Post Mortem: Death Investigation In America
Did you know a coroner doesn't need a medical degree to diagnose the cause of death? An NPR News investigation in partnership with ProPublica and PBS Frontline explores the nation's 2,300 coroner and medical examiner offices, and finds a troubled system that buries its mistakes.
Ernie Lopez hugs his daughter, Nikki Lopez. He was released from prison on March 2, 2012, in Amarillo, Texas, after serving nine years.
Ernie Lopez, whose conviction of sexually assaulting a 6-month-old girl was thrown out, accepted a plea deal in Amarillo, Texas, on Friday, in a move that avoids another trial. Lopez had served nine years in prison.
March 5, 2012 After nine years in prison for sexual assault of a baby girl, Lopez has been reunited with his family in Texas. An investigation by NPR, Frontline and ProPublica showed that the baby had a disorder that mimicked the signs of physical abuse. And now, Lopez awaits a new trial.
June 28, 2011 NPR News Investigations, ProPublica and PBS Frontline analyzed nearly two dozen cases in which people have been accused of killing children based on flawed work by forensic pathologists. Some of the accused were later cleared, others like Ernie Lopez, remain in prison.
February 1, 2011 Did you know a coroner doesn't have to be a doctor to determine the cause of death? Learn more about investigating death in the U.S.
June 30, 2011 Tammy Marquardt is one of at least a dozen people prosecuted for killing children in Ontario based on what later turned out to be tainted medical evidence. In just the past few years, courts have overturned several of those convictions, and more are under review.
January 26, 2012 A joint investigation by NPR, Frontline and ProPublica cast doubt on Ernie Lopez's conviction. It found that oftentimes medical examiners and coroners mishandle cases of infant and child deaths.
July 1, 2011 A new study suggests that babies can die by violent shaking alone, but not in the way doctors have thought. A series of autopsies suggests damage to the neck rather than the brain can be fatal.
June 29, 2011 The dispute over the common child abuse diagnosis is a bitter civil war. And now, the pediatric neurosurgeon who is credited with first observing the syndrome is speaking out for the first time about his concerns over how it is used in child abuse cases.
June 28, 2011 Join reporters from NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica for a discussion on our joint investigation of more than two dozen flawed pediatric death cases, which sent innocent parents and caregivers to prison.
February 2, 2011 In Mississippi, Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer, spent a combined 30 years in jail for crimes they didn't commit.
February 6, 2011 Many prosecutors complain that shows like CSI make their job harder, as jurors demand ultra-high-tech tests to convict suspects. But an investigation by NPR, PBS Frontline and ProPublica has exposed how death investigation in America is nothing like what you see on TV.