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Declined Autopsy Clouds Case Of Cyclist's Death In Briarcliff

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Briarcliff Police say it’s unclear whether the lack of an autopsy on Jane Shakman of Ossining will prevent further charges being brought against the motorist police say hit Shakman on July 8 .

Westchester County Medical Examiner officials say Shakman’s family requested that an autopsy not be performed based on religious objections. Officials say it is common for people of the Jewish and Muslim faiths to object to autopsies for religious reasons. Without an autopsy, officials say, the cause of death will be reported as undetermined.

Shakman, 62, was riding her bicycle west along Chappaqua Road at around 12:40 p.m. when she was hit by a 2003 Honda at the intersection of Chappaqua Road and Tappan Terrace, according to the police report. The Honda was driven by 26-year-old Briarcliff Manor resident Valerie Naber, who was charged with operating a vehicle while having a suspended license, not having a license on her and driving an uninspected vehicle. Shakman died July 9 at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

Police Chief Norman Campion said this week that the investigation into possible further charges is ongoing despite the lack of an autopsy report.

“It’s unclear to us right now what effect it will have, but the investigation is ongoing,” Campion said. “We’re still waiting for the medical examiner to wrap up the investigation, but we’re expecting that to take time. When that comes in, we’ll gather the information we have and we’ll consult with the District Attorney’s Office. Once we do that, we’ll know what, if any, charges we’ll file.”

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