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January   4

How Long Does it Take to do an Autopsy?

A month after the slaying of 58-year-old Glen Ridge grandmother Joan Galligan, there's not a single new development ... just the same reassurances as before that this was an "isolated incident."

But our eyes popped out this morning when we read this sentence in the Star-Ledger's police blotter:

Yesterday, [executive assistant prosecutor Charlotte] Smith said the results of full autopsy and toxicology examinations were not yet in.

Come on, give us a break. We watch TV. Autopsies take, like, five minutes on TV. Maybe what we need is a new medical examiner.

January 4, 2006 in Sheesh! | Permalink


I miss Quincy!

Sometimes these things can take a few weeks. I would rather they take their time and be thorough in their investigation rather than rush through it. Case in point: the journalists who jumped the gun on the coal miner story.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Jan 4, 2006 10:08:04 AM

Pretty amazing. I seriously doubt the murderer will be apprehended and I think assurances by the 'authorities' that there is no danger to to public at large a specious.

Posted by: RadonMan | Jan 4, 2006 10:10:24 AM

Perhaps the Barista should do her science "research" in some other venue besides tv show listings. A three second investment of time at Google and the arcane search phrase "how long does an autopsy take?" yields:

"How long does it take to receive an autopsy report?
Most autopsy reports are completed and ready for release within 2-4 weeks. In certain cases, additional tests may need to be performed which will delay completion of the report for several additional weeks." (especially in *violent criminal* cases another site said, though then the research time investment was pushing a minute)

Now I am sure this will be shrugged-off as nit-picking. And I'll be reminded that this is not real journalism, but can't we even have the slightest feint of research? Does the tv quip exempt responsible journalism? Does it matter? Should we consider this the next time we are scandalized by a "report"?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jan 4, 2006 10:24:32 AM

See how RadonMan's cynicism is deepened by his taking the "report" at face value? Does even "snarky gossip" have some social responsibilities?

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jan 4, 2006 10:38:57 AM

My cynicism was already pretty deep.. I lived on Maolis Ave @ the time of the last township's murder and used to walk both my dogs up and down the street almost every night after work. I don't know why I wasn't out that evening but I'm sure glad I wasn't. That murder was never solved and I don't think this one will be either..

Posted by: RadonMan | Jan 4, 2006 10:44:02 AM

Autopsies for murder cases, especially murders with no suspects, are given top priority and are usually completed in a matter of days. For there to be no results after this long is odd.

This whole case is odd. Seems like there's either more to the story that they won't reveal because it's damaging to someone, or they are really clueless and don't want to let on.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Jan 4, 2006 10:59:19 AM

Or, perhaps releasing the report will tip-off the suspect and they are still gathering evidence to arrest.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jan 4, 2006 11:11:34 AM

The one thing that television does not show is the paperwork that is involved in even the smallest of investigations-the massive amount of statements taken, whether they were transcribed or have to be typed from recordings.

Pieces of internal organs are analyzed-as well as, fingernail clippings, hair, fiber, body swabbing analysis, DNA, fingerprint comparisons, footprint analysis...telephone records-the list goes on. Each category may be given to individual technicians, who have different case loads, based on expertise.

And then there is care naming a potential suspect or person of interest prior to all the facts being put together.

We also live in a highly populated area with a volume of suspicious deaths and a high volume of investigations being brought to one State Lab.

Although I am no expert, just because a case isn't cleared on a judicial level that is not to say there isn't enough evidence to tell the public to not be afraid --just not enough evidence to bring the case to a jury or name a specific actor without endangering the case for future prosecution. They still may then call it an open case and are not able to make public the details.

Posted by: cstarling | Jan 4, 2006 11:15:34 AM

>> We also live in a highly populated area with a volume of suspicious deaths and a high volume of investigations being brought to one State Lab. <<

This brings to mind today's 1010 WINS report that, in contrast to NYC, Jersey's murder rate was up sharply last year. That'll strain the facilities further, of course.

I'm sure there's material for a new state slogan somewhere in these depressing statistics.

Posted by: crank | Jan 4, 2006 12:09:47 PM

I wonder if any detectives from Boulder, Colorado are willing to help out with the investigation.....

Posted by: skeptical | Jan 4, 2006 1:13:41 PM

I am a resident of Glen RIdge, live within three blocks of the murder, and I have to admit that I am a little disturbed by not only the fact there is no new developments but how quiet the Glen Ridge Police have been about the murder, and what they have been doing to try to solve it. It seems to me that from the beginning they have wanted to down play the murder. I understand that in an investigation you want to keep information about the crime under wraps but the police don't even seem to be communicating what efforts they are taking to try to solve it.

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