By the time Ben and Mac got back to the Court House the FAX in Ben’s office had already coughed out the ME report.
“The report says the victim’s name was Michael O’Brien.”
“What’s the cause of death?”
“Gunshot wound to the chest.”
“Where did we get the idea somebody bashed his skull in?”
“Who knows? Somebody is always saying, “blunt force trauma”. Maybe they’ve got a multiple choice form and that’s at the top of the list.”
“Does it say the Vic was a Native American?””
“Look for yourself, Mac.”
MEDICAL EXAMINER REPORT # 12- 20- 043
|DOB||April 16,1972||DOD||February 4, 2004|
|Race||Native American||Date of Exam||February 9, 2004|
|Sex||Male||Time of Exam||0830 Hours|
FINAL DIAGNOSES AND FINDINGS
- Gunshot Wound to the Chest
- 1. Entrance Left chest, intermediate range
- Path of the projectile: Skin, left anterior 5” intercostal space, pericardial sac, right ventricle of heart and lower lobe of right lung
- Direction of projectile: Direct front to back
- Exit: None; fragments of projectile recovered in Pericardial sac and right pleural cavity6
- Associated injuries: Entrance wound perforations of Pericardial sac, right ventricle of heart, lower lobe of right lung with bilateral pleural hemorrhage7
- Postmortem radiograph: metallic fragments of projectile identified
- Cause of Death: Gunshot Wound to the Chest
- Manner of Death: Homicide
“That’s what we needed. What’s the rest of it on the floor?”
“More of the same. Clinical crap. ME has to report all of it for the Health Department and issue a Death Certificate. I don’t know if any of it is relevant for legal purposes.
“ Well, check it out. What do we do next?”
“The nurse and kids aren’t here yet, so read it.”
Daunting as that promised to be, Mac picked up the next page . . .
The autopsy is begun at 8:30 A.M. on January 12, 1986. The body is presented in a black body bag. The victim is wearing a Brown T-shirt with a swastika in a circle printed on the front, camouflage cargo pants and combat boots.
The body is that of a normally developed Native American male measuring 72 inches and weighing 173 pounds and appearing consistent with the stated age of thirty-two years. The body is cold and unembalmed. Limbs are equal and show no evidence of injury. Lividity is fixed in the distal portions of the limbs. The eyes are open. The irises are brown. Pupils measure 0.3 cm. The hair is black and braided 10 inches in length.
HEAD–CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM: The brain weighs 1,303 grams and within normal limits. The lungs weigh: right, 355 grams; left 362 grams.
CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM: The heart weighs 253 grams, and has a normal size and configuration.
RESPIRATORY SYSTEM–THROAT STRUCTURES: Except for wounds the lungs are unremarkable. The oral cavity shows no lesions. There are no injuries to the lips, teeth or gums.
GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM: The mucosa and wall of the esophagus are intact and gray-pink. The gastric mucosa is intact and pink without injury. Approximately 125 ml of partially digested semisolid food is found in the stomach. The duodenum, jejunum, ileum, colon and rectum are intact.
TOXICOLOGY: Sample of right pleural blood and bile are submitted for toxicology analysis. Stomach contents are saved.
SEROLOGY: A sample of right pleural blood is submitted. Routine toxicology studies were ordered.
URINARY SYSTEM: The kidneys weigh: left, 115 grams; right, 113 grams. The kidneys are anatomic in size, shape and location.
GENITALIA: Adult male, within normal limits and there is no evidence of recent sexual activity.
- One (1) brown T-shirt, size XL
- One (1) pair camouflage cargo pants, size L
- One (1) Seiko wristwatch
- One (1) leather wallet – MT DL, expired Visa, 12 dollars cash
- Samples of Blood (type AB+), Bile and Tissue (heart, lung, brain, kidney, liver, spleen).
- Fifteen (15) swabs from various body locations.
- One postmortem CT scan.
- One postmortem MRI.
Time of Death: Body temperature, rigor and livor mortis, and stomach contents approximate the time of death between 11:30 PM on 02/03/2003 and 1:30 AM on 02/04/2004.
Remarks: DPPD Detectives were notified of findings upon completion of examination.
Alvin Rice, M.D.
Spokane County Coroner’s Office
February 10, 2004
After 15 minutes of shuffling pages, grimacing and grunting, Mac begins with,
“OK. I read it. Can’t say I know what the hell he’s talking about. Didn’t go to Med School. Now what?”