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October 23, 2002 - Family of woman found dead in 1992 files wrongful death suit

The family of a Clackamas woman found dead in the Columbia River a decade ago has filed a $500,000 wrongful death lawsuit accusing her second husband of causing her death and transferring his property to avoid paying a civil judgment. The suit, filed on behalf of the estate of Sharon Frances Schlosser, accuses Charles M. Schlosser of killing her or arranging her death on Oct. 19 or 20, 1992. The suit also claims that Charles M. Schlosser took steps to avoid paying a civil judgment for his role in her death.

Five months after her death, the suit claims, Charles M. Schlosser transferred title of his property to his four sons from a previous marriage, Charles J. Schlosser, Christopher Schlosser, Anthony Schlosser and Timothy Schlosser. The wrongful death suit, filed Friday in Multnomah County circuit court, is the second civil action involving the death of 49-year-old Sharon Schlosser, whose body was found October 27, 1992, on the Seattle side of the Columbia River downstream from the Interstate Bridge. No one has been charged in the death, which the Oregon State Medical examiner's office labeled a homicide. But police have said repeatedly that they consider Charles M. Schlosser a suspect.

The second suit involves Sharon Schlosser's $150,000 life insurance policy, which has grown with interest to about $215,000. Charles M. Schlosser, 60, is the beneficiary of the policy, but Oregon law prohibits anyone from receiving insurance money if they were complicit in the policyholder's death. Because police consider Charles M. Schlosser a suspect in the death, the insurance company last year filed a suit that asks the court to decide who gets the money, Charles M. Schlosser, or the policy's secondary beneficiaries, Sharon Schlosser's children from a previous marriage. That case is expected to go to trial early next year in U.S. District Court in Portland.

The civil cases resemble a criminal one, with attorneys for Sharon Schlosser's family seeking to prove that Charles M. Schlosser was responsible for her death, but they will not necessarily affect the ongoing criminal investigation. Prosecutors will not discuss the strength of the evidence in the homicide investigation, but a significant difference between civil and criminal cases is the burden of proof.

In the civil cases, lawyers for Sharon Schlosser's family will try to show that Schlosser was complicit in her death by a "preponderance of the evidence," which means there is at least a 51 percent likelihood that he did it. Criminal prosecutors, on the other hand, must prove a case "beyond reasonable doubt," which means there is more than a 95 percent chance that the defendant did it. On the other hand, the case could unearth new evidence that would be available for a criminal trial.

In all matters involving wrongful death it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and to file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the statute of limitations. If a loved one has been a victim of wrongful death, contact us now, CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A SIMPLE CASE FORM. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a contingent fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Donít delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.

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The above is not legal advice. That can only come from a qualified attorney who is familiar with all the facts and circumstances of a particular, specific case and the relevant law. See Terms of Use.

The wrongful death information offered by Seattle Wrongful Death Lawyer and contained herein, regarding Seattle wrongful death statutes and Seattle wrongful death claimants' rights is general in scope. No wrongful death Seattle attorney client relationship with our Seattle wrongful death attorneys is hereby formed nor is the negligent death information herein intended as formal legal advice. Please contact a Seattle personal injury wrongful death lawyer regarding your specific inquiry.

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