Autopsy of Man Who Died in Cohasett Police Custody Completed; Cause Pending Toxicology Results

The matter of Erich Stelzer's death remains under investigation

Authorities say the autopsy of a Massachusetts man who stabbed a woman repeatedly before he died in police custody last week has been completed.

According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the cause and manner of Erich Stelzer's death are pending toxicology testing, which authorities say may take weeks to provide results.

The matter of Stelzer's death remains under investigation.

Cohassett Police had responded to a disturbance call at a home on Church Street at about 10 p.m. Thursday. When they arrived, officers located a 24-year-old woman who had been able to escape from her attacker, identified as 25-year-old Stelzer, according to the Norfolk district attorney's office.

The victim, identified by family as Maegan Tapley, had extensive stabbing and slashing injuries. She was taken to a local hospital for treatment and was expected to survive.

Tapley's mother said her daughter met Stelzer on the dating app Tinder.

In an effort to disarm Stelzer, police used stun guns to subdue him. As paramedics took him to a local hospital, Stelzer became unresponsive and was later pronounced dead, the DA said.

An attorney for Stelzer's family says Stelzer had been experiencing delusions, erratic behavior and extreme paranoia prior to the incident. While the family says they were very worried about Stelzer’s safety after having noticed a decline in his mental health over the past week, specifically at a gathering on Christmas night, they say there were no indications that Stelzer would engage in any violent conduct.

Stelzer had been in the care of mental health professionals for the past month, according to his family, but it became clear to them that his needs were not being met.

As a result, Stelzer's family says they called police and EMTs on Christmas Day at which time they expressed their concerns that Stelzer was having a psychotic break and required immediate hospitalization. They say the EMTs' assessment was that Stelzer didn't need assistance because he was "lucid enough to know his own name and the date."

The family says the following day they hired a team to help bring Stelzer to an inpatient facility for treatment, but the attack occurred before that could happen.

"The family of Erich Stelzer wishes to express its deepest sympathy for the victim and her family," family attorney Philip G. Cormier said in a statement. "They are without words to adequately communicate their grief and sorrow at the events that transpired, the physical and mental pain caused to the victim, and the loss of life of a young man who was someone's little brother and someone's son."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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