Why wasn't a FULL autopsy done???

Nurses General Nursing


My Aunt died of mysterious causes last Tuesday, she turned 59 on the day she died. My family is distraut and we're pretty sure her husband killed her......he tried to do it 11 years ago using prescription pills (he's a pharmacist). My mom had turned him into the FBI when my Aunt almost died 11 years ago, but they just gave him a slap on the wrist and he lost his job.....he went on to open his own store.

My Aunt had been through rehab recently and was doing fantastic. We could actually have a conversation with her and she wasn't slurring her speech, she made sense, and she said she was feeling fantastic. She said she had turned over a new leaf and was starting to live life to the fullest.

The details of her death are a mystery......he keeps changing his story. The first story was that she was having an anxiety attack, so he gave her "some pills". When questioned what the pills were he said "Two Atarax." My mom asked if her sister had a prescription for the pills and he said no, he just happened to have some and gave them to her. He woke up later and she was having a hard time breathing, woke up an hour later and she was not breathing, so he did CPR, called the ambulance, ect.

The next story he told was that he had just woke up and she was not breathing, he called the ambulance and they had said she had a pulse, took her to one hospital, then they shipped her to another hospital and they couldn't revive her.

Another story was similar, but she was DOA and they shipped her to a second hospital anyway (why they would ship a dead body to another hospital is beyond me).

There is a few more stories he's telling that are similar, but don't match up.

Anyway, after many calls, we finally get ahold of him to find out where the funeral is and if there's going to be an autopsy (we live 3 hours away). He said yes, there will be an autopsy and told us where the funeral was.

One hour before the funeral starts he tells us that there was only a chemical autopsy done. Well, that won't tell us if he put a pillow over her face while she was struggling to breath, or any other horrific things he may have done to her........:( He certainly didn't act like the grieving husband of 40 years at the funeral. He was laughing and joking around. At the after funeral dinner he laughed and told people to go up and get more food because he had my Aunt's checkbook and she had lots of money in it......she was "buying". SICKO!!!!! Then when we were leaving he gave my mom a hug and said "I can do this alot now that I'm single". My mom gave him a shove, called him a few nasty names and walked out.

My point here is.........Why wasn't there a FULL autopsy done???? How can they get away with a chemical autopsy under such mysterious circumstances??? I'm afraid we'll never know the cause of her death and that he may be getting away with murder. This will eat away at my mom and my poor grandma for the rest of their lives if we don't get an answer. He said there won't be any results for 2 weeks.......we're trying to get enough evidence together to get her exhumed and have a full autopsy done, but aren't sure how to go about it. It's sad to think my Aunt may have to be exhumed, but how can she rest in peace if he killed her and got away with it. It's a sad and sick situation all the way around.........HELP!!!!!!!!

Home Health Columnist / Guide


11 Articles; 18,062 Posts

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

Do you know who her doctor was?? I'd report my suspicions to him/her as they are the ones to sign death certificate. Also talk to the funeral home director and the local police department would be my hunch.

Just remember that people grieve in different ways. Family and cousins all laughed recently at my grandmothers funeral that it was the best party we'd been to all year. She was lookin down + was happy so see a chichen dinner served instead of the backyard hot dogs and burgers my dad had said we'd have when doing her funeral planning years ago. We all felt her spiritual presence with us at the funeral service and dinner.


82 Posts

No, I don't know who the doctor was......there's 2 different stories. One was that she was taken to one hospital and shipped to another where she died. The other story was that she died at the first hospital. I don't know who her family doctor was.....my Aunt lived 3 hours away from us. If we don't find out anything from the chemical autopsy, we're going to the funeral director, to the coroner, ect. I don't know at what point we should go to the police.

I can understand the difference in the grieving process, and I feel there is a different feeling when someone dies expectedly (like when my grandpa died of cancer).....we were very sad, but happy he was out of pain. It's different when someone dies totally unexpected, mysteriously, and at a young age. He was totally out of line. Just like the time he said (in front of my whole family) that he wished my Grandpa (his father-in-law) would hurry up and die so he wouldn't miss his plane flight to California. He's evil :devil:


646 Posts

Call the police, voice your concerns...they'll take over from there.

What a horrible situation. My thoughts are with you.


1,326 Posts


First, I am so sorry about all of this what your family must be going through.

Try to keep a clear head about all of this.

I would contact the police if you have not done so yet and get a lawyer because if you get to the point where you will have the body exhumed you will need one. The lawyer will probably also be able to help with the police, etc. Then I would keep on the police til you get some answers. From what I have seen on T.V. and in the newspapers cases like this can take years but it can be done. We had a local case where a young married woman "accidentally" fell from an apartment balcony and died. This was back in the 80's or very early 90's and just within the past few years they finally put her husband on trial for the murder and he was convicted. It was only through the determination of her family that the truth came out and justice was done and it was quite a daunting trial for the family.

In the mean time is there some sort of professional Pharmacists Association or Licensing body that can examine the case also? Seems like the husband / pharmicist may be held liable if he's a pharmacist and gave your aunt a drug which caused her demise.

Please take care of yourselves.



1,827 Posts

I would contact a Prosecuting Attorney's office in that town.

Sounds a bit suspicious and his behavior is horrid. Keep us posted and very sorry about the loss of your Aunt.


44 Posts

:o :o

First and foremost, I'm very sorry to hear of your lose.

Second and very important...CALL the Police right away and contact an attorney.

Yes, people greive in a lot of different ways, but this seems a bit much to me. This is a big world and hopefully you can get some justice, if he is the one to blame.

Prayers are with you.

:) jen


7 Posts

I will be happy to try to answer some questions for you in regards to your family member. I am a medicolegal forensic investigator for a large Regional Forensic Center.

Step One: File an official complaint (Report) with the law enforcement agency in the region where she lived. Preferably a homicide unit. If you have no success with that contact me and as a Board member of the International Homicide Investigator's Association I will be able to put you in contact with the appropiate agency.

Step two: Labs are being performed as they should be. Toxicology using blood and urine as well as vitrious fluids will be screened for presents of Amphetamine's, Oplates,Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Methodone, Methaqualone's, Propoxyphene's, etc etc etc

Generally they screen for numerous more...anything that tests positive... meaning positive for presence will be quantitated which is another test. That test depending if they do it in house or if they send it to an outside lab is slower.

Step three: The Medical Examiner or Coroner's office can exhume the remains at anytime to do an autopsy so there is nothing lost with the time that has gone by. The only problem that would exists would be if she was cremation, which does not seem to be the problem.

I woul dbe happy to assist you in any way and you may contact me at [email protected].

I would need a little more information, but feel free to contact me.

Most people do not realize on when an autopsy is ordered and depending on what state of the USA you are in...each state varies from one state to another.

Instead of having everyone assume...lets start with the results of the toxicology. Ask the ME to also screen for heavy metals as well.

Best Regards,

Mark F.I.



365 Posts

I have one question. If she did not have a script for Atarax, how did he justify giving these to her? Since when can he prescribe medications? Maybe this is an issue that could be followed up on. And did he have a script for these himself, if not, why did he have them to begin with? What other drugs does he have that he shouldn't have?????


657 Posts

in deaths other than natural causes, i thought the coroner determined whether to do an autopsy or not.

my sister in law was hit by a truck and they did an autopsy without family permission.

i recall having a patient die of an overdose in the hospital and the doc who pronounced her had to report the death to the coroners office. they declined autopsy and sent her to the funeral home.

what is the OFFICIAL cause of death?

i cant imagine it being difficult for your mom to get medical records from the hospital(s) she was taken to.

im so sorry for your loss...especially in this manner.


2,709 Posts


Thats the first place to go with these suspicions. If you are afraid to talk to them, just print out your posts here & show them your story. If they dont do anything, talk to the District Attorney. You can call the police dept homicide division in her community or go to your own police & they will help you with that.

What are the funeral director, the hospital, & the coroner going to do if the police arent involved first? They probably wont even talk to you because the husband is the legal next of kin. You certainly wont be given any copies of her medical records and maybe not even the autopsy report. All you may get about the autopsy is what her husband tells you it was.

The police can get the coroner to do more extensive testing and can get information from the hospital hubby said he took her to. And if she turns up to have had drugs in her that he gave her without an MD prescription, Id report his butt to his licensing board for practicing as a physician and causing someones death.

But first things first - the police station to speak with a homicide detective.


I expected to see that after the chemical autopsy was done, the husband had her cremated.

Condolences to your family and I hope you get answers soon.


518 Posts

First of all I too am sorry for your loss.

AS far as the autopsy is concerned, from your post I gather your Aunt had medical problems in the past. Since she was in rehab and you mentioned her improved speech I figured it was a stroke.

When we have a death in the ER the only time we call the coroner is if the pt. has no significant medical hx, the death appears suspiciuos in nature , the family doc does not want to sign the death certificate, or the pt. has no MD or has not seen one in a long time.

If your aunt's doctor aggreed to sign the death certificate because of past medical hx and had no reason to believe it was not natural causes that is why a complete autopsy probably was not done. Were the tox screens done by a hospital or the coroners office? If it was done at the coroners office then I'm not sure why they wouldn't do a complete autopsy.

Anyway, sounds fishy to me and I agree with above posters to contact authorities and pursue this!!

{{{{hugs to you and your family}}}}

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