JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Two Orange County Sheriff's Office deputies are facing disciplinary action after allegedly leaking news of 'Full House' star and stand-up comedian Robert "Bob" Saget's death before his family was made aware, an investigation report says.
Deputy Emiliano Silva and Deputy Steven Reed were named in the report, though a third deputy, Adrian Gonzalez, was also shown texting people who were not on scene about Saget's death.
What kind of discipline the deputies face is unclear.
Policemen allegedly told family before next-of-kin notified
Saget was found unresponsive in his Orange County, Florida hotel room on January 9, 2022, one day after he performed in Ponte Verde, Florida.
An investigation report by the Orange County Sheriff's Office shows that Saget's wife, Kelly Rizzo, had called police for a wellness check after she had not heard from her husband. A transcript from a phone call on Rizzo's behalf says that for "hours" she did "no idea" if her husband was alive or not.
Meanwhile, the report says, people who had no relation to Saget at all were learning of his death: 45 minutes from the time Saget's body was found, while the crime scene was still active, Silva, one of the officers who responded to the scene, allegedly told his brother what happened.
His brother then relayed that information to Twitter, writing "RIP Bob Saget."
The investigation found that Silva did not have permission to share this information.
OCSO Strategic Communications Director Michelle Guido was in the midst of preparing a media release on Saget's death when she became aware of the tweet.
The report doesn't state if Saget's family saw the tweet -- but that doesn't mean no one saw it.
Guido "recalled seeing a tweet from another user that mentioned Mr. Saget and commented something similar to, 'Imagine having this information before TMZ,'" referring to the celebrity news source known for breaking entertainment news before anyone else. Guido "recalled TMZ was tagged in that particular tweet. She stated that the tweet resulted in media inquiries being made by TMZ."
A reply to the tweet indicated another police officer was leaking information. "I heard something from a police friend. What did you hear?"
The person who replied to the tweet was identified as Bradley Braunstein, the report says. Braunstein told investigators under oath that the person who tipped him off was Reed.
Testimony by Corporal Diego Cordeiro shows that he confronted Silva after figuring out it was his brother. Silva made his brother delete the post, Cordeiro said in his testimony, but it had already been up for 18 minutes.
Cordeiro was "uncertain" if next-of-kin had been notified at the time, he said in the report.
The report references confusion over if Saget's family knew he was dead several times.
The officer who notified Saget's next-of-kin, Corporal Brian Meadows, said he believed at first hotel staff may have done so already. The report also mentions a conversation between Meadows and Sergeant Lance Colford, where Colford allegedly told Meadows Saget's family had "probably" been notified. But when Meadows eventually reached out to notify the family, he found out they had not been told yet at all.
Sharing over group text
The report says there was also a group texting chat that Silva was a part of, along with Gonzales, OSCO Deputy John Mendez, OSCO Deputy Dallas Rifle and Marion County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chad Haufler, where information of Saget's death was disclosed.
A summary of Haufler's testimony says he learned of Saget's death from the group chat.
The report includes text messages from the group chat, including:
Gonzales: "Yo. Our signal 7 is bob saget."
Haufler: "The bob saget?"
Gonzalez: "Yes. 100%"
Mendez: "What...... You for real???"
Haufler: "His contact info is same wife"
Haufler sent a screenshot of the tweet and replies to it -- Gonzales seems to immediately recognize that the person who tweeted is Silva's brother, writing: "Emiliano."
Several other members of the OSCO who were interviewed for the investigation into Silva and Gonzales also testified they had seen the tweet.
A form entitled Agreement Pursuant to Discipline Dispute Resolution Process was signed by Silva, which says in part: "Oh January 9, 2022, the accused employee released confidential information without authorization."
'Better keep your tickets. Might've been his last show'
Reed later sent screenshots of his conversations which show him telling Braunstein and a third person, Drew Johnson, that Saggett had died. The report says Johnson is Reed's neighbor.
The investigation concluded that Silva and Reed told others of Saget's death when his next-of-kin had not been notified and without permission.