MACOMB COUNTY, Mich. --
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
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
Spitz told commissioners Wednesday that he now thinks
the equipment inside the state-of-the art, $2.4 million morgue is
"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.
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
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.
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
“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.
Body of Missing Banker Found
Widlak was the chief executive of Mount Clemens-based Community Central Bank.
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