- By Angela Cifor
I want to discuss the death of Patrick Cifor. He was my uncle. I loved him. I love his daughters. I love my father, Patrick's brother. The Cifor family is flawed in many ways, but one thing is certain: Cifors do not quit. They do not give up. They do not commit suicide.
Walnut Creek is a small town. It is a wealthy town, quiet and peaceful. The Contra Costa sheriff’s department—tasked with protecting the citizens of that county—has an excellent record with respect to community safety. But they are understaffed.
When Patrick Cifor died, the Contra Costa sheriff’s department conducted a routine investigation. They took limited witness testimony at face value. They placed a significant amount of weight on the Medical Examiner's statement, which ultimately arrived at the conclusion that the cause of death was a suicide because there were no defensive wounds on Patrick's arms.
Patrick Cifor did not commit suicide. The facts support this. Every person who knew Pat supports this. Patrick Cifor was murdered. How and why is unclear. What is clear is that the Contra Costa sheriff’s department far too quickly ruled Pat's death to be a suicide without a complete investigation, without sufficient interviews, and without any perspective on Pat's life, his acquaintances, his friends, and his associates. They failed Patrick, and they failed the community of Walnut Creek.
The Contra Costa sheriff’s department claims to have conducted an investigation. That “investigation” was a complete failure because of many staggering omissions. Not a single officer interviewed Patrick’s therapist, his neighbors, his friends, or his business associates. Those that were close to Pat shared their confusion about this with his family. The knife that Patrick allegedly used to stab himself was not sufficiently inspected. The sheriff’s department told Pat’s sister that his body would be cremated in three to five days; it was cremated 12 hours later. What is happening in Walnut Creek, California? Why is no one questioning what happened?
As a Cifor and as a citizen who believes in truth and justice, I am not OK with this situation. Patrick Cifor was a father, a neighbor, a friend, and—most importantly—a kind-hearted man. Ask questions. Demand answers. Do not let this go away without a fight.