When the elderly die in North Carolina, fewer questions are asked

May 20, 2014 

A medical examiner initially ruled that Virginia Gregg died of natural causes in her home in west Charlotte. It turned out she was strangled. Statewide, medical examiners fail to follow crucial steps, raising questions about the accuracy of thousands of death rulings.

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 Observer’s investigation, which began in 2012. In today’s fourth installment, Observer reporters detail how deaths of elderly people in North Carolina often are written off as natural despite suspicious circumstances.

Read today’s story and see videos, profiles, data and other extras, plus the rest of the series.

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