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A Texas medical examiner is accused of offering to change the cause of death on a man’s autopsy, and investigators say this isn’t the first time he’s been under fire for questionable autopsy results.
According to court documents, Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Sandra Lyden was practicing without a license in Nueces County; she was arrested earlier this year for government document tampering. Both Lyden and Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Adel Shaker are accused of signing off on a faulty autopsy report.
“Dr. Shaker stated he had removed a projectile from <redacted> during the autopsy and believed the death to be a result of a shotgun wound,” the report states. “However, Dr. Shaker advised that he was tired and would be willing to change the autopsy findings to natural causes to avoid a homicide investigation.”
The incident marks a part of a full investigation into the Nueces County Medical Examiner’s Office. Earlier this year, the Texas Rangers obtained a search warrant for the office and “documents relating to any autopsies performed by Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Adel Shaker and Dr. Sandra Lyden between Jan. 1, 2020 through Dec. 31, 2021,” KRIS 6 in Corpus Christi reports.
A lieutenant, according to KIII News, informed Shaker he only needed to know about the type of gun that was used, and not whether he thought the death was a homicide.
“If Corpus Christi Police were going to investigate the ‘suspicious death’ it is very important we know what type of firearm was potentially used,” the lieutenant reportedly said.
The Texas Rangers reportedly started looking into Shaker in 2020, after there were other discrepancies in autopsy reports, including the death of Joseph ‘Joey’ Gonzales, which shows three different causes of death, including homicide, undetermined and pending.
“Why did you hand me an envelope that said homicide and then later on when I start questioning, you know asking questions, then all of a sudden it’s undetermined?” Joey’s mother, Tamara Gonzales, asked, referring to Shaker. “I just wanna know what happened to my son…I owe it to my son to know what happened to him.”
The story is developing. Check back for updates.
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