Bid to have former mayor’s body exhumed in donkey death case

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William Bohkle
William Bohkle

The body of a former Texas mayor ruled by authorities to have been killed by a donkey jack may be exhumed, with his widow believing he was the victim of a murder.

Bill Bohlke, 65, a former mayor of Hollywood Park, in Bexar County, died late in August 2012 from what authorities say was an attack by the donkey on his ranch in Atascosa County.

However, his widow, Tonia Bohlke, is taking legal action to have the investigation into his death reopened and seeks the exhumation of his body.

The petition, filed in the 131st Judicial District in Bexar County, disputes that the death was the result of the donkey’s actions. She insists her husband was murdered and argues that multiple questions remain over his death.

The death was investigated in 2012 by the Atascosa County Sheriff’s Office, which held the stud donkey responsible.

However, a private investigator hired by Mrs Bohlke argued there was evidence to show he may have been murdered, including what he said appeared to be a boot print on Bohlke’s back.

Mrs Bohlke is petitioning for an exhumation order to enable an autopsy to be performed, as one was not conducted at the time of the accident.

Atascosa County Sheriff David Soward asked former chief medical examiner Vincent DiMaio to review evidence in Bohlke’s death in the interests of justice.

DiMaio’s findings were released two weeks ago.

Sheriff Soward said DiMaio’s conclusion, after reviewing all the evidence and photographs, was that Bohlke’s injuries were inflicted by the donkey, including bite marks on his arms and a hoof print contusion on his back.

“Dr DiMaio stated that it was his opinion that Mr Bohlke attempted to fight off the donkey based on what he observed.

“[He] also concluded that Mr Bohlke was able to get under the trailer, where he was found lying on his side using his hands for a pillow.

“He also thought it was highly likely that Mr Bohlke died as a result of his heart condition rather than the actual injuries inflicted from the donkey.”

Soward said the case would remain closed, as far as his office was concerned.

“We realize how difficult this tragic death has been on his family and we certainly sympathize with them,” he added.

He stressed that the case had been taken very seriously from the outset.

“If we had seen anything that indicated there may have been foul play involved or that another human being had been present that day, we would still be diligently working this, but that is just not he case. The evidence is clear.”

A hearing on Mrs Bohlke’s petition is set for April 21.


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