No cause yet in 'suspicious death'

Spokane medical examiner plans to reveal cause next week

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More than a month has passed since Thomas R. Schoolcraft, 39, was found dead in a Plummer trailer home across from the Coeur d'Alene Tribe headquarters.

As of Friday, there remains no official cause of death.

That might change next week.

Benewah County Coroner Ron Hodge said Friday the Spokane County Medical Examiner's Office, which conducted the autopsy on Schoolcraft, plans to reveal a cause of death sometime next week.

"I've never seen anything like this," Hodge said, speaking of the wait for answers in this case.

A representative for the medical examiner's office referred calls about Schoolcraft's autopsy results to Hodge.

He said the medical examiner's office has been focusing its investigation on Schoolcraft's spine and neck area.

The FBI investigated the death, but officials for the bureau have declined to provide details on what they are calling a "suspicious death."

Joseph L. James, 28, of Plummer, has been arrested in connection with Schoolcraft's death. James is reportedly Schoolcraft's cousin.

James is facing multiple charges, including criminal homicide, under Coeur d'Alene Tribal code. He remains in custody at the Kootenai County jail on $500,000 bond.

James has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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