According to Michael Hastings’s friend Staff Sgt. Joe Biggs, who Hastings was embedded with in Afghanistan, “Michael Hastings’ body was returned to Vermont in an urn.” Biggs further alleges that Hastings’s family members did not request for his body to be cremated. If Biggs’s version of events is true, the Los Angeles coroner took the initiative to cremate Hastings’s body, thereby destroying any evidence the body might have contained.
The body was already so badly burned that it took days for the coroner to make a positive identification, which only makes the cremation over the family’s wishes look even more suspicious. Though the FBI denied investigating Hastings, the Associated Press reported that his fingerprints on file at the FBI were used to identify his body.
Hastings was investigating Florida socialite Jill Kelly, who filed a privacy lawsuit against the FBI and the Department of Defense over leaks she alleges were designed to discredit her, died just hours after sending a panicked email to his employer, friends, and family members claiming the FBI was investigating him. In the aftermath of his death, Wikileaks claimed that Hastings contacted WikiLeaks attorney Jennifer Robinson with the same claims.
The Los Angeles coroner’s office has yet to release a toxicology report or any findings from Hastings’s autopsy.