Two months after a woman from California fell to her death from a luxury liner off the coast of Rockport, FBI and the state medical examiner’s office have yet to announce a finding of either a manner or the cause of her death. An FBI spokeswoman said the case remained “an active investigation”.
Kristen Setera, speaking for the FBI’s Boston office, said the agency continues to have no comment regarding how Wendy Portman Lewis, a 59-year-old co-owner of a high-end jewelry shop in Palm Desert, Calif., went overboard from the a deck of the 650-foot Seabourn Quest roughly 10 miles off the coast of Cape Ann on Friday night, Sept. 11.
Setera said the agency also could not confirm whether the investigation has ruled out foul play.
While the FBI is the lead agency on the case — having taken control, as an investigative unit, from the US. Coast Guard within hours after Portman Lewis’s body was brought in to Rockport’s T-Wharf by town harbormasters Rosemary Lesch and Scott Story that Friday night — other officials are also waiting on the medical examiner’s office.
“I haven’t received anything — nothing,” said Rockport Town Clerk Patricia Brown.
As clerk in the community where the victim was pronounced dead, Brown’s office holds the death certificate for Lewis. The certificate, a copy of which was obtained last month by the Times, notes that Portman Lewis’s death, pronounced at 7:55 p.m., was not “due to injury.” It also indicates that her body was turned over to a family representative to be taken “out of state” within less than two weeks of her death.
While Brian Merrick, spokesman for the state’s Executive Office of Public Safety, said the medical examiner’s office confirmed it had worked on the case, that office had not provided a cause or manner of death as of Tuesday, with the certificate still listing it as “pending.” The certificate was filed by Casper Funeral and Cremation Service of Boston for disposition of Lewis’s remains “out of state” on Sept. 16, the certificate shows.
Pat Brown said a delay in reporting a cause of death “is not unusual.”
“We had one case where it took three years to get (a cause of death report) back,” she said.