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 fourth installment, Observer reporters detail how deaths of elderly people in North Carolina often are written off as natural despite suspicious circumstances.