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 first installment, Observer reporters describe how the system is supposed to work, where it goes wrong, and how some people’s lives have been affected.