Family Of Woman Killed Disagrees With Coroner's Suicide Ruling

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By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The family of a far southwest suburban woman who died of a single gunshot wound last year does not believe a coroner’s ruling that she committed suicide.  

Samantha Harer, 23, died last February on the day before Valentine’s Day. 

Her family’s spokesman, investigator Paul Ciolino, said Harer’s police officer boyfriend with whom she had a rocky relationship was with her when she was shot once in the head in her apartment in Channahon.

"The family’s thought is there isn’t chance in hell their daughter committed suicide," Ciolino said.

Officer Felipe "Phil" Flores is an officer in the Crest Hill Police Department. Chief Ed Clark tells WBBM Flores has been on paid leave while the investigation into Harer's death was going on. Chief Clark expects Flores to return to "administrative status" soon, once an internal investigation is complete.

The Coroner’s office said in a news release that Harer was shot once in the right temple. The coroner's office said its ruling is based on blood spatter and DNA analysis, police and toxicology reports and medical and cell phone records. 

Channahon Police Chief Shane Casey tells WBBM "the evidence basically supports the coroner's decision on how he ruled."

But Ciolino said the family is not convinced.

"There isn’t a doubt in their mind. I’ve spent a lot of time with this family. They’re damaged goods. What has happened to them has ruin, destroyed their lives. Literally destroyed their lives," he said.

Ciolino said it had been well-known that Harer had wanted to break up with Flores, and that she had "no background or history of depression" or suicidal thoughts.

Ciolino said an attorney had filed a lawsuit against the police departments named, as well as against the boyfriend, but had done so prematurely and was going to withdraw the suit.