Attorney weighs in on handling of woman's disappearance - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Attorney weighs in on handling of woman's disappearance

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

A legal expert says the release of information in the search for a missing North Alabama woman was unorthodox. 

There was a tragic turn in the case of Jennifer Marshell White over the weekend. The Moulton woman's car and body were found in Winston County after she had been gone a month.

Huntsville attorney Mark McDaniel has been practicing law for more than 40 years and teaches law classes at two different universities.

He discussed the controversies surrounding the missing persons case involving Jennifer Marshell White and the Moulton Police Department's Facebook post that came under fire last week because of the amount of personal information, including medical conditions and medications, that were included.

“It's unusual when you would see information released liked that, especially on the person who is missing. I'm not saying anything was done wrong, I'm just saying it's unusual. there's always a lot of pressure but there's usually very little information released,” McDaniel explained.

He say medical information is not supposed to be released unless the person consents.

“The spouse, as far as releasing medical information, if you believe the person is alive, you should get their consent, get something signed before any kind of medical information is released,”  he said.


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McDaniel, like many others across North Alabama, was saddened to hear about the development over the weekend that White's body had been found after a month.

“You don't know the pain and anguish that this family is going through right now and it's certainly severe right now and the facts of this case multiplies their anguish and anxiety that they've sustained at this point, I would believe,” he stated.

“The next thing would be an autopsy. The family is going to find out what the cause of death is. That's the next thing that will be done in this case,” he added.

McDaniel thought it was wise that Moulton PD took the lengthy Facebook post down. The agency's entire Facebook page was deactivated after that.

“Certainly you can understand the concerns of family members about this kind of information being posted about their mother,” he said. “Police departments are real hesitant in releasing any kind of information on their investigation. It's unusual when you would see information released liked that, especially on the person who is missing. I'm not saying anything was done wrong, I'm just saying it's unusual. there's always a lot of pressure but there's usually very little information released.”

Here are the posts from the Moulton Police Department's new-deleted Facebook page.

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