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Autopsy findings of Ariel Castro still not complete

10:41 PM, Sep 19, 2013   |    comments
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COLUMBUS -- The autopsy file is not yet closed, but Channel 3 News is digging into the records in Ariel Castro's death.

The Franklin County coroner preliminarily determined the cause of death was suicide by hanging.

The coroner's official body release form shows Ariel Castro died Sept. 3. On Sept. 4, his body was released to his son, Ariel Anthony Castro, who signed as A. Anthony Castro.

His body was released to Snyder Rodman Funeral Center in Delaware and OCMS -- the Ohio Cremation and Memorial Society.

Prison guards at the Correctional Reception Center in Orient, Ohio, found Castro hanging in his cell -- Unit 2103 -- on Sept. 3.

That cell is a second-floor segregated room, containing a bunk bed, toilet and a desk. He was last checked on about 30 minutes before the guards found him hanging.

The coroner's investigator noted Castro was not fully suspended, but on bent knees. He used a white bed sheet as a ligature, tying a foot-long section around his neck and several inches around a window hinge.

The guards tore down the ligature and prison medical staff performed CPR before taking Castro to Columbus to the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at 10:46 p.m.

The coroner noted depressions on his wrists, and neck and chin injuries, as well as bite marks to his tongue.

The photos showed a small amount blood on Castro's face, emanating from his mouth. Investigators did not find a suicide note but noted a bible open on the desk to John, Chapter 3, and a handwritten list of the names of Castro's children and grandchildren.

The report said Castro had been visited by his sister and his mother since entering the CRC Aug. 5, 2013.

Dr. Jan Gorniak, the Franklin County coroner, says she's still awaiting medical records, police reports and toxicology results before she'll confirm her findings and sign off on Castro's cause of death.

"Our job is to determine cause and manner of death. But part of that ... we also have to confirm or disprove the circumstances," Gorniak said. "If the circumstances say this is what happened, well, the scene, does that match? And we have to say yay or nay. That's why the investigator goes back and takes their pictures and looks around and brings that information back to, not just myself, but to the pathologist who is doing the autopsy, if it correlates to what we're seeing on the body."

In the case of Ariel Castro, she said the findings did correlate.

"We're not into the business of why ... someone committed suicide ... but by doing an autopsy, we're able to answer anticipated questions down the road," she said.

"The difference between what we do and what law enforcement does, we investigate death," she said. "They investigate a crime, whether a crime has been committed. When my investigator goes to the jail in this case, we're not there to investigate if people did what they were supposed to do, our focus is on Mr. Castro at that point, and the circumstances surrounding his death."


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