accident as a "no (evidence of) foul play," LAPD continues to ignore FOIA (CPRA in Calif.) requests made by San Diego 6 News for the police report, 9/11 call, autopsy, bomb squad and toxicology reports, or make the Mercedes available for inspection which only fuels conjecture.