Sheriff’s officials in Marin County explained their decision to release the details of Robin Williams’ death, defending the move on the grounds that California law requires the information to be released, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Lt. Keith Boyd, assistant chief deputy coroner with the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, wrote in an email that while he would have liked to have kept some information private, he wasn’t able to under the California Public Records Act.
“These kinds of cases, whether they garner national attention or not, are very difficult for everyone involved,” Boyd said. “Frankly, it would have been our personal preference to withhold a lot of what we disclosed to the press [Tuesday], but the California Public Records Act does not give us that kind of latitude.”
During a televised news conference Tuesday, Boyd disclosed that Williams had committed suicide by hanging himself, including details about the condition of his body and how the actor carried out the act, which was met with criticism, including from suicide prevention experts.
“Having that amount of detail is not helpful,” Lyn Morris, vice president of clinical operations at Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, which runs the main suicide prevention hotline in Southern California, told the publication. “The contagion effect is real, and it’s worrisome.”
Lt. Keith Boyd