Stories

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

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or [email protected] where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "autopsy" ...

  • NJ Advance Media: Death & Dysfunction

    An 18-month NJ Advance Media investigation for The Star-Ledger and NJ.com found serious failures at nearly every level of New Jersey’s patchwork system of medical examiner offices, the obscure agencies charged with one of the most fundamental tasks: figuring out how somebody died and why. The probe revealed families left to grieve without answers or closure, innocent people sent to jail and murders still unsolved.
  • A Question of Homicide

    After two killings slipped past the Jackson County Medical Examiner's office undetected -- one ruled as a suicide, the other as an accidental drug overdose -- The Star investigated the office's protocols to learn what happened and whether the mistakes could have been prevented
  • Who Killed Doc?

    KSTP found that "commanders ignored warnings, botched investigations, and failed to protect service members on their own base - where they should have been the safest. As a result, the Armed Forces Medical Examiner says it has changed the way the remains of service members killed worldwide are tracked, to ensure that families of the fallen are notified of changes to their love one's autopsy or cause of death."
  • 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.
  • The Mysterious Death of Janie Ward

    This hour-long report is a result of a five-year investigation into the death of a 16-year-old girl 20 years ago in a small town in the Ozarks. It's about two daughters -- one wealthy and popular (a cheerleader and beauty queen); the other poor and self-conscious. It's about two fathers -- one a powerful judge who allegedly shielded his daughter from the law he's sworn to uphold; the other a bail bondsman who is trying to avenge his daughter's death. And it's about one family's fight for justice against what they believe is a corrupt judicial system that closed ranks around the powerful judge to cover-up a murder. When 16-year-old Jamie Ward fell off a 9-inch porch in the woods near Marshall, Ark., on September 9, 1989, her parents refused to blieve that the fall had killed their healthy teenager. Instead, they began to suspect to suspect she was murdered by the judge's daughter. After years of demanding an investigation into her death, an independent medical examiner associated with Parents for Murdered Children exhumed Janie's body a second time for an extremely rare third autopsy. Because the case was 20 years old, most of the files were not digital; rather, the investigation focused on old-fashioned reporting: finding and interviewing eyewitnesses (all of whom had not been reinterviewed since the original investigation); analyzing inconsistencies in the witness statements, double-checking the forensics with independent experts.
  • The Final Hours of Miguel Contreras

    Labor leader and Los Angeles power-broker Miguel Contreras was found dead under mysterious circumstances in Los Angeles, the week before the 2005 mayoral election. No autopsy was performed, and doctors were pressured to sign a death certificate. The article outlines political power bases in Los Angeles, and speculates how various issues would have had different results if Contreras had lived.
  • Rebreathe Deep The Gathering Doom

    Using human sources, detective reports, inspection notes and the autopsy report, reporter Ashley Harrell tells the story of the death of divemaster Zak Jones. An experienced diver with a penchant for using a rebreather rather than a standard Aqua-Lung, Jones died off the coast of Florida, spearfishing with some fellow experienced divers at a depth of 200 feet. The story details the possible ways Jones could have perished, with discussion of his diving equipment and other divers' reaction to finding him floating in the water. Yet, the article also notes the possibility that Jones' diving rig may have been tampered with after his death, thus calling into question the facts of an investigation.
  • Hiding Homicides?

    Murder rates in Chicago have been reduced, with the city citing better police tactics. But a WBBM-TV investigation found that that "the department may be reducing its murder rate by hiding homicides by downgrading murders." They uncovered dozens of cases where cause of death was, for instance, indicated as "Non-Criminal death or Death Investigation," though the victim showed clear signs of having been strangled. This included a particular case where the official cause of death was a heart attack, but the pathologist determined that strangulation was the true culprit. The results of the investigation put the police department at odds with the Medical Examiner's office.
  • Taser safety claim questioned; medical examiners connect stun gun to 5 deaths

    This series of stories examines stun-gun safety and how police are using the weapons. Stun-gun manufacturer Taser International has claimed that the shock of the gun is not lethal, but the Republic found the devices to be linked to at least 11 deaths, according to autopsy reports and interviews with medical examiners nationwide. The Republic's investigation also found that Phoenix area police use the weapon mostly against unarmed suspects in petty crimes. The newspaper's investigation prompted inquires by both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Arizona Attorney General's office.
  • 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.