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Preliminary Coroner's Report

 

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Office of the Yoknapatawpha County Coroner

DATE and HOUR AUTOPSY PERFORMED:
08/27/2012 8:30 A.M. by

Douglas Hargrove, M.D.
555 Jackson Avenue
Oxford, MS 38655
662-234-XXXX (FAX 662-234-XXXX)

Assistant:

 

Victoria Witte, M.D.

 

Full Autopsy Performed

SUMMARY PRELIMINARY REPORT OF AUTOPSY

Name:
MORRIS, Courtney

Coroner's Case #:
2012-151

Date of Birth:
12/29/1990

Age:
21

Race:
White

Sex:
Female

Date of Death:
08/26/2012

Body Identified by:
Mee-Yon Kim, friend of the deceased

Case #
002751-25H-2012

Investigative Agency:
Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department

EVIDENCE OF TREATMENT

N/A

 

EXTERNAL EXAMINATION - SUMMARY

Click to enlarge

The autopsy is begun at 8:30 a.m. on August 27, 2012. The body is presented in a black body bag. When first viewed, the deceased is clothed in a dark gray tank top with a white long-sleeved shirt over it and a pair of blue cropped jeans with a brown leather belt. The hands are covered with paper bags, secured at the wrists with rubber bands. There is one pierced earring in each ear. There is a 6-foot length of 1/2-inch manila rope cinched around the neck at one end with a hangman's knot. At the other end of the rope is a second hangman's knot which had been disengaged inside the bedroom closet at the crime scene.

The body is that of a well-nourished, normally developed white female measuring 66 inches and weighing 138 pounds, and appearing generally consistent with the stated age of 21 years. Preservation is good on the unembalmed body. The body is cold to the touch following refrigeration.

The head hair is blonde with a maximal length of 24.25 inches. The body hair is female and average. The head is symmetric and moderately congested. Contusions are present on the right superciliary arch extending through the glabella and on the left infraorbital margin. The eyes are closed. The nose and ears are unremarkable. The teeth are natural with some amalgam restorations.

Removal of the rope revealed a ligature mark on the neck below the mandible. The ligature mark is dark red and encircles the neck, crossing the anterior midline just above the laryngeal prominence. The ligature mark is approximately .75 inches wide and encircles the neck in the form of a "V" on the anterior of the neck and an inverted "V" on the posterior of the neck, consistent with hanging. Abrasions and petechial hemorrhaging are observed on the skin above and below the ligature mark.

The chest is of normal contour and is intact. The abdomen is slightly protuberant and the pelvis is intact. The external genitalia are female and unremarkable and there is no evidence of injury. The back is symmetrical and intact. The upper and lower extremities are symmetric, normally developed and intact. The hands and nails are clean and evidence no injury.

Tattoos are observed on the left anterior forearm (A), the right anterior forearm (B), the right upper ankle (C), and the right dorsal hallux (D). Tattoo A is flaming heart surrounded by a crown with tendrils descending, measuring approximately 6.3 inches long by approximately 2 inches wide at the widest point. Tattoo B is a flower with tendrils descending, measuring approximately 5 inches long by approximately 2.4 inches wide at the widest point. Tattoo C a series of symbols and words in English and other languages, measuring approximately 2.75 inches wide and completely encircling the ankle. Tattoo D is an empty circle, a yin yang symbol and a half circle, measuring approximately .4 inches long and approximately 1 inch wide.

There are no residual scars, markings or additional tattoos.

 

INTERNAL EXAMINATION - SUMMARY

CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM: The brain weighs 1,301 grams and is within normal limits. Hemorrhaging from the ligature penetrates the skin and subdermal tissues of the neck.

MUSCULOSKELETAL SYSTEM: The hyoid bone is fractured. The remainder of the musculoskeletal system is intact, unremarkable and within normal limits.

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM: The oral cavity shows no lesions. Petechial hemorrhaging is present in the mucosa of the lips and the mouth. Otherwise, the mucosa is intact and there are no injuries to the lips, teeth or gums. There is no obstruction of the airway. Cervical spine is in the midline and essentially unremarkable. The mucosa of the epiglottis, glottis, piriform sinuses, trachea and major bronchi are anatomic. The thyroid and the cricoid cartilages are fractured. The lungs are unremarkable and weigh: right, 368 grams; left, 377 grams.

CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM: The heart weighs 256 grams, and has a normal size and configuration. Cardiac valves and coronary ostia are anatomic and unremarkable. No evidence of atherosclerosis or gross ischemic changes of recent or remote origin are present.

GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM: The mucosa and wall of the esophagus are intact and gray-pink without lesions or injuries. The gastric mucosa is intact and pink without injury. Approximately 100 ml of partially digested semisolid food is found in the stomach. The mucosa of the duodenum, jejunum, ileum, colon and rectum are intact. Externally the small intestine, appendix and colon are unremarkable.

HEPATOBILIARY SYSTEM: The liver weighs 1,218 grams. The gallbladder contains 4 cc of thick green viscid bile, no stones and is grossly normal. The extrahepatic biliary system is unremarkable. The pancreas shows the usual lobular architecture, mild autolysis, and is otherwise normal.

URINARY SYSTEM: The kidneys weigh: left, 110 grams; right, 101 grams. The kidneys are anatomic in size, shape and location and are without lesions. The pelvic calyceal system and ureters are unremarkable. The bladder contains 43 cc of amber urine.

FEMALE GENITAL SYSTEM: The structures are within normal limits. Examination of the pelvic area indicates the victim had not given birth and was approximately 13 weeks pregnant at the time of death. There is evidence of sexual activity within that last 24 hours, but no indications that the sexual contact was forcible. The inguinal regions and buttocks are normal. Vaginal, seminal, amniotic and fetal fluid samples are removed for analysis.

TOXICOLOGY: Samples of right pleural blood and bile are submitted for toxicologic analysis. Stomach contents are saved.

SEROLOGY: A sample of right pleural blood is submitted in the EDTA tube. Routine toxicologic studies were ordered.

 

DESCRIPTION OF INJURIES - SUMMARY

(1) A red area of discoloration consistent with acute blunt force trauma is present on the right superciliary arch extending through the glabella measuring approximately 2 inches wide by 2 inches long.

Opinion: This is a non-fatal perimortem injury.

(2) A red area of discoloration consistent with acute blunt force trauma is present on the left infraorbital margin measuring approximately 1.5 inches wide by .75 inches long.

Opinion: This is a non-fatal perimortem injury.

(3) A dark red, abraded ligature mark measuring approximately .75 inches wide is present encircling the neck.

Opinion: This is a fatal injury.

 

LABORATORY DATA

Cerebrospinal fluid culture and sensitivity:

Gram stain: Unremarkable
Culture: No growth after 72 hours

Cerebrospinal fluid bacterial antigens:

Hemophilus influenza B: Negative
Streptococcus pneumoniae: Negative
N. Meningitidis: Negative
Neiserria meningitidis B/E. Coli K1: Negative

 

Drug Screen Results:

Urine screen {Immunoassay} was NEGATIVE.
Ethanol: 0 gm/dl, Blood (Heart)
Ethanol: 0 gm/dl, Vitreous

Millicent Schmid, Ph.D.
Chief Toxicologist
September 5, 2012

 

EVIDENCE COLLECTED

1. Samples of hair, blood (type B+), urine, bile, and tissue (heart, lung, brain, kidney, liver, spleen)

2. Stomach contents (approx. 100 ml)

3. Fourteen (14) autopsy photographs

4. Four (4) postmortem x-rays

5. Two (2) standard fingerprint cards

6. One (1) 6-foot length of rope with hangman's knots at both ends

 

Clothing and Personal Effects:

1. One (1) women's long-sleeved shirt, white

2. One (1) women's tank top, gray

3. One (1) pair women's cropped jeans, blue

4. One (1) leather belt, brown

5. Two (2) pierced earrings

Rope, clothing, jewelry, hair sample, blood sample, urine sample and one of the fingerprint cards transferred to Crime Lab for further analysis and comparison.

 

OPINION

Time of Death: Body temperature, rigor and livor mortis, stomach contents and witness statements approximate the time of death between 10:00 A.M. and 3:30 P.M. on August 26, 2012.

Cause of Death: Asphyxia due to ligature strangulation.

Manner of Death: Homicide

 

//Douglas Hargrove, M.D.
Yoknapatawpha County Coroner's Office
September 5, 2012

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