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Virginia Tech gunman's mental records found

The belated emergence of Seung-hui Cho's file marks another embarrassing lapse in the 2007 case and raises questions about how such evidence could be lost for so long.

July 23, 2009|Associated Press

BLACKSBURG, VA. — The Virginia Tech gunman's missing mental health records have been found at the home of a former university counseling official more than two years after the bloodbath.

The belated emergence of Seung-hui Cho's file, a development disclosed in a memo obtained Wednesday by the Associated Press, represents another embarrassing lapse in the case and raises questions about how such evidence could be lost for so long.

"Deception comes to my mind in my first response," said Suzanne Grimes, whose son Kevin Sterne was wounded. "It gives me the impression, 'What else are they hiding?' "

The contents of the file have not been made public, and Gov. Tim Kaine said it was unclear why Dr. Robert C. Miller, former director of the campus clinic where Cho was counseled because of his disturbing behavior, took the records home more than a year before Cho killed 32 people and committed suicide on April 16, 2007.

Miller, 54, declined to comment when reached by telephone at his private practice.

State officials said they would release the records as soon as possible, either with consent from Cho's estate or through a subpoena. Medical records are protected under state privacy laws.

Miller told his attorney about Cho's file last Thursday, said Mark E. Rubin, the governor's chief legal counsel. According to a university memo shared with victims' families, Miller took the records for Cho and several other students home around the time he left his job at the center in 2006.

After the massacre, the counseling center conducted an exhaustive search for the records, and Miller told investigators at the time that he didn't know where they were, university spokesman Mark Owczarski said.

Virginia State Police are investigating whether a criminal act was committed, spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.

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