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Macomb County ME Plans Changes

Daniel Spitz Appears Before Macomb Co. Board Of Commissioners

POSTED: Wednesday, November 10, 2010
UPDATED: 7:47 pm EST November 10, 2010
Macomb County Medical Examiner Daniel Spitz said he's making procedural changes after missing a gunshot wound during the autopsy of a banker found dead after being missing for a month.

Spitz on Wednesday appeared before the county's board of commissioners about his handling of the autopsy of David Widlak. He said changes include the taking of additional images with radiographic equipment.

Watch: Macomb ME Under Fire Over Missed Autopsy Finding

"Things are going to be done differently in regards to certain dissections, as well as the use of the radiographic equipment that is available to me," said Spitz.

Spitz came under fire after a second autopsy conducted by Oakland County's medical examiner on Widlak, whose body was found in Lake St. Clair, revealed that he was shot in the head.

Spitz performed the initial autopsy on Widlak and had said his death was inconclusive. He had said there was no blunt force trauma, gunshot or knife wounds to the 62-year-old’s body. Spitz said it appeared Widlak had died from drowning.

Spitz has said he missed a gunshot wound in Widlak's autopsy because the county lacked sophisticated equipment, but Wednesday he backtracked on the earlier statement.

Spitz told commissioners Wednesday that he now thinks the equipment inside the state-of-the art, $2.4 million morgue is adequate.

"The (equipment) tools certainly were used (in the Widlak case)," said Spitz. "I do think they can be used in a better way."

When the morgue opened three years ago, Spitz gave Local 4 a tour to explain some of the new equipment.

"We have a special autopsy room which houses our digital X-ray equipment and it has another autopsy that houses two other autopsy stations if we needed it too. That's our special dissection room for decomposed bodies of infectious body cases," he said.

Last month, during a news conference after the results of the second autopsy were revealed, Spitz said the Oakland County Medical Examiner’s Office had a different piece of high-tech equipment that his office did not have, which led to the inconspicuous discovery.

Watch: RAW: Press Conference On 2nd Autopsy Findings
Watch: Autopsy Reveals Gunshot Wound On Banker's Body
Watch: Gun Discovered Near Widlak Body Scene

“As you know, the body was severely decomposed, which severely limits evaluation of the skin,” he said. “With the fluoroscopy, these bullet fragments prompted further dissection.”

Spitz said the wound was found at the base of Widlak’s skull, is about 1 centimeter in diameter and is partially covered by hair.

“I’m not trying to say that it’s not my responsibility because I don’t have this equipment; I’m not trying to go there at all,” Spitz said.

Watch: Medical Examiner Under Fire After Missed Wound On Banker's Body

Spitz said at the meeting Wednesday that he never said his equipment was insufficient and that his words were twisted by the media.

Pathologists said the discovery had nothing to do with equipment.

During the meeting, there was some talk of removing Spitz as the chief Medical Examiner for Macomb, but that was shut down. Commissioners said that issue would have to be brought up during a separate meeting; they just wanted to focus on the argument at hand.

Toxicology reports on Widlak are still pending and a ruling on whether his death was homicide or suicide has yet to be determined.

Macomb County Sheriff Mark Hackel said after the new autopsy results were released, a dive team was immediately sent out to re-examine the area where Widlak’s body was found.

“Within a half-hour of the divers being out there, within close proximity to the body, they did find a weapon,” he said. “The weapon was a .38-caliber revolver that apparently belonged to Widlak.”

Widlak's body was found in Lake St. Clair on Oct. 17. He had been missing for a month.

IMAGES Body of Missing Banker Found

Widlak was the chief executive of Mount Clemens-based Community Central Bank.

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  • timtaper 2 days ago
    The only good change would be having him fired for incompedence.How many more cases have been misread by him and called natural causes?
  • wwwInfoWarsdotcom 2 days ago
    Despite a claim by the Transport Security Administration that its employees are not sexually assaulting passengers, a flight attendants union with 2,000 members has voiced its outrage over “invasive pat-downs” recently implemented by the TSA.

    “We’re getting calls daily about peoples’ experiences, our members are concerned,” Deborah Volpe, Vice President of the Association of Flight Attendants Local 66, told ABC 15 in Phoenix, Arizona. Volpe said the union is offering advice to its flight attendants.

    ABC 15 reports that union email informs flight attendants if they opt out of using the body scanner through security and are required to undergo a pat-down to ask the pat-down be conducted in a private area with a witness. “We don’t want them in uniform going through this enhanced screening where their private areas are being touched in public,” said Volpe. “They actually make contact with the genital area.”

    In addition to voicing their concern with the union, some flight attendants have contacted the ACLU.

    The outrage of flight attendants follows that of commercial pilots who have protested both naked body scanners and intrusive pat-downs. “Pilots are piping mad over the options, saying the full-body scanners emit dangerous levels of radiation and that the alternative public patdown is disgraceful for a pilot in uniform. Some pilots have said they felt so violated after a patdown, they were unfit to fly,” reports ABC News.

    Captain Dave Bates, the head of Allied Pilots Association, wrote an email to pilots suggesting they forgo naked body scanners and the humiliation of a public patdown. “In my view, it is unacceptable to submit to one in public while wearing the uniform of a professional airline pilot,” Bates said.

    On Monday, the head of the US Airways Pilots Association, Captain Mike Cleary, said the new procedures have both the public and pilots up in arms. “These changes are far reaching, intrusive and have been implemented almost overnight, leaving little time for groups who are adversely affected to form a response,” said Cleary.

    He told ABC News about the experience of one U.S. Airways pilot who was so traumatized by a patdown, he is now unable to function as a crewmember. “The words this pilot used to describe the incident included ‘sexual molestation,’ and in the aftermath of trying to recover, this pilot reported that he had literally vomited in his own driveway while contemplating going back to work and facing the possibility of a similar encounter with the TSA,” Cleary said.

    The procedures are also a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment. “All this is a gross violation of Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights, of course. It’s also demeaning and (intentionally) humiliating to air travelers. In addition, the use of naked body scanners on children violates child porn laws,” writes Mike Adams of Natural News.

  • scoper 2 days ago
    Put a dead man in front of an incomp ME !
  • dividedwefall911 2 days ago
    I'm going to play devils advocate and say the medical examiner may have been paid to cover up the murder of the banker because the killer is a high profile official. But thankfully the family knew better and demanded another autopsy.
  • That is a very good point, his exam results could help someone getting away with murder. And all he has to say is ahhhhh.. making procedural changes
  • bowser20 2 days ago
    Anybody remember his dad from Wayne County Medical Examiner? The apple don't fall far from the tree. My son passed away and had 2 heart attacks and liver problems.....Guess what? Wayne County autopsy said "normal heart" and "normal liver." Unfortunately, I did not have the money to get another autosy. Sad.
  • stopcrimenow 2 days ago
    Talk about opening up a can of worms. Wonder how many cases will be reviewed and how many bodies will be exhumed now due to resonable doubt.
  • criminalsRstupid 3 days ago
    All medical examiners are creepy's a requirement.
  • what about Quincy?!?
  • Quincy was lovable, all the women went to his boat. But did he wash his hands?
  • SonOfaBeech 3 days ago
    bring in doctor G...why is this man not fired???...with his track record, he would not recognize the pink slip firing his moronic azz.
  • Mus' be some big crooked political connections there plus his daddy be Werner Spitz.
  • So what exactly do you know about his track record?
  • it matters not what this man has is what he DID NOT do...and this is a mistake on such a level that would cast doubt on so many cases that the full effect of his incompetence is not even measurable.
  • JPollard 3 days ago
    unbelievable......... and he works for the county...... I sure hope thye work a bit closer to this guy, maybe its time to bring in someone new that wont make these mistakes..... sure hope David's family gets the answers they need to final put this to an end.......
  • LochNessMonster 3 days ago
    My jaw dropped when I first heard the news about how this guy effed up the examination. How many more has he botched??
  • stopcrimenow 3 days ago
    How can someone be under "fired".
  • "ME Under Fired Over Botched Autopsy"

    I literally had to read that headline about 5 times because it made my mind twist and contort trying to figure out what it meant. The lack of writing skills on this site have lowered my IQ by about 5 points.
  • telldajuj 3 days ago
    Guy looks like he's on crack as it is--on crack now in crack
  • good point
  • Wow! that what I thought to! working on all those dead bodies, YUK! he does look stone!
  • I thought that if you "botched an autopsy", the person accidentally comes back to life.
  • He didn't botch it. The headline pacifically says he Bothced the autopsy. As we all know Bothced is a very advanced form of Pilates, or it's a virus that turns humans into zombies. I'll have to wikipedia it later to verify.
  • I noticed that too "bothced" lol. They must have changed it. You and Oobay are too much!
  • Yeah, a lot of judges feel that way too. That's why we're legally prohibited from taking our act on the road. Something about "Child labor laws" and "vulgar content." What evs.
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