Two deputies in Orange County, Florida, are being disciplined for revealing comedian Bob Saget’s death to other people before the television icon’s family learned about it, according to an investigation report obtained by WFAA. It’s unclear what punishment Emiliano Silva and Steven Reed are getting.
The comedian and actor, 65, was found unresponsive in his hotel room, where he was staying on Jan. 9, 2022 amid a stand-up performance in the area. A medical examiner determined Saget bumped his head in an accidental fall, though his family filed to keep investigator records in the case private. Florida Circuit Court Judge Vincent S. Chiu ended up permanently banning the release of photos, videos, and other investigatory records on the case of Saget’s death. He ruled that the family’s privacy rights outweighed whatever public interest existed.
“He certainly seemed happy,” friend Gilbert Gottfried, who recently passed away at the age of 67, told the The New York Post in a Jan. 10 report. He said he spoke to Saget a week before. “He was happy about going out on the road more and having a direct connection with the audience. He was happy with how the previous show went. We said, ‘I love you.'”
But certain Orange County deputies apparently stepped over the line during a portion of Saget’s investigation, with Silva allegedly telling his brother what happened even though the scene was still active. That was 45 minutes from when authorities discovered Saget’s body, and the deputy did not have permission to share this information, investigators said.
“RIP Bob Saget,” the deputy’s brother wrote on Twitter, according to officials.
Corporal Diego Cordeiro figured out Silva’s brother was behind the tweet. Silva made his brother delete it, though it was up for 18 minutes, Cordeiro said in the report. Cordeiro said he did not know if Saget’s next-of-kin were notified of the death. Corporal Brian Meadows said he at first thought hotel staff might have told the family. Also, Sgt. Lance Colford allegedly told Meadows that the family was “probably” told. And yet when Meadows contacted them, he learned they were not yet told.
The damage was done. Another Twitter user wrote something to the effect of “Imagine having this information before TMZ,” OCSO Strategic Communications Director Michelle Guido said in the report. That Twitter user tagged TMZ, who ended up making media inquires.
Another user wrote, “I heard something from a police friend. What did you hear?” That was allegedly a man named Bradley Braunstein, who said that deputy Steven Reed told him about Saget’s death.
Reed also allegedly told his neighbor Drew Johnson.
“Better keep your tickets,” he said, according to the report. “Might’ve been his last show.”
“Awe man,” Johnson wrote, before Braunstein noted he had not yet seen anything about it, “like official.” Johnson suggested authorities had yet to tell next-of-kin.
Saget is best known for his work on the sitcom Full House, and the pre-YouTube video compilation show America’s Funniest Home Videos. To his chagrin, he got type casted as a wholesome goody-goody, though he was cheerfully vulgar in his stand-up work. His public persona began changing after a memorable appearance on the 2005 comedy documentary The Aristocrats, where he and other comedians try to out-do each other with their personal interpretations of a ribald joke.
Loved ones remembered him in glowing terms.
Saget had a “very good relationship” with his three daughters, and was protective of his former co-stars the Olsen twins, Gottfried told the Post.
“If you’ve read anything about Bob online last night if you saw any of the many thoughts from people who knew him personally, a word that came up a lot was ‘the sweetest,’” late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel said in an emotional eulogy. “Bob was the sweetest, he was the sweetest man, and the reason people wrote that is because it’s true. It’s the best word. If you had to pick one word to describe him, that was it.”
[Image via Phillip Faraone/Getty Images]
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