Investigations

An Unquiet Death: The last days of Jerome Lackner

Chapter 1: Jerome Lackner, once the maverick leader of California’s Department of Health, lived a big life, daring to challenge powerful institutions and uncompromising in his advocacy for the downtrodden. His death, at age 83, would prove no less controversial. This is the story of his painful demise, and the murder investigation that would divide his family.

Investigations

An Unquiet Death, Chapter 2: A family divided

In September 2009, Jerome Lackner signed himself into hospice, saying his wife, Becky, was controlling him and that he feared for his safety. Yolo Hospice took him, but only briefly. He wasn’t ready for end-of-life care. Eventually, he returned home, but tensions between Becky and Jerome’s daughters mounted.

Investigations

An Unquiet Death, Chapter 3: A fateful homecoming

After a lengthy stay with his daughters in Santa Cruz, Jerome Lackner went back to his wife, Becky, determined to give his marriage another chance. He returned to his Davis home on a June morning in 2010. It would be the last time his daughters spoke to him or saw him alive.

Local

An Unquiet Death, Chapter 5: Doubt and denials

The Lackner family had endured three rough months. Jerome’s daughters had accused Becky of manipulating their father and cutting off access. Becky had accused the daughters of abusing him and holding him captive. Jerome had filed for separation, then opted to reconcile. The tense funeral seemed a fitting coda to events. Instead, it began years of anguish.

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