On Friday June 7, 2013, the Phoenix Police Pension Board approved line of duty death benefits for Colleen Drenth, the widow of Phoenix Sgt. Sean Drenth who was found dead on October 18, 2010.
Unlike most death cases which come before the board, this case was complicated by various factors and circumstances that surrounded his death, one of which was the fact that the medical examiner ruled the death a suicide. The medical examiner in his report did not explain why he ruled it a suicide and used only circumstantial evidence to make his determination. To this day, he has still not explained his findings.
Attorneys and experts hired by the Drenth family presented compelling evidence to show that more likely than not Sgt. Drenth’s death was not a suicide. The pension board had requested additional information from the medical examiner six months ago and still has not received any of the requested information.
PLEA Treasurer and elected Pension Board member Will Buividas insisted that the board should not wait any longer to make this important decision; arguing that, “Colleen has waited over 2 and a half years for a decision and we owe it to her and Sean to bring closure to this case.” The rest of the board agreed and voted 4-0 to grant death benefits which will be made retroactive to the date of his death.