Thursday, May 15, 2008

Antiquities Death

Strange, sad twist in the California antiquities investigation: "An internationally known expert on Asian art who was implicated in a scheme to smuggle looted antiquities from Thailand to Los Angeles-area museums died Wednesday at a federal detention center in Seattle four days after being arrested there on a visit from Bangkok. Roxanna Brown, 62, director of the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum at Bangkok University, had traveled to Seattle for a speaking engagement at the University of Washington, authorities said."

The Los Angeles Times story is here. Derek Fincham comments: "This has been a strange investigation from the outset. There was a massive search of California museums in January, and then nothing has emerged in the five months until this week when Brown was arrested, ... and now this death. There are no indications Brown was mistreated, though certainly the sketchy details give the appearance that the shock of being arrested led to a heart attack. Certainly this is a tragic death, and not the kind of message Federal authorities wanted to send."