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?
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’.
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