03
May
06

“Agencies, Answers, and Assumptions”

With Sherry’s permission, here are three emails she sent to me after I responded to her original question in the post “Violent and Unnatural.? I’ve also included my responses.

Thanks for the clarification. Makes sense. First reasonable explanation I have received in 15 years since his passing. Yes, the puzzling part is that it was classified an accidental death yet the police report remain sealed and classified a suspicious death. Took me 7 years to get the police report and when I did most information was blacked out including a suspects name. Yet police never resolved the case.

Dad had a 2-1/2″ by 3/4″ hole in the back of his head on the left side. I raised many questions during that period of time. Coroner told me he didn’t know what the weapon was except it was a hammer. I thought the same as you about the gun. It was no accident I am positive of that.

What do you make of this one?

Again, thank you.

Sincerely,

Sherry

I’m sure that if I were in your shoes, I would find it alarming that one agency determined the manner as accidental while another agency maintained the death was suspicious. It seems incomprehensible that two separate agencies with two distinct groups of professionals specifically trained in their roles couldn’t come to some agreement.

It’s been my experience that medicolegal agencies and law enforcement agencies almost always reach the same conclusion at the end of the case. To a certain extent there is a symbiotic relationship between the two agencies. The medicolegal agency needs the investigative work of law enforcement and law enforcement needs the pathological diagnosis of the medicolegal agency.

That’s not to say there can’t be disagreement between the two. Law enforcement may suspect foul play in a child death, but if there is no evidence to confirm their suspicion, no self-respecting forensic pathologist is going to manufacture findings just to help law enforcement build a case.

Different agencies also have different departmental policies. A medical examiner system may classify alcohol related fatalities as accidents while a law enforcement agency or district attorney’s office may classify them as homicides.

I can’t offer any insight into the police report you received. Where I work, all of the details contained in our report are public record and available to anyone who requests a copy.

God bless you for taking your precious time to help me understand that miserable medical examiner’s report. I am blessed to have your comments. I have sent you an additional e-mail. Maybe some day you can answer that as well. Not one day in 15 years have I stopped that about that day my sweet Dad died and all the un-answered questions no one would provide. I’m no medical examiner or coroner but only an idiot would have believed the BS version they handed me.

Additionally, I had the foresight to collect and preserve evidence at the scene and have submitted it for forensic testing. Thank God for scientists and decent, honest professionals like you. In 1990 I had one sample tested and all I could get was that the DNA at that time belonged to only 9% of the population. Wasn’t my father’s as he belonged to 37.5% of the population. New age, new technology today, and my finger’s are crossed. Makes me want to get into forensics and pathology field.

Thanks again, my friend.

God Bless You Always.

Sincerely,

Sherry

I can’t imagine it serves as any consolation, but even in cases where the suspected events and motives are very cut and dried, family and friends are often still faced with numerous unanswered questions that can haunt them for the rest of their lives. I’ve dealt with a lot of family members (both satisfied and dissatisfied) and it appears to me that the best anyone can do is continue living their life with a strong belief that they are right no matter what anyone else says. That’s not to say that such a belief should consume your life, but hopefully will allow you to move on past the point that you feel everyone else must agree with you in order for you to have closure.

As for DNA, here is all I know about the subject, and all I ever plan to know—I know it exists, and I know there exists people that understand it so that I don’t have to. As such, I can’t shed a lot of light on any DNA issues other than G to C and A to T. That’s about the only detail I’ve retained from the seemingly numerous presentations on the subject I’ve endured.

My mind is racing from your comments and I thank you. The head injury I described to you is that consistent with a gunshot wound to the head? There are so many unanswered questions. Cops didn’t care, medical examiner didn’t care, and there wasn’t even an accurate time of death. Time of death was when they put him on the gurney and took him to the morgue. How ridiculous.

My dad deserved so much respect. He was a good, kind, decent, respectable businessman in our community. And, the best father in the world. Everyone always wanted my parents for their own. I could go on and on but I know you are very busy. Thanks for your help.

God Bless.

Sherry

As a general rule, I’ve long since avoided commenting on trauma that I didn’t examine first hand. Reason #1 is that I feel I’d be grossly misrepresenting my abilities if I were to do so. Reason #2 is that I feel anyone who doesn’t abide by Reason #1 has just ventured onto the path of becoming a medicolegal prostitute, also known as a “paid whore.? This is the kind of forensic “expert? who either blatantly manufactures findings or simply sees things a certain way for monetary or professional gain.

I may be missing something in the details you provided, but I’m curious as to what would lead the coroner to state “he didn’t know what the weapon was except it was a hammer.? I can only assume that the hole you described was the only hole in the head and that no projectile was discovered within. I can also only assume that there were no deposits from the weapon such as gunshot residue, powder burns, or stippling around the wound or signs of stellate tearing that would suggest that a weapon was involved. As you can see, there is a lot of room for assumption—another reason I don’t like to comment on things I haven’t witnessed myself or listen to anyone who does.

Among the countless ways that crime scene dramas misinform the general public, “time of death? is perhaps the most misleading. In most cases there simply aren’t enough solid physiological markers to establish an accurate time of death, and the longer someone has been dead, the more difficult it is to be as accurate as Hollywood portrays. As such, it is not uncommon for a person’s “time of death? to be listed as the time that they were found. The time of the original call to 911 is usually the first documented time and serves as a solid “found? time. Please refer to my post on “Postmortem Interval? for more information on the subject.

Good luck to you…

A Douglas

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7 Responses to ““Agencies, Answers, and Assumptions””


  1. 1 judy wyatt
    May 6, 2006 at 1:19 am

    A Douglas,

    Thank you for maintining your professional distance in the midst of the emotional turmoil and desperation for answers from the family members you meet and who write to you.

    I am particularly appreciative of your response to the reader above:
    “…it appears to me that the best anyone can do is continue living their life with a strong belief that they are right no matter what anyone else says. That’s not to say that such a belief should consume your life, but hopefully will allow you to move on past the point that you feel everyone else must agree with you in order for you to have closure.”

    I hope she finds peace, and maybe some answers. But I agree that you cannot solve the case for her.

    –Judy Wyatt

  2. 2 Terri
    May 8, 2006 at 9:02 am

    Bless you for taking the time to answer these questions for this person. I am sure she feels much better now. I tried to put myself in her place for a minute and I cannot even begin to describe how I would feel if something like this happened to my father. It is overwhelming to even think about it. You are a very kind person.

  3. May 13, 2006 at 5:42 pm

    Douglas,

    Thank you. My typing is terrible. I mean’t to say
    that the medical examiner said he could tell me it
    was not a hammer and that’s it. Inept medical
    examiner. Old fart should have been retired along
    time ago. He was probably 80 at the time. I used
    to work as a court reporter and witnessed his ineptness
    many a time. Little did I know he would play an
    interical role in my life later on. Bad luck for me.

    In the beginning I was consumed and had to let it go
    as all doors were locked to me. I am back at it as
    I need closure for my family and myself. Only this
    weired stuff could happen to me. I am building my
    case and as I stated I will return to haunt all who
    had a finger in that pie many years ago who screwed
    it up. It’s a blatant cover up I am sure.

    I appreciate your time and was surprised to see you
    took your precious time to answer me. God Bless You.
    Wish you had been the one to do my fathers autopsy.
    Would have been done right.

    Also, what did you make of the size of the hole to
    my fathers head? 2 1/2″ by 3/4″ wide penetrating
    the full thickness of the skull. Cause of death
    was skull fracture with cerebral trauma. No other
    injuries to his skeletal frame. I could see upper
    defense wounds to his body but that was not noted
    on the autopsy report. I think I received a report
    concocted to satisfy me and cover up the ineptness
    by all.

    Please reply.

    Sincerely,

    Sherry Frazier
    Mt. Vernon, VA

  4. November 3, 2006 at 7:55 pm

    to whom i may ask my step son took 15 xanax and 3 methadone pill and my so call daught in law said he shot him self but i have seen him take 5 xanax and go to sleep in 1/2 hour he was shot in the jaw bone and she told 15 tales about it now the cops is supecting foul play . so any one in put would help , it realy hurting my old man to think his son would kill him self but the cops think it was homeside any help would be blessed , ps he had 4 kids who he loved dearly and he was dead 2 weeks till she had a boy friend . and alos she had insurance on him ,

  5. November 3, 2006 at 8:01 pm

    and also she burned the bed and the the shell casing away because the night of his death the cops coudent find it and was told not to mess with any thing in the room what you think any one

  6. November 4, 2006 at 8:38 am

    by do an atopsey can thay tell the parents the da test on a man son . his x wife told there son he did not belong to his dad who raised him the son who was killed was sad buti do not think he killed him self ancer will help god bless all

  7. November 4, 2006 at 8:40 am

    i know i wrote a few of these but i hope my step son wife is ionecent , for her sake and the kids but it dont look good.


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