Ector County Medical Examiner Shares Her Side, DA Questions Medical Examiners Office's Credibility 2/11/14
CBS 7 News
February 11, 2014
CBS 7 spoke with Ector County Medical Examiner Dr. Anne Acreman who says the death of Talisha Redic's baby was expected due to his extreme prematurity.
Even though the baby tested positive for cocaine when he was born 4 months early, it was not an unexpected death and therefore there was no need for Chief Investigator Shirley Standefer to consult with Acreman about an autopsy.
After seeing last night's story on CBS7 about Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland and how he questions the Medical Examiners Office's credibility, Medical Examiner Dr. Anne Acreman has reached out to CBS 7 to share her side of the story.
Dr. Acreman says that although fair, the story is one sided. We'll have her account tonight at 10.
CBS 7 News
February 10, 2014
An Odessa mother whose new born baby died after testing positive for cocaine was indicted today. Not for murder but, for child endangerment.
According to the Ector County District Attorney, it's a lesser charge because the Medical Examiner's Office failed to order an autopsy creating a lack of evidence.
Now a Grand Jury is recommending that the Commissioner’s Court take immediate action against the Medical Examiner's Office.
The Grand Jury says the Odessa Police Department asked for an autopsy but, Shirley Standefer, the Chief Investigator with the Medical Examiner's Office chose not to order it.
Now D.A. Bobby Bland is speaking out questioning the credibility of the M.E.'s Office.
"As long as they’re allowed to be out there and able to make decisions in this county, I question our ability to seek justice," says Bland.
Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland is angry that investigators with the Medical Examiner's Office failed to present all the information concerning the baby's death to the proper people.
"An autopsy was requested by the Police Department and Shirley Standefer, without consulting Anne Acreman, refused an autopsy,” he says.
Talisha Redic's child was born four months premature and with cocaine in his system.
But without an autopsy, Bland says he can only prosecute for a lesser crime.
"On this child's death, the maximum we could get is 2 years. If we had more information that could've come from an autopsy, we might have been able to charge a 1st degree felony of injury to a child."
Bland says this is not the first issue his office has had with the medical examiner's office.
"It's not just an isolated situation, there is a real question on their accountability to law enforcement and that includes myself."
And in this case, no one has explained why an autopsy was declined.
Bland says when a child dies as a result of criminal activity, they should seek the highest charge but in this case...they have no evidence to connect the drug use to the cause of death.
"And we don’t have the evidence that was lost when that child was cremated."
CBS 7 made several attempts to contact the Medical Examiners Investigators to get their side of the story, but had no luck.
We did talk with Dr. Anne Acreman, the Ector County Medical Examiner, she said the attending physician was content with signing the death certificate saying he felt the baby died from being premature.
The grand jury says that doctor may not have had all the facts in the case when making his decision.