Pathologist: Teen Didn’t Die From Illness

TAMPA, Fla. — A pathologist who observed the second autopsy of a 14-year-old boy who was punched and kicked by guards at a juvenile boot camp said Tuesday the boy may not have died of a blood disorder as a medical examiner had ruled.

Dr. Michael Baden, who observed the new autopsy on behalf of the teen’s family, said it was clear Martin Lee Anderson did not die from sickle cell trait, or from any other natural causes.

Anderson was sent to the Bay County Sheriff’s Office boot camp on Jan. 5 for a probation violation. A surveillance video showed guards kicking and punching him after he collapsed while exercising on his first day at the camp, and he died at a hospital early the next day.

The sheriff’s office has said the guards were trying to get Anderson to participate after he became uncooperative.

The second autopsy was ordered after the teen’s parents questioned the findings of Bay County’s medical examiner, and was conducted Monday by Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Vernard Adams.

“My opinion is that he died because of what you see in the videotape,” said Baden, referring to the surveillance video.

Baden, who reviewed medical evidence in the slaying of Martin Luther King Jr. and worked for a congressional committee that reinvestigated the assassination of President Kennedy, said it will be several weeks before Adams can determine the exact cause of death because tissue samples must be analyzed and other evidence considered.

Pam Bondi, a spokeswoman for Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark Ober, confirmed Baden’s assertion. She would not elaborate, saying it will be months before the investigation is complete. Ober was appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush to investigate the case.

Anderson’s mother, Gina Jones, said she wants to see action now.

“Now the truth is out, and I want justice,” she said.

The medical examiner who made the initial finding of sickle cell, Dr. Charles Siebert, won’t comment until the investigation is complete, his office said Tuesday. A spokeswoman for the Bay County Sheriff’s Office, which operated the camp, also declined to comment.

No guards have been arrested or fired but the camp has been closed.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Tallahassee and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division also have opened investigations.

Source

(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
AP, via the Washington Post, USA
Mar. 15, 2006
Mitch Stacy
www.washingtonpost.com
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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday March 16, 2006.
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