Crime

May 21, 2014

North Carolina's system of death investigations needs an overhaul, experts say

North Carolina and Maryland have similar statewide protocols for investigating deaths, but Maryland's system is one of the nation's most respected - while North Carolina's struggles.

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 final installment, Observer reporters look at Maryland’s procedures for clues to how North Carolina could improve its methods.

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

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