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Ignatow's death: No sign of foul play

LOUISVILLE — A deputy coroner said there's no evidence of foul play in the death of a Louisville man who admitted killing his girlfriend after a jury acquitted him 17 years ago.

Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Rita Taylor said Mel Ignatow's autopsy has been done, but a cause of death hasn't been determined pending the outcome of toxicology tests. It will be several weeks before those results are known, Taylor said.

Ignatow admitted killing 36-year-old Brenda Schaefer after film was found in 1992 in the heating duct of a house he had owned. The film showed Ignatow torturing Schaefer the night she died in 1988. The legal doctrine of double jeopardy prevented prosecutors from trying Ignatow again for her death.

A jury had found Ignatow not guilty of the crime in 1991 and released him. He eventually served five years in federal prison and four in state prison in two separate perjury cases and was released less than two years ago.

Ignatow's son, Michael, said he went to his father's apartment on Monday and found him in the doorway of his bedroom. Michael Ignatow made the visit after not hearing from his father since Friday, despite multiple phone calls.

Michael Ignatow said his father fell through a glass table over the weekend and walked around various rooms of his apartment, yet never called for help before dying. Mel Ignatow, 70, was pronounced dead on Monday at his apartment.

"It didn't appear he even tried to get to his phone," Michael Ignatow said. "That was a little bizarre."

Michael Ignatow speculated that his father may not have known the extent of his injuries, including an arm laceration or, given his father's declining health, he might not have wanted help.