Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "autopsies" ...

  • Examinations get scrutiny

    The medical examiner story started with an unimaginable tip in July, when Dr. Jon Smith, Ventura County’s chief medical examiner, was placed on leave. In June, Smith supposedly had directed an unqualified assistant to perform autopsies while he was on vacation more than 2,000 miles away. Wilson and Carlson not only verified the tip, but disclosed Smith had determined the cause of death for at least two men he never examined. The two men’s bodies had been released from the morgue to their families by the time Smith had returned from his vacation.
  • Dying at Opp

    "Dying at OPP" examined how the troubled Orleans Parish Prison, Louisiana’s largest lockup for pre-trial suspects, handled inmate deaths. The series exposed institutional failings and indifference that persist despite the jail being under a court order mandating widespread reforms. After the series, the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, which operates the jail, called in outside law enforcement agencies to investigate the latest inmate fatality -- only the second time in at least a decade that an outside law enforcement was called in to review a jail death. The series also led to major policy changes at the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office. Our series exposed a lack of autopsies when inmates died at a hospital after becoming ill or injured in jail. The coroner now requires his pathologists conduct autopsies in those cases.
  • Over the Line

    Fatal shootings by U.S. Border Patrol agents were once a rarity. Only a handful were recorded before 2009. Unheard of were incidents of Border Patrol agents shooting Mexicans on their own side of the border. But a joint investigation by the Washington Monthly, The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute, and the television network Fusion has found that over the past five years U.S. border agents have shot across the border at least ten times, killing a total of six Mexicans on Mexican soil. A former Clinton administration official who worked on border security issues couldn’t recall a single cross-border shooting during his tenure. “Agents would go out of their way not to harm anyone and certainly not shoot across the border,” he said. But following a near doubling of the number of Border Patrol agents between 2006 and 2009, a disturbing pattern of excessive use of force emerged. For “Over the Line,” we traveled to several Mexican border towns, tracking down family members of victims, eye-witnesses to the shootings, amateur video, Mexican police reports, audiotapes, and autopsies to recreate the circumstances surrounding these cross-border killings. We recount the stories of several of them, including 16-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodriguez, a studious Mexican teen who dreamed of becoming a soldier to fight the violence that plagued his hometown of Nogales, Sonora, and who was shot and killed by U.S. border agents as he walked to pick his brother up after work. The first two shots were to the boy’s head; he was shot eight more times as he lay, prone and bleeding, on the sidewalk. Although Border Patrol protocols and international treaties between Mexico and the United States appear to have been violated by these cross border shootings, none of the agents involved have yet been prosecuted. If any agents have been relieved of their duties for their role in the incidents, that information has not been made available to the public, and our queries to Customs and Border Protection on this issue have been denied. The Washington Monthly story was accompanied by two broadcasts that aired at the launch of the news network Fusion, a joint project of ABC News and Univision. These reports delve into two of the more troubling incidents in greater depth. “Investigation Shows Mexican Teen Was Shot 8 Times on the Ground” tells the story of Rodriguez, the teenager killed in Nogales; “U.S. Border Patrol Shoots and Kills Mexican Man in Park with Family” uses amateur video and eyewitness testimony to tell the even more shocking story of Arevalo Pedroza, shot and killed by US border agents who fired into a crowd of picnickers on the Mexico side of the Rio Grande in September 2012.
  • Solano County: Autopsies and Prosecutions

    This was a great experience for me in investigative reporting, it required not only shoe-leather reporting and extensive public records requesting, but it also was an exercise in writing as there were a number of revelations I felt were important that were difficult to line up together in a coherent narrative. In the end, I think it turned out well and further solidified full-time investigative reporting as my future career goal.
  • The Body Shop

    Questionable hiring, misidentified bodies, sexual harassment charges and refusal to provide autopsies to defense attorneys are a few of the many problems facing the Adams County Coroner's office. Jim Hibbard, who heads the office, was elected to his position, but had a history of conflict as a former police officer. He appears to have brought that conflict to the coroner's office in the form of sexual harassment, ruined evidence and regulatory violations.
  • Dead Wrong: What's Really Killing America

    Inaccurate data on what kills people in this country is rampant. There are some cases where cause of death is fraudulently invented, but in most cases autopsies are simple conducted incorrectly to the tune of at least a third of death diagnoses. In many cases, cause of death is never determined and these patterns are exacerbated along disadvantaged socioeconomic lines. Such inaccurate data on deaths is feared to skew research on preventative measures.
  • Shielded From the Truth

    This investigation documented how the Chicago Police Department, civilian investigators and local prosecutors routinely clear officers in shootings before all the witnesses are interviewed, autopsies conducted or basic evidence, including fingerprints and ballistics, analyzed. Over the last decade, not a single on-duty police officer has been charged with shooting a civilian.
  • Taking the Cuffs off at Carswell

    Fort Worth Weekly reporter Betty Brink has been covering medical and sexual abuse of female inmates at Carswell Federal Medical Center, in Texas, since 1999. As a result of her coverage, and his own investigation, a retired judge, Ross Sears is asking for a Congressional investihgation into the deadly conditions at "the only prison hospital in the country for mentally or chronicallly ill or dying women who have been convicted of a federal crime."
  • Iraqi Prison Abuse

    Reporters went beyond Abu Ghraib to find evidence of widespread prisoner abuse. This series of stories revealed the brutal interrogation tactics the U.S. military was using to torture Iraqi prisoners and, in a few cases, to kill them. The prisoners who did die did not receive autopsies or were classified as dying by natural causes. The investigation further revealed contradictions made by the Pentagon.
  • Evidence of Injustice

    An exclusive i-team investigation shows how inconsistencies, mistakes and staffing problems are raising serious questions at the Maricopa County Medical Examiners Offices. This is a new forensic science center where coroners perform autopsies on people who have died on unnatural causes in this county. Investigators and legal experts rely on the information provided by this office, but the information is not always correct. Interviewees on this tape say that leads to having innocent people on trial for crimes that do not exist. In one case, the Sheriff's office began using an amended autopsy to defend a mysterious jail death. The Chief Medical Examiner changed his opinion about the jail death two years after the original autopsy, without any new information. Some Medical Examiners are doing many more autopsies per year than what is recommended.