Tag Archives: medical examiner

Letter Warns Army Chief of Staff About ‘Rat’ at Fort Campbell

As an investigative journalist and author whose nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, was described by David P. Schippers as “perhaps the most thorough investigative reporting I have encountered in years,” I like to think I’m pretty good at sniffing out “rats.” Of course, it helped to receive confirmation from Schippers, the man who served as the U.S. House of Representatives’ chief investigative counsel during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. After detecting the odor of a Pentagon-sized “rat” at Fort Campbell, Ky., I decided to let Gen. Mark A. Milley know about it.

Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army (U.S. Army photo by Monica King)

Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army (Monica King)

Below is the text of the 700-word letter I mailed to the newest Army Chief of Staff today:

Dear General Milley:

Are you willing, in your role as Chief of Staff of the United States Army, to allow Army prosecutors at Fort Campbell, Ky., to continue the wrongful and reckless prosecution of Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin on sexual assault allegations even after his female accuser pleaded guilty to a felony crime?

Yesterday, this woman — whose own sister recently described her as “untruthful since childhood” and whose own father told investigators working for Major Martin she had a long history of telling lies — entered a guilty plea before Christian County (Ky.) Judge Andrew Self on a single felony charge of bigamy (i.e., marrying one person while you are still legally married to another) and is now awaiting her sentencing Feb. 17, 2016.

The man she deceived for most of a decade is Major Martin, a same Regular Army officer, Ranger, attack helicopter pilot and Iraq combat veteran your predecessor, Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, once described as a “top of the line” officer of “unquestionable integrity.”

This woman, now a convicted felon, is behind the slew of false allegations against Major Martin, the most outrageous of which is that he sexually assaulted her and her three children. Hardly coincidentally, her allegations began to surface only after Major Martin told her he wanted a divorce.

This woman’s allegations against this outstanding officer are nearly identical to those she made years earlier against her first — and, legally speaking, only — husband. While recently speaking to investigators working for Major Martin, that man said the woman had made the same kind of vile allegations against him but had not pursued them. Instead, she had opted to abduct the two children they had had together — her second- and third-born children — and never return.

This woman might have made similar allegations against the father of her first child, whom she never married, but did not. Instead, she came up with something more creative, telling anyone who would listen that he had been decapitated in a logging accident in Oregon 19 years earlier. She even told her first child that story when she determined him old enough to comprehend.

Something else you should know and might want to investigate, General Milley, is that agents from Army Criminal Investigation Command confirmed not only that they had been unable to locate the reportedly-decapitated man, but that he was dead. It was only through the efforts of Major Martin’s private investigators — and not through the help of any medical examiner, undertaker or cemetery administrator — that the man this woman had hoped to keep in her past was located.

Also worth noting is that the two biological fathers of the three children born to Major Martin’s accuser — even the reportedly-decapitated man — are not only trying to gain back custody of their children, but both are planning to appear and testify during Major Martin’s upcoming military trial, set to begin Dec. 1 at Fort Campbell. Imagine the media circus that will generate!

General Milley, I trust you will look at the facts of this case seriously. I trust you will take a serious look at the outcomes of the multiple military and civilian investigations that found no substance to any of the allegations against Major Martin. And I trust you will cast aside political correctness and pressure from powerful lawmakers to obtain a conviction when all evidence points toward acquittal.

Likewise, I trust you will give serious thought to whether Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer is, after making the wrong decision in Major Martin’s case while serving as acting commander at Fort Campbell, suited to wearing two stars as commander of such an important organization as Africa Command‘s Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa.

Finally, I trust you will take swift and immediate action to stop this reckless and wrongful prosecution of Major Martin!

Sincerely,

Bob McCarty

cc: Senator Rand Paul; Senator Mitch McConnell; Senator Lamar Alexander; Senator Bob Corker; Ashton Carter; Mr. Jon T. Rymer; Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky; and Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer.

Stay tuned for more details, and thanks in advance for reading and sharing the letter above as well as my continuing coverage of Major Martin’s case.

UPDATE 12/7/2015 at 8:23 a.m. Central: A military judge continued the military trial date for Army Maj. Christian “Kit” Martin to sometime in March 2016, though no specific date has been set.

UPDATE 12/10/2015 at 11:12 a.m. Central: I’ve learned that Major Martin’s military trial date is set for March 14-18, 2016.

Please show your support of my work by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here.

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Journalists Jump to Conclusions Re: Tom Schweich’s Death

Unlike so many who work as journalists, I refuse to label two recent and much-publicized deaths in the Show-Me State as suicides until those in charge of investigating those deaths make such declarations public.

Thomas A. "Tom" Schweich and Robert "Spence" Jackson

During the past four days, I’ve written and published three articles related to the tragic deaths of Tom Schweich, 54, a second-term Missouri state auditor and declared Republican candidate for governor Feb. 26, and his official spokesperson, Robert “Spence” Jackson, 44, only 30 days later. In the most recent article, I revealed two facts other media outlets have, thusfar, failed to share with their audiences.

First, I shared a statement received via email Monday from Dr. Mary E. Case, St. Louis County’s chief medical examiner. Among other things, she explained that the autopsy, including complete toxicology testing, is complete. She did not, however, say that the death had been ruled a suicide.

Second, I shared a statement received from Clayton (Mo.) Police Chief Kevin Murphy. In an email message about the investigation into Schweich’s death Monday, he wrote, “Currently, the investigation is not closed.” As was the case with Dr. Case, Chief Murphy did not say that the death had been ruled a suicide.

Many in the local, state and national news media, however, have been quick to gloss over the fact no one in any official capacity to make such a statement has said definitively that Schweich committed suicide. [FYI: I have yet to look into the matter of whether any such official statement has been issued regarding Jackson’s death.]

Click on image above to link to article.

Click on image above to link to article.

The most recent in-state example appeared in the Sedalia Democrat April 3. One didn’t have to read beyond the headline of a column by Bob Satnan to see that the editors at the central Missouri newspaper were comfortable publishing a statement not backed up by anyone authorized to confirm it:  Lessons to be learned from 2 suicides.

Click on image above to link to article.

Click on image above to link to article.

Virginia Young of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch waited until the seventh paragraph of her April 1 Political Fix column, but she still used the “S” word without its use substantiated by anyone in an official capacity.

Media outlets outside of the state have done the same thing.

The “S” word appeared in the headline and first paragraph of an April Fools Day piece, Two Suicides Rock Missouri Politics, in The Daily Beast. Notably, the piece was written by Missouri’s own Eli Yokely. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, he should have known better than to use the term without official confirmation.

The “S” word also appeared in the subhead of Luke Brinker‘s March 30 piece in Salon and in the first paragraph of Stacy Hatton‘s March 24 piece in The Huffington Post.

Perhaps things have changed inside journalism school classrooms during the 30-plus years since I received my degree in the subject. I do know, however, that I would have received a failing grade had I used the word, suicide, without verifying it by way of an official report and attributing that verification to the individual or agency that provided it. Until such verification is provided by someone authorized to offer it, I will use terms such as alleged, apparent, possible and suspect in front of the the word, suicide.

Stay tuned for more updates. To see previous articles on this topic, click here.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Medical Examiner Says Tom Schweich Autopsy ‘Complete’; UPDATE–Clayton Police Chief Says Investigation ‘Not Closed’

Dr. Mary E. Case, St. Louis County’s chief medical examiner, told me today her agency’s autopsy on Tom Schweich, the second-term Missouri state auditor who had recently launched his Republican campaign for governor, “is complete.” Based on a separate communication I had with a member of her staff, I suspect the autopsy findings will be released tomorrow. UPDATE RECEIVED TODAY at 4:28 p.m. Central:  Clayton (Mo.) Police Chief Kevin Murphy sent me a message in which he said, “Currently, the investigation is not closed.”

Reply from Dr. Mary E. Case 4-6-15

The news from Dr. Case arrived in the form of answers to seven questions — and they arrived exactly two minutes after I had published today’s first update to my Friday piece related to the autopsy findings on Schweich. My questions (Q1 through Q7) appear below, followed by Dr. Case’s answers (A1 through A7) and, as necessary, my comments in italics after four of the answers:

Q1. How long does your average autopsy take when it involves what law enforcement officials initially suspect is a self-inflicted gunshot wound?

A1. The average autopsy with toxicology takes 4 to 6 weeks to complete.

Q2. On average, how many autopsies do you perform annually on individuals in cases law enforcement officials initially suspected involved self-inflicted gunshot wounds?

A2. We probably do about 50 or more GSW (i.e., gunshot wound) suicides/year.

Q3. Have you completed the autopsy on Mr. Schweich’s body?

A3. The autopsy is complete.

Q4. Please describe the tests you performed on Mr. Schweich’s body.

A4. We did complete toxicology testing. Interestingly, Dr. Case does not mention any other types of testing, such as gunshot residue testing. That’s probably a police matter anyway. Any cops out there want to answer that question for me? If so, leave a reply in the comments section below.

Q5. Why is it taking so long for the findings to be released?

A5. We do not announce the findings of autopsies. If you wish to have a copy, you may request it.

In response to Dr. Case’s reply to Q5, I sent the following message:  “Thank you for your reply.  Please consider this a request. Can you email it to me?” Twenty-six minutes later, I received a response from Kathy Sparks, an office services specialist in the ME’s office. Sparks wrote:  “Per Suzanne McCune- Forensic Administrator; this case is currently on hold, you may contact Suzanne on Tuesday 04/07/2015 at 314-615-0801. Thanks for your patience.” Does that mean there is going to be a public announcement of some sort? Methinks there might be, but Dr. Case does not. In a separate email exchange, I asked her if she knew of any such announcement forthcoming, and she replied, “I do not know anything about such an announcement.”

Q6. Have you set a date on which you plan to release the findings? If not, why not?

A6. See A5 — and, especially, my comment that follows it!

Q7. Were you the only medical examiner to perform an autopsy on Mr. Schweich’s body?

A7. I did not personally do the autopsy. This response prompts at least one additional question:  “Was the autopsy conducted by someone within your office or by someone outside of your office?” I forwarded that question to Dr. Case. A few minutes later, she replied, writing, “The autopsy was done by Dr Kamal Sabharwal who is an assistant medical examiner in this office and he was on call that day for cases.”

One person who has not responded to the single question I asked of him two times today — at 10:42 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. — was Clayton Police Chief Kevin R. Murphy. I suspect he knew the answer when I asked him Friday whether the investigation into Schweich’s death is ongoing or has been closed. Why? Because I suspect he knew the autopsy had been completed by then. Rather than come out and say it, however, he decided to wiggle around the answer in his reply to me, the full length of which appears below and in my Friday piece:

An autopsy was conducted on the morning of the 27th, at 0730.  I didn’t say the results would be available then.  I believe we are waiting on the completed, written, autopsy report.  In any event, only the Medical Examiner’s Office can release an autopsy report.  We are not authorized to make a secondary release of the information.

Having spent years in politics and public relations, I recognize “I believe” and “In any event” as defensible words — the kind politicians and PR folks use when they know they might need to wiggle out of a statement at some future date.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for the next update!

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Quest Continues for Tom Schweich Autopsy Findings

My search for answers to questions about the death of Tom Schweich continues three days after I published a piece in which I raised the question, Is Investigative Journalism Dead in Missouri?

Click on image above to read article.

Click on image above to read article published Friday.

The headline of that piece reflects my disdain for St. Louis-area journalists and their collective failure to exhibit even the slightest bit of curiosity about the findings of the autopsy performed on the body of the second-term Missouri state auditor and declared Republican candidate for governor. After all, it’s not every day when an ambitious 54-year-old schedules a media interview one minute and, minutes later, reportedly shoots himself in the head inside his home.

On top of that, the likelihood that Schweich’s 44-year-old official spokesperson, Robert “Spence” Jackson, would reportedly use the same means to take his own life 30 days later seems ridiculously small. That’s why I’m pursuing answers today. And so I continue.

In response to the inquiry highlighted in Update #2 of my aforementioned article, I received a reply at 9:02 a.m. today from Communications Coordinator Allison Blood at the St. Louis County Media Center. She directed me to contact the medical examiner’s office. In turn, I sent the following message to Dr. Mary E. Case, St. Louis County’s chief medical examiner, 28 minutes later:

Dear Dr. Case:

I am an author and freelance investigative reporter and have contacted both Chief Kevin Murphy (Clayton PD) and the folks at the St. Louis County Media Center. Both referred me to you.

Your findings from the autopsy of the late Thomas A. “Tom” Schweich are, as I’m sure you’re aware, of great public interest — especially after his spokesperson, Robert “Spence” Jackson, reportedly died in a similar manner one month later in Jefferson City. Related to your work, I have several questions:

1. How long does your average autopsy take when it involves what law enforcement officials initially suspect is a self-inflicted gunshot wound?

2. On average, how many autopsies do you perform annually on individuals in cases law enforcement officials initially suspected involved self-inflicted gunshot wounds?

3. Have you completed the autopsy on Mr. Schweich’s body?

4. Please describe the tests you performed on Mr. Schweich’s body.

5. Why is it taking so long for the findings to be released?

6. Have you set a date on which you plan to release the findings? If not, why not?

7. Were you the only medical examiner to perform an autopsy on Mr. Schweich’s body?

Depending upon your responses to the questions above, I might have follow-up questions.

Thanks in advance for your prompt reply as I would like to complete this story within 48 hours.

Mind you, I haven’t drawn any conclusions yet. Instead, I’m merely applying the same investigative skills that earned me accolades from David P. Schippers, the U.S. House of Representatives chief investigative counsel during the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. After reading my second nonfiction book, The Clapper Memo, he described my work as “perhaps the most thorough investigative reporting I have encountered in years.”

Stay tuned for updates as they become available.

UPDATE 4/6/2015 at 1:47 p.m. Central:  Incredible! Two minutes after I published this piece, I received a reply from Dr. Case. Details soon!

UPDATE #1 4/6/2015 at 3:56 p.m. Central:  BREAKING NEWS! EXCLUSIVE! Medical Examiner Says Tom Schweich Autopsy ‘Complete’.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.

Is Investigative Journalism Dead in Missouri?

Thirty-six days have passed and the findings of any autopsy performed on the body of the late Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich remain a mystery to the general public. On top of that, members of the St. Louis journalism community appear to have little or no interest in obtaining the autopsy findings. Is investigative journalism dead in Missouri?

Schweich_and_Jackson

To date, I’ve found no evidence that any government agency in the state of Missouri — not the Clayton Police Department whose officers responded to Schweich’s Clayton home after receiving a 911 call, not the St. Louis County Medical Examiner and not the Missouri State Highway Patrol — has released any findings from the Scweich autopsy. Likewise, I’ve found no evidence of any St. Louis-area news organizations expressing much interest in such findings.

Am I An Odd Duck? Maybe.

Maybe I’m an odd duck, but it strikes me that there is a compelling public interest in knowing whether or not Schweich, a hard-hitting state auditor who had recently launched his campaign for governor, actually took his own life at 54 or was assisted in that endeavor. And one would think that journalists in the same state as the University of Missouri School of Journalism, one of the nation’s premier training grounds for journalists, would pursue this subject aggressively. But they’re not.

Am I Callous and Inconsiderate?

Some who read this will accuse me of being callous and inconsiderate by trampling in an area where no one should go. I beg to differ.

For weeks after Schweich’s death, I resisted the urge to go there and decided to let the wheels of justice turn. I was certain the autopsy findings would be released. After all, according to a KOMU-TV report on the day of Schweich’s death, Clayton Police Chief Kevin Murphy said autopsy findings would be made available at 7:30 a.m. the next day. Instead, 30 days passed without any findings being made public, and tragedy struck again.

Sometime between Feb. 27 and Feb. 29, according to published reports like this one, Schweich spokesperson Spence Jackson, 44, allegedly used the same method as Schweich — a single gunshot wound to the head — to take his own life. Unlike Schweich, who some claim was distraught over an alleged “whisper campaign” about his faith, Jackson was reportedly distraught over the prospect of being unemployed again. As a man who’s had many different jobs over his lifetime, including managing back-to-back congressional campaigns, I find neither of the alleged reasons behind the alleged suicides plausible.

Let’s Play “What If?”

What if a certain someone(s) feared Schweich’s team of auditors might uncover evidence of serious wrongdoing? According to the Audits in Progress section of the Missouri State Auditor’s website, Schweich’s auditors were conducting audits on dozens of organizations, including the Missouri Governor’s Office, the Missouri State Lottery Commission, the Missouri Department of Revenue and the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Use of State Data.

Today, I decided to start doing the job members of the St. Louis-area news media have thusfar failed to do. As Step One, I sent an email message to Clayton, Mo., Police Chief Kevin Murphy at 9:18 a.m. After identifying myself as an author and freelance investigative reporter, I got straight to the point with the man whose officers are in charge of the Schweich investigation:

According to this article, you were quoted as saying autopsy results on the body of the late Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich would be made available at 7:30 a.m. Friday (Feb. 27, 2015). Were the autopsy results ever released?

If so, I would like to obtain a copy of whatever information your agency released.

If not, why not?

I closed the message by thanking him in advance for his prompt reply. Now, I will give Chief Murphy a few days to get back to me. It is, after all, a holiday weekend.

Be sure to check back often as I will provide updates as they become available.

UPDATE 4/03/2015 at 12:07 p.m. Central:  At 11:59 a.m., I received a reply from Chief Murphy at the Clayton Police Department. He wrote:

Mr. McCarty,

An autopsy was conducted on the morning of the 27th, at 0730.  I didn’t say the results would be available then.  I believe we are waiting on the completed, written, autopsy report.  In any event, only the Medical Examiner’s Office can release an autopsy report.  We are not authorized to make a secondary release of the information.

The autopsy was conducted by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office.  They can be contacted, as follows:

St Louis County Medical Examiner
Address:  6059 Helen Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63134
Phone:  (314) 615-0800

Sincerely,

Kevin R. Murphy
Chief of Police

Now, my next step will be to call the medical examiner’s office. Stay tuned!

UPDATE #2 4/03/2015 at 12:32 p.m. Central:  Moments ago, I used the CONTACT US tool to send the following request to the media folks at the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office:

In an email this morning, I asked Chief Kevin R. Murphy of the Clayton, MO., Police Department if he could provide me a copy of the autopsy report containing the findings from the autopsy performed on the body of the late Missouri State Auditor Thomas Schweich. In reply, he wrote the following:

“An autopsy was conducted on the morning of the 27th, at 0730.  I didn’t say the results would be available then.  I believe we are waiting on the completed, written, autopsy report.  In any event, only the Medical Examiner’s Office can release an autopsy report.  We are not authorized to make a secondary release of the information. The autopsy was conducted by the St. Louis County Medical Examiner’s Office.”

Now, because of the immense public interest in Mr. Schweich’s death, I would like to request a copy of the report or a summary of the findings of that report.

Please advise ASAP as to whether you will be able to provide the information. Thanks!

Now, again, we wait. Stay tuned for the next update.

UPDATE #3 4/06/2015 at 1:35 p.m. Central:  Read the latest update in a new piece published moments ago.

UPDATE #4 4/6/2015 at 3:57 p.m. Central:  BREAKING NEWS! EXCLUSIVE! Medical Examiner Says Tom Schweich Autopsy ‘Complete’.

For links to other articles of interest as well as photos and commentary, join me on Facebook and Twitter.  Please show your support by buying my books and encouraging your friends and loved ones to do the same.  To learn how to order signed copies, click here. Thanks in advance!

Click on image above to order Bob's books.

Click on image above to order Bob’s books.