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Autopsy provides new details on violent death of prison Sgt. Meggan Callahan

A full autopsy report, released Wednesday, provides new details about the attack that killed Sgt. Meggan Callahan inside an Eastern North Carolina prison.

The autopsy appears to confirm what authorities have alleged: that an inmate at Bertie Correctional Institution set a trash can fire on April 26 and then beat Callahan with the fire extinguisher she had brought to put out the flames.

While Callahan was trying to extinguish the fire, “the inmate threw hot/boiling water into her face,” according to the autopsy report.

“She set down the fire extinguisher and he attempted to cut her with a piece of glass,” the autopsy says. “When this didn’t work to injure her, the inmate took the fire extinguisher and began to strike Ms. Callahan about the head. Despite aggressive attempts, she could not be resuscitated.”

The autopsy details extensive injuries to Callahan, including multiple lacerations, thermal burns and “massive basilar skull fractures.”

The cause of death is listed as “traumatic head injuries due to assault with fire extinguisher.”

Inmate Craig Wissink, who is in prison for first-degree murder, was again charged with murder following Callahan’s death.

Wissink has been serving a life sentence for murder since 2004. He and a co-defendant were convicted of shooting John Lawrence Pruey during an attempted robbery in Fayetteville in June 2000.

A state State Bureau of Investigation official previously told the Observer that Wissink “targeted” Callahan. It’s not clear why.

“It was violent and deliberate,” Anthony Jernigan, who heads the office that covers northeastern North Carolina, told the Observer in May.

State prison officials have rejected the Observer’s request for a copy of the surveillance video that captured the attack, saying it contains “sensitive public security information.”

Wissink’s court-appointed lawyer could not be reached Wednesday afternoon.

Ames Alexander: 704-358-5060, @amesalex

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