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Published: Friday, 5/24/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

2nd autopsy contradicts earlier findings

BY VANESSA McCRAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Findings from a second autopsy on the body of Castalia teenager Jacob Limberios “are not inconsistent” with an initial suicide ruling, Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a deputy coroner with the Lucas County coroner’s office, has ruled.

But her findings contradicted earlier opinions about the direction of the deadly gunshot to the head.

Dr. Beisser performed an autopsy after a forensic pathologist hired by Mr. Limberios’ family said his autopsy revealed the 19-year-old’s death was a homicide.

Sandusky County Coroner John Wukie ruled the March, 2012, shooting death a suicide, noting the teenager may not have known the gun was loaded. The family contested that ruling, and the death is now under investigation.

In a Wednesday letter to Dr. Wukie, who requested the second autopsy, Dr. Beisser stated her “autopsy findings are not inconsistent with the original ruling of suicide.”

She stated the manner of death “is not determined at the autopsy table, but by investigation of the scene and putting together all of the available information concerning the death.”

That investigation is ongoing and tests are still being completed. A decision regarding how to proceed will come after consultation with detectives and coroners, said Dean Henry, a Tiffin attorney who is the special prosecutor and also represents Dr. Wukie in a Limberios family lawsuit challenging the manner of the death.

Dr. Beisser stated she could not “definitively identify gunpowder residue” or determine the range of fire because of post-mortem changes and alterations made during the previous autopsy and by the funeral director.

Mr. Henry said Dr. Beisser’s report contradicted that of the family’s forensic pathologist, Dr. Cyril Wecht of Pittsburgh, in one other significant way. Dr. Beisser’s examination concluded the shot was fired from right to left. Dr. Wecht determined the entrance wound is on the left side and the exit wound on the right side.

“That’s pretty huge because it directly contradicts Dr. Wecht’s,” said Mr. Henry.

Limberios family attorney Daniel McGookey said the discrepancy is a stunner.

“It seems to be such a disparity and such a basic difference of opinion,” he said. “It’s no less than shocking. After 14 months, we‘ve got someone who comes forward and says Jake was shot from the right side, where everyone says that he was shot from the left side.”

Mr. McGookey referenced a Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office report that indicated emergency responders advised the entry was on the left side of the head. He plans to review other records for information about the shot direction.

Witnesses told police Mr. Limberios was handling the gun when it discharged. The teenager was right-handed, Mr. McGookey said.

Dr. Beisser did not examine some tissue removed by Dr. Wecht, which she stated did “not allow for optimum examination of the wounds.”

The family opposed the second autopsy and exhumation, and has alleged local authorities made mistakes in the investigation.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065.



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