Ruling imminent in manner of death for Sgt. Sean Drenth

PHOENIX - The ABC15 Investigators have learned the Maricopa County Medical Examiner will soon be making a ruling on the manner of death for a Phoenix police sergeant who was shot to death with his own shotgun on-duty in October 2010.

Family members told ABC15 they were informed last week that the manner of death for Sgt. Sean Drenth would be listed as a suicide on the death certificate, although a spokesperson for Maricopa County, Cari Gerchick, said it is too soon to give a response. 

Gerchick would not confirm whether the manner of death would be listed a suicide, homicide, or undetermined.

For more than a year, the Phoenix Police Department has handled the case as a homicide investigation, and the lead homicide detective, Warren Brewer, has said he believed the death is a homicide.

Currently, the Phoenix Police Department is classifying Drenth's death as a "Death Unknown".

"Unexplained DNA, unknown shoe prints, location of firearms, the original police report will remain titled "Death Unknown" until these questions are satisfactorily explained to our investigators," Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump.

The ABC15 Investigators have been following the case for over a year. Check out their full investigation, Death on Duty: Sgt. Sean Drenth Mystery .

Police investigators are still waiting for official, written opinions from two, outside pathologists, who have been reviewing the case, before they determine how to move forward with the case.

When the written evaluations from the outside pathologists are submitted to the Phoenix Police Department, detectives will regroup and make a determination whether to continue classifying the death as unknown or whether to consider it a suicide or a homicide.

Drenth's family, meanwhile, has maintained that Drenth did not kill himself.

"There's a cop killer out there," Diane Drenth, Sean's mother, told ABC15 in a September interview.

"I know that we don't want any of the people that we've come close to over this time to go through anything like we've had to go through," she said.

Diane and Sean's wife, Colleen, sent ABC15 the following statement Tuesday regarding the medical examiner's ruling:

The ruling made by the Medical Examiner is completely unacceptable to us. We know, without a doubt, that Sean absolutely did not take his own life. He loved his wife, his family, his friends, his dogs, his music, as well as his job as a police officer. He was always a very happy individual who enjoyed each and every day of his life. He was never someone who was sad, depressed or distraught, as one would have to be, in order to take their own life. We will do everything possible to fight this and get answers to find out what really happened. The results so far are equivocal and given the lack of conclusive evidence, we feel the finding of the medical examiner is a reflection on the medical examiner's office giving up on the case rather than coming to a final conclusion.  We will do everything possible to fight this and get answers to find out what really happened.

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