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Toxic chemical exposure on the job caused Washington trooper’s death, officials say

A Washington State Patrol trooper who died of cancer was exposed to toxic chemicals while working an investigation, according to a forensic review
Trooper Renee Padgett

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A Washington State Trooper’s 2018 death has been reclassified as occurring in the line of duty after an investigation determined her fatal cancer was caused by exposure to toxic chemicals during an illegal auto-wrecking investigation. 

Trooper S. Renee Padgett was 50 when she died on Sept. 4, 2018, after a long battle with cancer. 

Padgett was a trooper for 27 years, working first in Gig Harbor, then in Bellevue where she was a wrecking-yard trooper. They inspect wrecking yards, scrap processors and hulk haulers. 

After her death, a forensic review by state labor officials and the EPA determined Padgett’s cancer was caused by exposure to toxic chemicals.

Padgett was diagnosed in 2012 with multiple myeloma, a rare white blood cell cancer. The cancer went into remission but then returned.

Padgett also made her mark on Washington for helping start the Homeward Bound program, which puts pictures of missing kids on the side on the side of trucks.