The L.A. County Department of Coroner today confirmed that the burned body found in the charred Mercedes that crashed in Hollywood early Tuesday was indeed that of noted journalist Michael Hastings.
The remains of 33-year-old Michael Mahon Hastings were identified through fingerprint records "obtained from the FBI," coroner's Lt. Fred Corral told us:
The cause of death?
That determination could take as long as 10 weeks, he said. Coroner's investigators have ordered toxicology tests to figure out if Hastings had been drinking or was under the influence of drugs.
Hasting was involved in a horrific, solo-vehicle crash that was reported about 4:25 a.m. Tuesday just south of Melrose Avenue on Highland Avenue.
A freelance TV video crew stopped at Highland and Santa Monica Boulevard taped a southbound car blazing through a red light just seconds before the crash.
But Hastings' work on the national-security beat, including coverage of the CIA, put conspiracy theorists in a frenzy about his death.
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The Rolling Stone contributor perhaps best known for taking down General Stanley McChrystal worked in L.A. as a staffer at Buzzfeed.
Oh, and yes, WikiLeaks says he told a lawyer for the organization he was being investigated by the FBI shortly before his death.
Michael Hastings contacted WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson just a few hours before he died, saying that the FBI was investigating him.
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 19, 2013