Scarborough aide laid to rest

Information on the cause of death of Lori Klausutis may be released today.

By AMBER BOLLMAN, Daily News Staff Writer

Lori Klausutis was buried Wednesday morning, five days after her body was found inside U.S. Rep. Joe Scarborough's Fort Walton Beach office - but local authorities still have not released the cause of the 28-year-old woman's death.

Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Berkland said last week that he would likely be able to release the details of how and why Klausutis died by Wednesday. He said he first needed to look into her medical history and examine the results of blood tests. But Berkland did not return calls Tuesday and was out of town at a conference Wednesday, a secretary said. Berkland now says he will likely release information about the case today.

Fort Walton Beach police said they also are waiting for laboratory results before releasing any more information about the investigation into Klausutis' death.

"We don't think there is anything suspicious about the case, but we want to firm some things up before we say anything more," said Detective Dan Sequeira, who would not specify what sort of test results they are waiting for.

Klausutis' body was found just after 8 a.m. on July 20, when a couple arrived at Scarborough's office for an appointment and found her lying on the floor.

Berkland said last Saturday that autopsy results seemed to indicate that Klausutis died sometime last Thursday afternoon or evening, though he was awaiting more tests before establishing a final time and cause of death.

Police found no signs of foul play or robbery inside Scarborough's office, and Berkland said Saturday that he had ruled out homicide as the cause of Klausutis' death.

Berkland said toxicology results would likely play a key role in determining whether Klausutis had died of natural causes or accidentally. Berkland said Saturday that he also was investigating suicide as a possible cause of her death, though he said he didn't think that scenario was likely either.

Klausutis, of Niceville, had worked as a constituent services coordinator for Scarborough, R-Pensacola, since May 1999.

Scarborough attended Klausutis' funeral service Wednesday at St. Mary's Catholic Church, where Klausutis had been a member of the choir.

The congressman's Fort Walton Beach and Pensacola offices were closed for the day in honor of Klausutis.

Staff Writer Amber Bollman can be reached at 863-1111, Ext. 445 or