A Georgia medical examiner was forced to resign after a funeral home discovered she missed some very important information. An elderly man did not die of natural causes but was stabbed to death.
On Saturday, 61-year-old Ray Anthony Neal was found dead in his home after his sister Michelle Smalls checked in on him when he had not answered his phone. According to the Washington Post, Smalls had seen Neal the night before and described him as being drunk. She told him to stay home. When she went to his Lawrenceville, Georgia apartment and discovered him unconscious on his bedroom floor. Smalls said she initially thought he was passed out until she saw the pool of blood around him. Blood was everywhere else in the apartment as well.
Police sealed the scene until the medical examiner could arrive. After Neal’s body was taken to the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner’s Office, investigator Shannon Byers took only 10 minutes to look over the body and determined Neal died of natural causes. According to Smalls, she was told that her brother’s “arteries burst and come through,” but despite Neal’s preexisting conditions, which included being a former abuser of crack cocaine turned alcoholic that suffered from high blood pressure, liver problems and hepatitis c, this ruling did not explain the large amounts of blood.
Neal’s body was soon released to the funeral home when a worker noticed stab wounds on Neal’s neck and contacted his family.
“The gentleman noticed he had a hole,” Smalls said, “and I’m like, are you kidding me? You had one job to do and you failed at that.”
On Monday, the medical examiner’s office did a formal autopsy and found that Neal did not die of natural causes and his death was ruled a homicide. According to the Washington Post, officials said that because the investigator was informed that Neal had medical conditions, she had chosen to “minimize exposure to pathogens that were potentially present at the scene.” As a result, she hadn’t noticed his injuries.
Bynes, who was known for the paranormal investigative work she did in her spare time, resigned.
An investigation has now been launched into Neal’s death and Smalls believed her brother knew his killer.
“There were no signs of forced entry, no broken windows, everything was intact,” Smalls said. “So he knew who did this to him.”
Smalls also said she was skeptical of Bynes’ ruling from the beginning, “That’s a lot. Your body don’t create that much pressure to burst through your skin from the inside.”