Misdeeds at the Morgue



There was a time when misdeeds at the morgue were considered something out of a Frankenstein movie, designed to be seen only on Halloween night.  However, nothing could be further from the truth, misdeeds are occurring everyday “in the shadows,” kept from public view.  How are they accomplished?   They are accomplished “under the guise of academic or educational pursuits”, shrouded in bureaucracy. [Note:  It’s funny about the double meaning of words… A “shroud” is also a cloth used to wrap a body for burial; a winding sheet.]  

According to information from the State of Connecticut’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, when performing  an actual internal and external autopsy, a medical examiner collects less than one pound of human tissue for later examination . They can also legally retain an organ such as the brain, or heart for up to five years, after which it is destroyed in a “special crematorium.”

Here’s but a few examples of misdeeds I can point to in my own backyard:

A) The Connecticut General Assembly was asked to legislate common sense and compassion concerning the event of a grieving mother and her son’s death four years earlier in 1995.  It did not do so. 

Employees at the chief medical examiner’s office in Farmington incorrectly denied that the body of Lorraine Wilmot’s son, Jason, had been transported to their office. They further prevented her from viewing the body prior to an autopsy except through closed-circuit television. When she requested that she give her son one last kiss, reportedly, an employee laughed at her!  

The episode so hurt Ms. Wilmot that she has become the driving force behind a bill that would require the medical examiner to publish and distribute a brochure outlining the rights of a deceased’s family. These fundamental rights include viewing the body and being told why an autopsy is required and when the victim’s family can have custody of the body.

Chief Medical Examiner at the time, Dr. H. Wayne Carver fought vigorously against passage of the bill. His reasons for opposing the bill are chilling! In testimony before the legislature’s Judiciary Committee, Dr. Carver essentially said, “it’s not his job to comfort people who come to his office to view loved ones who have met a violent death. Hospitals and funeral homes are better prepared than the morgue to meet the emotional needs of bereaved relatives.” 

How very cold and lacking in compassion! [ Note: The website for the State Medical Examiner’s office has general information for families and defers “the emotional part” to other agencies.  Even in 2014, no victim’s rights are listed! Perhaps it will occur in the future, as Dr. Carver is now retired.] 

B) In 1986, Dr. Catherine Galvin, 39, was fired as Connecticut’s Chief Medical Examiner for allowing her dogs in the autopsy room while she was performing her job and…for administrative mismanagement. 

C) In April 2013, after one of the most horrific mass killings in recent history, the Newton- Sandy Hook, CT school shootings, a Connecticut medical examiner’s office employee was fired for allowing her husband to view the body of perpetrator, Adam Lanza!  

D)  Finally the Pièce de résistance” was the Chandra Turner Reform Act of Oklahoma.  This act permits families to have the opportunity to appeal their loved ones’ death certificates. Numerous Oklahoma cases occurred in which the Medical Examiner rubber stamped death certificates as suicides, many without autopsies or proper testing. Some of their actions were politically corrupt, contaminated and included manufactured crime scenes in the majority of cases.   Dennis Griffin and Susan Murphy-Milano discuss the Chanda Turner case on Crime Wire Investigates with the family and attorney, Jaye Mendros.

The above examples serve as a backdrop for the fascinating true account of Dennis N. Griffin’s 1996 novel; “The Morgue.”   

Dennis N. Griffin
Dennis N. Griffin

Former government and private investigator, Denny Griffin had retired from his official duties and was searching for something intriguing to do.  At first glance, investigating some minor wrongdoings at the morgue was “dull stuff” as he delved into the underpinnings of the operation with essentially nothing to go on. What he discovered was incredible, perverse, ugly, and certainly NOT for the faint of heart!

In this interesting episode of Shattered Lives Radio, Denny initially discusses his rise as an author and then provides us with an intimate view of the seamy side of the misdeeds of a morgue in upstate New York. 

Listen to Shattered Lives Radio

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  • An invitation to be a radio host on Inside Lenz Network; contact ImaginePublicity if interested in becoming a part of Inside Lenz Network
  • Introduction to our guest, Dennis N. Griffin
  • The path to authorship beginning  at “The Beeches”
  • Denny’s “Policing Las Vegas”
  • The Feds… and the “hidden ownership” of the casinos in the 1960’s and 1970’s in Las Vegas
  • Denny’s advice as an author and…What not to do
  • Coroners versus medical examiners 
  • A personal connection to a case that nobody wanted-illegal harvesting of tissue and more…
  • In the process of losing a daughter…Could it be? 
  • The case breaks open – Unauthorized harvesting of tissues and “the bodies” – “cremation” by next of kin  
  • Discussion of falsifying records and illegal use of skeletal remains recovery courses 
  • New York Body Stealing Statute 
  • Legal Body Donation 
  • The “Cat Woman” 
  • Delilah on the prolific nature of body stealing and when/how will it stop? 
  • The story of the farms and a sexual predator 
  • Discoveries…
  • Sex in the Medical examiner’s office  
  • Discussion of the charges: Misdemeanors versus felonies 
  • Compromise on charges and the fate of 20 or 30 murders
  • The book:  Fiction versus non-fiction 
  • “Acting under orders” 
  • An incredible postscript…
  • Remembering the Oklahoma Medical Examiner and incompetent law enforcement investigations 
  • Crime Wire  Oklahoma Cases
  • Denny’s Contact Info: A New website: http://www.dennisngriffin.biz/



Questions from the “Book Nook” & “Viewing Room”

  • How did Denny get the writing bug…and was his journey typical?
  • What did Denny discover when researching the history of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police department?
  • What was Denny’s history featuring his first mob figure in “Sin City?”
  • What are the most important considerations in publishing your book? 
  • What was informed consent in New York in the Medical Examiner’s Office?
  • What occurred in the cremation process when tracking three or four years of activity? 
  • Why was the medical examiner illegally harvesting human tissue and bodies? 
  • What happened concerning the “Cat Woman” body?
  • Where did “the courses” take place?
  • What did the science teacher do?
  • What was the outcome of the charges on the medical examiner?
  • What was Denny’s opinion on a real sentence? 


Disclaimer: The comments expressed on this website or on the broadcasts of Shattered Lives do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of the hosts, producers, or other guests.

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