Durham woman died from neck wound, doctor testifies

jporter@newsobserver.comMay 2, 2013 

— A doctor took the witness stand Thursday to testify about a 2005 autopsy he performed on the body of a Durham woman whose husband is charged in her stabbing death.

“Janet Abaroa died as a result of a stab wound to the neck,” Dr. Thomas Clark, a former deputy chief medical examiner in North Carolina, told the jury.

Raven Abaroa, 33, is charged with first-degree murder in his wife’s death in the couple’s home on Ferrand Drive in April 2005. He says he is innocent and that he found his wife’s body after he returned home from a soccer game.

Clark, who has performed more than 3,000 autopsies, said the stab wound cut the right artery under Janet Abaroa’s collarbone.

About two liters of blood had accumulated in Janet Abaroa’s right chest cavity.

“The large artery takes blood across the chest to the arms,” Clark said. “There was blood inside the right chest cavity where the right lung sits. If the lung is injured, blood accumulates where the lung tissue used to be, causing the lung to collapse.”

Clark said that for a woman of Janet Abaroa’s height and weight, about six liters of blood total would normally be present in the body.

In his testimony, Clark said blood loss from Janet Abaroa’s neck wound would have been rapid.

“Unconsciousness would have occurred within minutes and death would have followed quickly,” he said.

Porter: 919-593-7884

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