Police Crime Scene Tape

Florida Lawmakers Could Shield Child Autopsy Reports Following Murders Of 2 Brothers

Police Crime Scene Tape
Police Crime Scene Tape (TFP File Photo)

In an issue stemming from the 2021 murders of two Alachua County children, a House panel Tuesday unanimously approved a bill that would provide a public-records exemption for autopsy reports of children killed in acts of domestic violence.

Sponsor Chuck Clemons, R-Newberry, said the bill came after 14-year-old Rex Reinhart and 11-year-old Brody Reinhart were fatally shot by their father, who then committed suicide.

A medical examiner released autopsy reports of the boys under the state’s public-records law. Clemons said news organizations then ran details of how the boys died.

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“Florida has a very broad public-records law, and I’m very proud of that. Florida is a government-in-the-sunshine state,” Clemons told the House Ethics, Elections & Open Government Subcommittee before it approved the bill. “I just believe that this narrow closing of the public-records laws, with this narrowly defined definition, would not only serve Floridians, but it would keep other family members from experiencing that tragedy and the … hurt that occurs not just today and tomorrow, but because those things are in the internet, they can be hurtful forever.”

The bill doesn’t discuss details of the Reinhart case, but Gainesville-area media reports said Paul Reinhart shot his sons while going through a divorce with their mother, Minde.

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The Senate version of the bill (SB 404), sponsored by Sen. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, is scheduled to be heard Wednesday by the Senate Governmental Oversight and Accountability Committee.

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