TV reporter who broke story of Bill Clinton tarmac meeting with Loretta Lynch dies of apparent suicide

·3 min read
Birmingham TV anchor Christopher Sign has passed away. His death is being investigated as a suicide, police said.  (ABC15)
Birmingham TV anchor Christopher Sign has passed away. His death is being investigated as a suicide, police said. (ABC15)

The death of Birmingham TV anchor and former Alabama college football player Christopher Sign is being investigated as a suicide, police have said.

After a 911 call at 8.13am on Saturday, police and fire personnel arrived at a residence in Hoover, south of Birmingham, Alabama, and found the 45-year-old dead.

“Our deepest sympathy is shared with Chris’s loving family and close friends,” the Vice President and General Manager of Sinclair Broadcast Group Eric Land said.

“We have lost a revered colleague whose indelible imprint will serve forever as a hallmark of decency, honesty and journalist integrity. We can only hope to carry on Chris’s legacy. May his memory be for blessing,” Mr Land said.

While working as a reporter and a morning anchor at ABC affiliate KNXV-TV in Phoenix, Arizona, Mr Sign was the first to report on the June 2016 meeting between former president Bill Clinton and then-attorney general Loretta Lynch on the tarmac at Sky Harbor International Airport in Pheonix during the presidential campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Mr Sign wrote a book following the story called Secret on the Tarmac.

Mr Sign grew up near Dallas, Texas and worked as a reporter at ABC 33/40 between 2000 and 2005. He reported on stories such as the 2001 Brookwood mine disaster and hurricanes Charlie, Frances and Ivan.

The station announced in 2017 that he was returning to the channel, this time as an evening anchor.

“The opportunity to rejoin ABC 33/40 as a weeknight anchor in 2017 was too good of an opportunity for him and his family to pass up,” the station wrote.

“What most people don’t know is Chris turned down an opportunity to work for one of the national networks to come to ABC 33/40, and he made that decision because of his family.

“That decision put him in a place where he could see his boys off to school in the mornings, watch them play baseball in the evenings, and take them fishing on the weekends,” the station added.

He won an Emmy in 2014 for breaking news for his coverage of the shooting of two police officers in Phoenix.

He also won an Edward R Murrow Award for spot news for his reporting on the hunt for the “Baseline Killer” and “Serial Shooter” in Phoenix during the summer of 2016.

Attending the University of Alabama in the 1990s, Mr Sign played offensive lineman for the Crimson Tide for four years.

He met his wife Laura, a volleyball player, at the university. They have three sons together.

“Chris was a tremendous leader in our newsroom,” ABC 33/40 wrote on their website on Saturday.

“He worked with our reporting staff on a daily basis, but also worked behind the scenes with the I-Team and with news managers on coverage of major events. You were very likely to get an email from him with a story idea in the middle of the night. He was passionate about journalism and showed it each and every day as he pushed himself and his colleagues to be the best.”

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