“I want Sunrise to be responsible and accountable for what happened to my son. He’s not coming back and it’s his job that took him.”
A grieving mother searching for answers in her son’s death said nearly six weeks after what police deemed a workplace accident but management at the Sunrise Resort Park has yet to tell her how it happened.
12 News reports records from the White Mountain Apache Tribal Police Department call Reggie Antonio’s death “accidental.” His death certificate states “blunt force trauma to the body” as the cause but the paperwork from the embalming of his body at the Silver Creek Mortuary in Pinetop states his body was “electrocuted.”
Kathleen Kane-Quintero shared a letter with News 12 dated Dec. 14, signed by Silver Creek Mortuary owner and funeral director Jason C. Brubaker, and licensed embalmers intern Matthew G. Buckley:
To whom it may concern,
It has been brought to our attention that a comment on the embalming report for Reggie Antonio has caused some confusion. The comment referred to is, “electrocuted.” This was included because of how the death call was dispatched to Silver Creek Mortuary at the time we received the initial call.
This was only listed as a comment, not a description of what was observed. There were no indications of electrocution. If there were burn marks, they would have been noted and described on the embalming report; as was lividity, a small cut on top of the head and bruising on the left side of the body.
We are sorry for the confusion this has caused. Please let this letter be an explanation of the notes on the embalming report.
There are different accounts of how Reggie Antonio died provided from different agencies. Once account drawn from a document to the tribal council, the park president at the time, Dawnafe Whitesinger, announced OSHA was investigating after park staff notified the agency of Antonio’s death. The letter tells of a “tragic,shocking and unfortunate death,” after Antonio cleared movement of the maintenance chair he was in, without first detaching the belay tying him to a tower. It reads, “this error is what killed him,” explaining how the rope pulled Antonio out of the basket.
“I want Sunrise to tell me what really happened. They haven’t told me the truth, you know, there’s conflicting stories in this. He loved his job, went to work every day and to me, they didn’t take care of him for me. They’re hiding something. They’re not telling me the truth.”
After contacting the tribal spokeswoman and the new interim general manager of the resort on Dec. 15, with questions about the ongoing investigation by OSHA, 12 News was still waiting to hear back the following Monday. We will update this story as information become available. We truly hope Kathleen Kane-Quintero gets a straight answer and some closure.