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Relatives of Virginia Tech victims seek answers

July 28, 2009 | 12:42 pm

Vtech The repercussions from the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history continue. Today, relatives of the victims of the Virginia Tech shootings asked the state of Virginia to reopen its investigation into the crime. The request follows an announcement last week by Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine that the mental health records of the shooter, Seung Hui Cho, which had been missing from the university counseling office, had been found in the home of the former director of the university counseling center.

The issue is of interest to the families, investigators and mental health experts because a major question surrounding the shooting is why no one was able to prevent Cho's April 16, 2007, rampage even after he had several contacts with the mental health system and had clearly been identified as having psychological problems. Cho killed 32 students and teachers and wounded many others before taking his life.

"While I do not know the contents of the files, I recognize that they are an important component in understanding what happened that day and what productive steps can be taken in the future to prevent such a terrible event. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families and friends of the victims as they continue to cope with such an incredible tragedy," Kaine said in a statement

The issue of secrecy surrounding mentally ill college students was explored in a story in The Times in 2007.

-- Shari Roan

Photo:Mark Owczarski, director of news and information in the office of University Relations at Virginia Tech, speaks to members of the news media in Burruss Hall on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Va. Credit: AP / The Roanoke Times, Matt Gentry