HIGH POINT, N.C. -- It’s been more than two months since Jason Schlosser, 31, died while running the Raleigh Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon.
The High Point resident was an avid runner, but he collapsed on the 11th mile of the half marathon. He was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after.
“There are moments at work where I just look over and see our wedding picture and it doesn't feel real,” said Renee Schlosser, Jason’s widow. “My biggest concern was that he was in pain, or that he suffered, or that he was afraid. Because I wasn't there. I was at mile nine when I got the call.”
Schlosser says getting closure has been impossible, because after more than two months, the Wake County Medical Examiner’s Office has still not sent her an official death certificate.
“The uncertainty is very hard to live with every day. Not knowing why this happened and needing that answer,” said Schlosser.
Schlosser says the Medical Examiner’s Office sent her a bill and preliminary death certificate within a month. The Medical Examiner handling the case even told her Jason’s death was probably caused by a Sudden Cardiac Arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat.
Now, the Medical Examiner’s Office in Wake County will only tell her that it could take six months to complete the death certificate. With the official cause of death listed as “pending,” Schlosser says she hasn’t been able to access Jason’s life insurance benefits. As a result, her bills and unfinished paperwork are piling up.
“It's frustrating when you call the Medical Examiner’s Office and the people you speak with on the phone not only can't give you any answers, but also don't seem to want to help,” said Schlosser.
Saying goodbye to her husband and best friend was never going to be easy, but Schlosser says she never imagined the paper work would be the hard part. That, she says, is unacceptable.
“Nothing is going to bring Jason back. Nothing is going to change the outcome of the situation, but I feel like it's become much harder than it needs to be because of this. I feel like there are other families out there dealing with the same thing,” said Schlosser.
Once she gets the answers she’s looking for, Schlosser says she wants something good to come from his death. She plans to participate in the Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon with Jason’s sisters in Savannah in November. She also hopes to run the Raleigh Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon next year.
Schlosser plans to start a legacy foundation in Jason’s memory when she knows more about what caused his death.
A spokesperson for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner was not available for an interview Monday, but they sent a statement to FOX8 saying:
“The turnaround time to complete a case varies based on a number of factors. OCME understands the importance of the timeliness and accuracy of their work to the families who are anxiously awaiting answers."