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Chief apologizes for missing victim’s body after fiery crash

January 12, 2022 GMT

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee’s fire chief is apologizing for his department’s failure to find a body in a vehicle involved in a fiery crash last weekend.

The body of the 21-year-old woman wasn’t found until an attendant at a tow lot where the car was taken discovered it hours later Sunday.

Fire Chief Aaron Lipski said Tuesday he wanted to make sure police investigating the crash were not blamed for missing the body.

“I want it to ring very clear. A search of a recently extinguished vehicle is our responsibility and we failed to uphold that standard in this situation,” Lipski said.

The vehicle crashed into a vacant building about 5:30 a.m. Sunday and burst into flames. The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the victim as Jenna Reichartz, of Milwaukee.

“We know the family is grieving and we acknowledge that the recognition of, and the affording to, human dignity extends beyond life,” Lipski said. “We have a great deal of experience in and take pride in handling deceased individuals with great dignity,” the chief said. “Our failure to locate this person and thus properly manage their remains deprived them of this most basic dignity and I am sorry for that.”

Reichartz body was found in the back seat. And, a report says it was possible it was pushed back by water from fire hoses. Police were unable to determine from surveillance video if anyone exited the vehicle and fled the scene, the report said.