Medical examiners in North Carolina often fail to follow crucial investigative steps, raising questions about thousands of death rulings, a Charlotte Observer investigation has found.
The living face the consequences of those failures. Widows can be cheated out of insurance money. Families may never learn why their loved ones died. Killers can go free.
Fatally Flawed is a five-part series on the Observers investigation, which began in 2012. In todays third installment, Observer reporters detail how the county where someone dies can determine the course of the investigation, and how that can damage families and impair public health.