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Officials OK release of body [of Ukrainian Orthodox teenager]

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  • Rev Fr John Brian
    http://www.wiscnews.com/bnr/news/204787 Baraboo News Republic: Sauk County s Daily Newspaper Friday, August 10, 2007 Officials OK release of body By Dustin
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 9, 2007

      Baraboo News Republic: Sauk County's Daily Newspaper

      Friday, August 10, 2007

      Officials OK release of body
      By Dustin Weis

      PORTAGE - According to traditional beliefs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church,
      a soul can wander the Earth for 40 days after the body dies.

      "In the orthodox tradition, the soul is still here, among its friends and
      relatives," said Julian Kulas, an attorney from Chicago and advocate for the
      Ukrainian Consul General. "Normally, the family will have services then on
      the fortieth day."

      About 40 days after a Ukrainian teenager's death, Columbia County officials
      said they have authorized the release of her body after a car crash claimed
      her life near Wisconsin Dells in late June.

      Assistant District Attorney Troy Cross said Wednesday the medical examiner's
      office had been barred from releasing the body of 19-year-old Olga Ivanenko
      until a public defender was appointed for Andrii Pomaz, also 19. Pomaz, who
      was reportedly the victim's boyfriend, was charged last week with causing
      Ivanenko's death through negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Pomaz is
      held at the Columbia County jail on $10,000 cash bond.

      Funeral Director Chris Lenzendorf said he was relieved to pass the word on
      to Ivanenko's grieving parents in Ukraine, who had been pleading for their
      daughter's body so they could have a funeral. Olga Ivanenko came to
      Wisconsin Dells this summer to work at Noah's Ark through an international
      exchange program.

      "We were embarrassed because this isn't how our country is supposed to
      operate," Lenzendorf said. "It's like we're a Third World country."

      However, once the county appointed attorney Eric Schulenburg as Pomaz's
      public defender, Schulenberg agreed the body would not be needed in Pomaz's
      court proceedings. Columbia County medical examiner Marc Playman said that,
      because of recent court cases in Wisconsin, both the prosecutor and the
      defense in a court case must agree to release a body for burial.

      Cross's office was at first unsure what charges, if any, they would level at
      Pomaz for his role in the crash. After that, Cross said, a public defender
      needed to sign off on the release of the body.

      "(Schulenberg's office) was able to notify me they weren't going to need it
      anymore for evidence," Cross said.

      Kulas also apologized on Wednesday for mistakenly calling Ivanenko Pomaz's a
      fiance. He explained that he heard the term used by a woman involved in the
      crash that knew both the defendant and the victim, but said the meaning of
      the word was lost in translation.

      "I did not purposefully misrepresent the truth," Kulas said. "The term, in
      Ukrainian, could mean either girlfriend or fiance."

      Court documents allege that Pomaz was driving a carload of four other
      Ukrainian students on June 29. Deputies responded to a report of a
      one-vehicle rollover and concluded that Pomaz lost control of the car while
      negotiating a corner at speeds in excess of 50 mph in a 25-mph zone. The
      vehicle rolled, struck a power pole and continued to roll to a stop.

      Deputies found two women, one of them Ivanenko, pinned under the car.
      Ivanenko later died at University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison. The
      other woman, Maria Patsera, 19, also was treated at UW Hospital. None of the
      other people in the car suffered serious injuries.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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