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Autopsy Problems in South Georgia

By: Bill Pearson
By: Bill Pearson

We first told you last week a Valdosta man was found dead in his home the day after Thanksgiving.

Valdosta police are furious because a medical examiner with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has refused to perform an autopsy.

Last Friday, Myron Denson's body was discovered in his home with trauma to the head. Valdosta police investigators didn't suspect foul play, but at the same time they wanted an autopsy to make sure their hunch was correct.

Brian Childress, Valdosta Police spokesman, said, "We had some question marks, question marks that we're not willing to reveal to the media, or anyone else. We did release those issues to the medical examiner and we were still denied an autopsy. The protocol we felt was sent was that if a detective works a case involving a death feels the need for an autopsy, we would get the autopsy, but we're not."

That's the main issue the Valdosta police have with the GBI, but other local agencies are also dealing with evidence issues.

"This is where the new, joint crime lab will be built by Valdosta police and the Lowndes County Sheriff's Office, and detectives from the sheriff's office are hopeful this new facility will ease local departments' reliance on the slow-acting GBI.

INV Wanda Edwards with the Lowndes Sheriff’s Office said, "We cannot rely solely on the GBI crime lab. It's backlogged now. It would be unbelievable if we didn't have our own resources."

Now, Valdosta's Police Chief Frank Simons has gotten some reassurances from GBI officials that this autopsy problem will be fixed in the future, but so far no time table has been laid out.


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