Bob Saget's family temporarily blocks release of his death investigation records: 'Traumatic to everyone who loved him'

·Editor, Yahoo Entertainment
·6 min read

The investigation into Bob Saget's death continues to raise questions — even from within the Full House family.

A Florida judge granted the Full House star's wife and children a temporary injunction Wednesday to block the release of records from the investigation into his sudden death at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando on Jan. 9.

"The nature of temporary injunctive relief is that there is an opportunity for the parties to come back and present more evidence," Los Angeles-based healthcare attorney Harry Nelson, author of From ObamaCare to TrumpCare: Why You Should Care, explains to Yahoo Entertainment. "So there will be a fuller review, but I suspect that the judge is sensitive to the family’s privacy and that there is not likely to be a different ruling."

The ruling came one day after Kelly Rizzo and Saget's three daughters from his first marriage filed a lawsuit against the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the medical examiner's office to prevent the release of any records — specifically "photographs, video recordings, audio recordings" and other "statutorily protected autopsy information" — related to Saget's death, which was caused by blunt head trauma. The filing said the "records graphically depict Mr. Saget, his likeness or features, or parts of him, and were made by Defendants during Defendants’ investigation." The women would "suffer irreparable harm in the form of extreme mental pain, anguish and emotional distress if the records were released in response to public records requests or any other reason or purpose." The filing said media outlets already filed to obtain autopsy documents.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JUNE 16:  Aubrey Saget, Bob Saget, Kelly Rizzo and Lara Saget attends the 30th Annual Scleroderma Benefit at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on June 16, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage)
Aubrey Saget, Bob Saget, Kelly Rizzo and Lara Saget at the 30th Annual Scleroderma Benefit in 2017. (Photo: Leon Bennett/WireImage)

Under Florida statutes, a photograph or video or audio recording of an autopsy held by a medical examiner is already confidential and exempt from disclosure with only a surviving spouse allowed access. Interestingly, it's due to a law stemming from NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt's 2001 death.

Nelson, who not involved in the Saget case, dismisses any speculation around why the family would want this information private — which has been a buzzy topic in the press and on social media.

"I would assume that the family simply sees further media investigation of the circumstances of Bob’s death as intrusive," he says simply.

There have been a lot of questions around Saget's death, even from his inner circle. Candace Cameron Bure, who played Saget's daughter on Full House, told Fox News on Wednesday that she's in "close contact" with Saget's widow.

However, she noted, "It's been difficult these past couple weeks because of more things that have come out and there's a lot of questions."

Many of the questions are around how Saget sustained his head injury. Last week, the chief medical examiner declared the star's death as accidental and caused by "blunt head trauma" likely incurred "from an unwitnessed fall" backwards in his hotel room. (A toxicology analysis did not reveal any illicit drugs or toxins. There were signs of Clonazepam, a benzodiazepine used to prevent seizures and treat panic attacks, and the antidepressant Trazodone.) According to the family statement, officials concluded the comedian and actor “accidentally hit the back of his head on something, thought nothing of it and went to sleep."

However, medical experts not involved in the investigation have questioned how he had such an extensive and severe head injury, and said the wounds were unusual for a typical fall. Dr. Gavin Britz, the chair in neurosurgery at Houston Methodist, told the New York Times the injury sounded consistent with a "baseball bat to the head" or a fall from "20 or 30 feet." Dr. Jeffrey Bazarian, an emergency physician and concussion expert at the University of Rochester Medical Center, said: "I doubt [Saget] was lucid and ... thought, 'I’m just going to sleep this off.'"

Nelson tells Yahoo, "While the coverage has portrayed this as mysterious, it is actually sadly common that people suffer head injuries that lead to brain hemorrhage without being aware that they need immediate medical attention. People think they will sleep it off, when they are at risk. This is related to the story of how serous concussions are that has overtaken many contact sports."

A TMZ report Wednesday claimed cops were "certain there was no foul play and certain the blow to his head had to happen in the hotel." The "injury to his head was severe enough that they're sure he could not have made the two-hour drive from Jacksonville," where he had a comedy show the night before to the hotel, the story said. Data from the door lock showed nobody else entered the room after Saget did at 2:20 a.m. And he was seemingly up at 3:42 a.m. — when he posted on Twitter.

The TMZ report also noted that officers on the scene did not see a bruise on Saget's head, noting it was only discovered during the autopsy. From the story: "The authorities say it's most likely Bob struck a portion of the bed's headboard that is not padded. We're told it's wood, and the best guess is he hit his head. Since he was under the covers, they believe he quickly lost consciousness. What's interesting ... although authorities on the scene felt the headboard scenario was the most likely, the Medical Examiner never mentioned it."

A rep for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office's tells Yahoo, "We have said from the beginning that no foul play is suspected. But the additional information in this unsourced story did not come from our office or from Sheriff Mina, which are the only two outlets for releasing official information from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office."

Says Nelson, "I think the family knows enough about the fact that [Saget] returned to the hotel room and got ready for bed to be sure that there was no foul play here. This was just a tragic story of a person not realizing how serious a head injury was — leading to the experience of further coverage of more details or delving deeper as invasive and voyeuristic public interest."

Nelson adds that it's likely just a case that the family does not "want to have their memories of him be photos of his body because that would be traumatic to everyone who loved him. They want to honor his memory with the good things we already know and love, and remember him by those things, not by a gruesome record of how he was found."

That seemed to be Saget's daughter Lara's sentiment. After the lawsuit was filed to keep the autopsy information private, she shared a post about "how poisonous gossip is" and "how important privacy is to grieve."

Also shared, after the temporary injunction, was a quote from her father saying, "I care about humanity."