Tag Archives: Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich

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!

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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.

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