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Weeks after Coral Dawn Bernal died in July 2020, her father called the lead investigator into her death for an update only to learn that the Taos County Sheriff’s Office closed the case.

Carpio Bernal said when he made the call, he thought he was just following up on a list of names and contact information he gave to the deputy Lee Totman.

The report from the Sheriff’s Office shows that on-scene investigators ruled there was no foul play, meaning they had no grounds to start a criminal investigation.

On top of that, the full autopsy report shows she died of “chronic ethanol toxicity.” Coral’s battle with alcoholism depleted her liver and caused blood issues that may have ultimately killed her.

Still, the Taos Pueblo family was not going to leave any rock unturned. They had questions about the case. They still do.

Why did Indian Health Services send Coral home after blood tests showed she had high enzyme levels that ultimately contributed to her death?

Why didn’t the U.S. Attorney’s Office notify the family that a sexual assault case where she was a victim had been dropped? She only found out when she saw the person she accused of assault in Taos shortly before she died.

Did the Sheriff’s Office contact the list of people the family provided for more information about the events leading up to the day she was found dead, July 18, 2020?

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