Wichita mayor: Body of man shot by officer released to family

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) The body of Andrew Finch has been released back to his family, that's according to Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell.

Longwell acknowledged that he received a letter from Lisa Finch, Andrew's mother, during a Thursday morning briefing.

In the letter, Lisa said she had not been able to view her son's body since the night he was shot and killed by a Wichita police officer on Dec. 28.

"Please let me see my son’s lifeless body. I want to hold him and say goodbye. Please immediately return his body to us,” she wrote.

Longwell said the issue has since been resolved.

"Our staff responded to help with the explanation that the case with the release of the body was 100 percent left up to the coroner," he said. "The county has actually released the body back to the family."

Longwell said he had not personally reached out to the Finch family but that staff members from his office had.

When asked if there would be a discussion between the City of Wichita and the Wichita Police Department on whether to release the name of the officer who shot Andrew Finch, Longwell said the case is still under investigation.

"Number one, understand that the KBI is heavily involved in the investigation and we're participating with the KBI in that investigation," said the mayor. "And until that investigation reaches a conclusion, there will be very little information that we can pass on because we don't want to jeopardize any portion of that investigation."

Longwell said he did not have a timeline on when the investigation would wrap up.

He said he believes Chief Gordon Ramsay and the police department have put out sufficient information about the case, but it's now with the KBI and the Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office.

"It's a difficult issue that we're all grappling with and we'll work our way through this as a community," said Longwell. "I feel strongly that we have the right people that are working their way through this case and ultimately, I believe that both justice and help will find it's way through this process."

While the family was reunited with Andrew, they still have a lot of questions.

"The family is devastated, not only by the shooting of Andy but how they were treated by the police and how they've been treated by the police and Wichita leadership following the incident," says Andrew Stroth, the Finch family's attorney.

Stroth says the family wants a full and thorough investigation and wants to see any and all evidence from the night of the shooting. He says they are focusing on the officer who shot Andrew and department procedures and protocol that may have prevented it.

"Justice is holding the officer and, potentially, officers, responsible for the shooting of Andy," Stroth says.