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Kelly Thornton

Contributor through September 2012

Kelly Thornton is an investigative reporter with Investigative Newsource, a nonprofit journalistic enterprise embedded within the KPBS newsroom. Together they produce investigations and data analysis.

Prior to joining the Institute in the fall of 2010, Thornton spent almost two decades at The San Diego Union-Tribune, where she covered everything from city government, military and law enforcement to transportation, politics and business.

Ultimately she specialized in criminal justice and legal affairs, winning numerous awards for breaking some of the region’s biggest stories, including the exclusive details of the lives of San Diego-based Sept. 11 terrorists and their associates, the Heaven’s Gate mass suicide, the San Diego killer of fashion designer Gianni Versace, the firing of U.S. Attorney Carol Lam, and many others.

In one investigation, Thornton exposed how the city’s most influential and well-connected lobbyists were skirting laws requiring them to publicly disclose their activities. The story prompted a crackdown on lobbyists. In another, she reported the plight of four Iranian brothers, who at the time were the nation’s longest-held post-Sept. 11 detainees. They remained in custody without charges for more than three years, and were eventually released.

Thornton is a San Diego native. She is a graduate of Westmont College in Santa Barbara and lives with her husband, son, and Chesapeake Bay Retriever “Dude” in Ocean Beach. She is a 25-time marathoner and a singer in a band.