DSS-involved child death, no autopsy performed - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

DSS-involved child death, no autopsy performed

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When two-month-old Zachery Jones died in 2008, the state Child Fatality Review said no autopsy was done, and information on his death was limited.

The report went on to say Zachery's caseworker in Catawba had twice the number of cases allowed, and communication between the caseworker and his family was poor.

Zachery is one of dozens of DSS-involved children whose case was researched by WBTV. We found repeated problems of shoddy paperwork, missed social worker visits, and poor assessments. To see the full report, click here.

We found more issues even after the children died, based on an investigation in the medical examiner system statewide by our colleagues at The Charlotte Observer.

The Observer reports autopsies are performed in roughly 40-percent of cases. In one of out nine cases, the medical examiner fails to view the body, as required by law. To read the investigation, click here.

WBTV cross-referenced the cases of DSS-involved children who died with the Observer's medical examiner database.

We found many cases where the medical examiner failed to view the child's body. Zachery's case was the only one uncovered in our research where an autopsy of a DSS-involved child was not performed.

The Observer also reported former medical examiner Kathy Rogers was dismissed by the state after failing to properly investigate cases, including homicides. WBTV found Rogers was named as the medical examiner in two cases where DSS-involved children in Rowan County died.

In both cases, the Observer database says the bodies were not viewed by the medical examiner.

Within the WBTV viewing area, there were only a few cases where the medical examiner was listed as attending the scene where a DSS-invovled child died.

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