Isanti County Medical Examiner Dr. Angelique Strobl presented the 2019 annual report for Isanti County deaths that required medical examiner involvement.
Strobl gave her presentation during the Isanti County Board meeting Feb. 5.
“We had 229 deaths that occurred in Isanti County reviewed or reported to our office,” Strobl said. “Our office performed 23 autopsies for Isanti, which is on the lower side. Of those, four were folks who died of natural disease and most of them died of heart disease, which is very common.”
Strobl said there were 21 accidental deaths in Isanti County in 2019 and the majority of those were elderly people.
• Eleven people, ages 86 to 99 years, died of complications of falls.
• Four people died in motor vehicle crashes. Two were women, ages 26 and 68 years; two were men, ages 37 and 56 years. Methamphetamine was present in one incident.
• Three deaths were due to substance use, and all were males ages 18 to 20 years. Substances detected were heroin (two), fentanyl (two), methamphetamine and a synthetic cannabinoid.
• A 1-month-old female died from asphyxia while co-sleeping.
• A motorcycle fell on a 58-year-old woman.
• A 74-year-old man died in a flash fire due to oxygen use while smoking.
“It is more common lately that we are seeing increasing illicit drugs in our overdoses,” Strobl said. “We are frequently seeing heroin, fentanyl and methamphetamine together.”
According to Strobl, they do not know if people are intentionally using all three drugs together, if the drugs are bought with all three in them, or if people are mixing them together.
“Sometimes substances are found at the scene that can be tested, but most of the time, they use what they have,” Strobl said. “That is definitely something in all of our counties that we’re seeing an increase of these deaths.”
Strobl said suicides were down from 2018, when 11 people died from suicide. In 2019, there were eight suicides with five male decedents, ages 33 to 75 years. Four of the suicides were due to gunshot wounds.
The medical examiner’s office approved 172 cremations for Isanti County.
“Because cremation permanently alters a human being, we need to make sure that nothing is forensically significant about the death before we allow cremation, and that’s why we approve all cremations in our jurisdiction,” Strobl said.
Like last year, there were no homicides in Isanti County in 2019.
There were 255 total cases in 2018, and in 2019, those cases decreased to 229.
“As usual, it is an honor to serve as your medical examiner,” Strobl said. “We greatly appreciate the work of law enforcement and the board.”
Isanti County Sheriff’s Office business
Isanti County Sheriff Chris Caulk approached the board of commissioners to approve a joint powers agreement with the state of Minnesota’s Human Trafficking Investigators Task Force.
“It’s for our office to work in conjunction with the BCA (Bureau of Criminal Apprehension) and other agencies across the state when it comes to human trafficking and sexual exploitation of anybody, youth mostly, but it could be adults as well,” Caulk said.
Commissioner Susan Morris asked if Isanti County deputies are training for human trafficking.
Caulk said that they do train their deputies.
“For instance, the one that comes up quite a bit is people that might be parked at a county park late at night and it’s not a romantic situation taking place there,” Caulk said.
The board of commissioners approved the Joint Powers Agreement unanimously (Commissioner Terry Turnquist was absent) and thanked the Sheriff’s Office for what they do.
Caulk recognized Corrections Officer Jacob Szczech for graduation from ICLD (Institute for Credible Leadership Development). It took Szczech a little over a year to finish ICLD, which he completed all four phases on his own time.
“It was an eye opener for sure,” Szczech said.
The board of commissioners thanked Szczech for taking the time to finish the program.