Molly Young family presses forward

Submitted by Carbondale Times on

Geoffrey Ritter
Carbondale Times

The family of a woman found dead under murky circumstances in 2012 continues to press forward in its quest for a complete investigation and now is appealing a recent dismissal of a civil lawsuit.

In addition, the family and supporters of Molly Young secured what they count as a major victory last week when the Illinois Attorney General’s Office ordered the Illinois State Police to turn over all documentation in the case to Young’s father, Larry Young, seemingly resolving a Freedom of Information Act battle that has been lingering since January 2014.

Larry Young says the newly won information, which he has yet to receive, could help to give recent civil action new life in appellate court, where he says an appeal already has been filed. Young says his lawyer, Charles Stegmeyer, also will push for a change of venue in the case. The notice of appeal was filed Monday in Jackson County.

“With every little bit, it gets worse,” Young says of the information he has learned in the more than three years since his daughter died. “Everything about it stinks, and it stinks all the way up the line. I’m so disappointed in our judicial system and law enforcement.”

Molly Young, 21 at the time, was found dead from a bullet wound to the head in March 2012 in the Carbondale apartment of Richie Minton, her on-and-off boyfriend and at the time a dispatcher at the Carbondale Police Department. 

While text messages sent from Molly Young’s phone that night indicated possible suicidal intentions, other details in the case have given rise to a host of other questions and theories.

Young’s family has pointed to, among other things, the lack of fingerprints on the gun and the downward trajectory of the bullet, which the right-handed Young likely would have had to have fired with her left hand. 

Minton, who drank heavily earlier in the evening, summoned Young to his apartment and later said he must have slept through the gunshot from his weapon that ended Young’s life in his bedroom.

Minton reported the death as an overdose in a 911 call first initiated by his roommate several hours later, telling first responders that he only found the gunshot wound after attempting to perform CPR on Young. 

When investigators discovered a pair of fresh scratches on his back that morning, he told them he must have sustained them while administering CPR.

Minton has agreed to no subsequent interviews with the Illinois State Police, who were called in quickly to investigate the case because of Minton’s connection with Carbondale Police.

In 2013, an inquest jury was presented with the choices of suicide or homicide and ruled the nature of Young’s death undetermined. Jackson County State’s Attorney Mike Carr announced later that year that he lacked evidence to pursue criminal charges in the case, and a special prosecutor announced a largely similar opinion late last year. The case remains open.

Last summer, Larry Young filed a wrongful death suit against Minton in Jackson County, although Judge W. Charles Grace dismissed it this spring, citing the statute of limitations requiring that any civil action be brought within two years of the incident in question. Larry Young filed the suit in June 2014, about two years and three months after his daughter’s death.  Young’s lawyer pushed for a reconsideration of the dismissal, although that was rejected in early June.

Larry Young and his attorney have largely argued that that the clock started running on the civil statute of limitations not when Young’s death actually occurred, but rather when they first learned critical details in 2013 at the coroner’s inquest that led them to suspect possible homicide.

Larry Young said Sunday that his claim of fraudulent concealment of information — a condition that pushes the civil statute of limitations to five years rather than just two — is backed by the newly acquired FOIA decision, which states that the Illinois State Police improperly withheld documentation.

“We didn’t have the records to go into civil court,” Larry Young said. “The question is, how much is the rest of this going to reveal?”

Earlier this year, the Times received almost 1,000 pages of documentation from the State Police regarding the case, although the information apparently had not been revealed to the Young family. The documents detailed the early investigation, as well as follow-up interviews done through 2014.