The Observer obtained the letter that former morgue manager Kevin Gerity sent to N.C. Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Deborah Radisch on Sept. 9, 2011, after requesting it under the N.C. public records law:
I am formally requesting a follow up meeting to the conversation we had on July 28, 2011, in regards to the case I worked with Dr Nichols. During our meeting, I informed you of an incident where, on x-ray, I saw a piece of metal in the head of a homicide victim and when I informed Dr Nichols, he told me not to worry about it, he did not find any part of the bullet when he cut the brain. This case was part of a double homicide from Cumberland County B11-2005.
While cleaning up after he left the room I found the whole bullet lying next to his cutting board. I compared the bullet to the x-ray and found it appeared to be the same piece of metal. Another x-ray of the head confirmed that the metal from the first x-ray was no longer there. Another employee was in the room with me when I compared it to the x-ray. I placed the bullet in to a plastic evidence bag and took it right down to Dr Nichols office and told him I found it lying next to his cutting board.
I waited for you to return from vacation to report this incident out of respect for you and this office; and you told me you would follow-up and take appropriate action.
During another homicide case, also from Cumberland County, in which I worked with Dr. Nichols he said he did not need to recover the piece of metal found on x-ray in the victim’s back. This concerned me and led me to review the previous case to ensure the autopsy report had been revised to include that the bullet was recovered.
The autopsy report released to the public states “no bullet was recovered.” This disturbs me because I personally recovered the bullet in this case and personally handed it to Dr. Nichols, yet this is not reflected in the final report.
I feel our office has an obligation to be as thorough as possible in performing autopsies, as well as being as accurate as possible in the reports we release. My name appears these autopsy reports, as the autopsy technician, and I feel that releasing a report that we know is inaccurate, not only puts me in a precarious position personally, but also puts this entire office in jeopardy
As representatives of the State Medical Examiner’s office, I feel strongly we have an obligation to rectify this error by providing accurate information to law enforcement and/or anyone who might be affected by the inaccuracy of this report.
I would like to sit down and discuss this matter with you at your earliest convenience, as I feel it is imperative that corrective action take place as soon as possible.
Kevin Gerity, Morgue Manager