- The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel violated its own ethics rules by naming Jennifer Dorow’s son in a story about the death of UWM student Cade Reddington, who died of fentanyl and alcohol intoxication over a year ago.
- Michael Dorow, 19, has never been arrested nor charged. He has also never been publicly named a suspect by police.
- Columnist Dan Bice based his reporting on anonymous friends and the deceased man’s father.
- Bice described a supposed Snapchat from Jennifer Dorow, but that account is also based on anonymous friends. Bice does not produce a screenshot of the Snapchat message.
- Bice gets a key fact wrong about Reddington’s cause of death.
- Bice left out other details from the medical examiner’s report, which does not even name Michael or Jennifer Dorow.
- Bice’s story, based on all of the above, is irresponsible journalism.
1/31/2023 UPDATE: A response from Cade Reddington’s mother, Michelle Kullmann, and an updated version of the medical examiner’s report has been added to the article.
Dan Bice’s story going after state Supreme Court candidate Jennifer Dorow’s adult son, Michael Dorow, with anonymous sources is reckless and irresponsible journalism that doesn’t prove its case and shouldn’t have gone to print.
The story is a violation of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s own ethical rules. Just days ago, in a story about Milwaukee police, the Journal Sentinel wrote, “The news organization typically does not identify people who have been not charged with a crime, but has done so in other cases involving public figures and public employees.”
Michael Dorow, 19, has not been arrested nor charged with a crime. He is not a public figure or public employee. Michael Dorow, a private citizen, is not running for office.
The newspaper has a double standard. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and the rest of the media were completely uninterested in the questions a grieving family member – the Halloween killer victim’s mom – had for Democrat Josh Kaul. They wouldn’t even report it.
We aren’t going to repeat the accusations the newspaper lets anonymous people and the deceased man’s father make against Michael Dorow in detail here because the Journal Sentinel offers no evidence whatsoever to back them up. The most incendiary claims came from anonymous “friends.”
Michael Dorow has not been arrested nor charged in the tragic death of Cade Reddington, a UWM student who died after ingesting fentanyl and alcohol in 2021. In fact, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel presents no evidence that he’s ever been a suspect. Public records available in the death don’t even mention Michael Dorow.
Dan Bice also gets a key fact wrong in his story. For example, he says that Cade Reddington died of “fentanyl poisoning.” Actually, according to the medical examiner’s report that Bice obtained, Reddington died of “Acute Drug (Fentanyl) and Ethanol Intoxication.” Bice does link to a report with that cause of death later on in the story, which begs the question of why he did not accurately report the full cause in the article itself.
Interestingly, exactly one day AFTER Jennifer Dorow refused to talk to a Journal Sentinel reporter about her son, Reddington’s father just happened to be in the same restaurant as Dorow and confronted her, the newspaper’s story revealed.
Dan Bice also mentions a supposed Snapchat, but he doesn’t produce it. Again, his only evidence this ever existed is anonymous friends who claim to have seen the Snapchat message.
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Although news outlets do sometimes use anonymous sources, it is unusual to allow anonymous sources to accuse someone of possible crimes based on their word alone when that person has not ever been arrested and isn’t a public figure.
According to the ME’s report obtained by Wisconsin Right Now, Reddington’s suitemates, who are not named in the report, spoke with Reddington when he arrived to the UWM dorm the night he died. He was talking and appeared normal. They checked on him about an hour later and saw him unresponsive on a futon in their shared suite room, the medical examiner’s report says.
This is contrary to Bice’s “anonymous” source, who said, “In the dorm, Reddington told a friend he wasn’t feeling well and laid down on a beanbag chair in his suite.”
WRN can confirm Michael Dorow was not one of Reddington’s suitemates.
That’s right. That passes for journalism these days: Letting anonymous “friends” essentially accuse a private citizen (one early into adulthood who isn’t running for office) of possibly committing crimes but offering ZERO evidence to back it up.
Here are some provable key facts:
- The medical examiner’s report never mentions Michael or Jennifer Dorow.
- It says that Cade Reddington died of “Acute Drug (Fentanyl) and Ethanol Intoxication.” The report says, “The decedent consumed fentanyl and alcohol; positive for 4-ANPP.”
- Although Reddington, 18, died on Nov. 4, 2021, as noted, Michael Dorow has never been arrested nor charged with anything in connection to the death more than a year later.
- UWM Police refused to release the police report to WRN, citing the ongoing investigation.
- The last time Reddington entered his dorm room, where he died, he entered “alone and without any backpacks/bags,” the medical examiner’s report says. The report also says, “No one saw the decedent use illicit drugs this evening.”
See the medical examiner reports here:
Cade Reddington’s Mother Responds
Michelle Kullmann, Cade Reddington’s mother disputes some information in the Medical Examiner’s report. She told WRN in an email, “There was information from the Medical Examiner’s report that you published that was never verified by Cade’s father or myself. If you read the report, you saw that the comment about using prescription pills since he was 12 and recently being in rehab came from the responding officer’s interview with a suitemate who only knew Cade for 2 months. This information is not accurate and I called the Medical Examiner to have my input added to the report. We have no known usage of pills from the age of 12 and Cade was never in rehab.”
“Additionally, to clarify, we were told by the suitemates that Cade died in a beanbag chair which they then threw away and David gave them money to purchase a new one. That seemed to be a discrepancy from Dan’s article that you pointed out that the responding officer called it a futon.”
Is it awful that Jennifer Dorow did not want to talk about this case when confronted by the father? No. It strikes us that most mothers would take the stance that protects their child.
Reddington’s death is clearly an awful tragedy.
Fentanyl is a scourge taking too many young people too soon. It’s hard to imagine what the grieving family is going through, and, certainly, everyone should have empathy for their pain and sorrow for their loss. We applaud the family for their activism around fentanyl deaths. Reddington’s family has written that he died from ingesting a single pill that he thought was Percocet but that turned out to contain fentanyl.
If Bice is going to let people accuse someone of criminal conduct, especially a private figure not running for office and especially a young man whose future could be wrecked by allegations turning up in Google searches forever, he should make them put their names to it so readers can assess any agendas.
The medical examiner’s report says that first responders were dispatched to a non-responsive person. Upon their arrival to Reddington’s dorm room, they found him lying on the floor with UWM Police performing CPR.
They also administered Narcan. No obvious external trauma was observed. Reddington was pronounced dead.
Sgt. Joseph Kelsey with the UWM Police Department told the medical examiner’s office that Reddington resided in Sandburg Residence Hall. Entry cameras saw him enter the facility at 22:50 on Nov. 3, 2021 He entered “alone and without any backpacks/bags.”
His suitemates, who are not named in the report, spoke with him when he arrived to the dorm a little later after 2300 hours.
They checked on him about an hour later and saw him unresponsive on a futon in their shared suite room, the medical examiner’s report says.
“The decedent had a history of abusing Percocet since he was 12 years old and had recently been in rehabilitation,” the report says. “The suitemates said the decedent typically drank alcohol with his Percocet.”
“No one saw the decedent use illicit drugs this evening,” the report says.
Reddington’s father told authorities, “The decedent drank alcohol socially with his friends in college. He also vaped and abused prescription pills,” according to the medical examiner’s report.
Jennifer Dorow’s Response
In response to the Bice story, Jennifer Dorow issued the following statement:
“The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a story this morning that mentions my son and another young man, who died tragically. My heart aches for his parents. I am very sorry for their loss, and I pray that they somehow find comfort and peace. Every day at work, I see firsthand the devastating effects that illegal drugs have on our community.
I love my current role as judge, and I’d be honored to be called justice, but the most important title to me will always be mom. Like every mother, I love my children more than anything in this world. I am shocked that the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and some of my opponents think it’s ok to use my son for their own political ends.
I understand that by putting my name on the ballot I invited scrutiny about myself and my actions. My children aren’t running for office and they, and every candidate’s kids, should be off limits. We need to restore a sense of decency in our elections.”
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