Three minutes with Cyrill H. Wecht on Tyra McClary

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Crime,Stephen Janis
Cyrill H. Wecht, one of the nations leading and controversial forensic scientists, offered his insight into the undetermined deaths in Baltimore. Wecht conducted the Anna-Nicole Smith’s autopsy, and provided expert testimony in the assassinations of both John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy. He was highly critical of the Warren Commission and outspoken critic of the single-bullet theory.

In a phone interview, he discussed the death of Tyra McClary. The state coroner ruled the 36-year-old woman’s death in 2006 as undetermined, but her family believes she was a victim of foul play.

What does it mean when a coroner rules the death “underdetermined?”
Undetermined means that they’re not sure. It means that you need more information before you can reach a conclusion either from police or further investigation.  It is used when you don’t have all the facts and you don’t exactly know what happened so you leave the manner of death undetermined instead of homicide, accident, natural causes or accidental.


Tyra McClary’s suffered adrenal and thyroid hemorrhage, before she died in 2006. What does that mean?
Adrenal hemorrhage can be the result of someone suffering prolonged stress, meaning an hour of stress, not minutes.  Being left out in the cold for example, or being in an extremely stressful situation for a very long period of time.  Very rarely it is sometimes caused by blunt force trauma to the stomach.

Thyroid hemorrhage can indicate manual strangulation, being strangled with the hands, not ligature, meaning a rope. It can also be the result of blunt force trauma to the neck.

Based on what you know in Tyra McClary’s case, is the ruling correct?
Because the body was decomposed it makes it more difficult to determine if there were injuries, for example damage to soft tissue. Also, decomposition and discoloration can obfuscate injuries making it even more difficult to determine what happened.  In a case like this when you need more information it’s the right thing to do.
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