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Local News

Parents say 'not a chance' Channahon woman killed herself after hearing coroner's ruling

A photo of Samantha Harer is displayed in her parent's home in Minooka. Harer's Feb. 13 death was ruled a suicide by the Will County Coroner's Office.
A photo of Samantha Harer is displayed in her parent's home in Minooka. Harer's Feb. 13 death was ruled a suicide by the Will County Coroner's Office.

A spokesman for the family of a Channahon woman who died of a gunshot wound to the head last year said the woman’s parents were “extremely disappointed” with her death being ruled a suicide.

Last week, the Will County Coroner’s Office announced it ruled Samantha Harer’s Feb. 13 death a suicide. The 23-year-old WESCOM dispatcher was in her apartment with her boyfriend at the time.

Paul Ciolino, a former private investigator who was acting as a spokesman for Harer’s parents, said Harer had no history of depression or suicide attempts. Harer’s parents, Heather and Kevin, previously had said they did not believe their daughter would kill herself and that they would be very suspicious if her death was ruled a suicide.

“Not a chance they feel their daughter committed suicide,” Ciolino said. “Not a chance.”

Ciolino added that at a meeting Friday, before the coroner’s office announced its ruling, some questions Harer’s parents had about the case went unanswered. He said they expect to be given back some of their daughter’s belongings that were taken for evidence in the investigation.

Channahon Deputy Police Chief Adam Bogart said that he couldn’t comment on the case because of pending litigation, referring to the lawsuit Harer’s parents filed against the Channahon Police Department, the Crest Hill Police Department and Harer’s boyfriend, Crest Hill police officer Felipe “Phil” Flores.

Ciolino said that Harer’s parents instructed their lawyer to withdraw the lawsuit “many weeks ago.” He said they figured it was not the time to file such a lawsuit.

The coroner’s office said in a news release that it made the determination after reviewing autopsy reports, toxicology reports, police reports, DNA analysis, blood spatter analysis, medical records and cell phone records during the 10-month investigation. The coroner’s office also said its team revisited the scene at Harer’s apartment in the 25000 block of West Bridge Street in Channahon with investigators from the Will-Grundy Major Crimes Task Force.

Ciolino added that Harer’s parents were not done with their own investigation of her death. They began working with Ciolino last year. His business, Paul J. Ciolino & Associates Inc., provides its clients with “evidence collection, evaluation and reconstruction as well as investigative case review,” along with forensic consultation.

“We’re just trying to find some peace for these people,” he said.

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