Family of Missing Michigan Girl Wait for Autopsy Results; Pathologist Says Cause of Death Difficult to Determine

The family of missing 5-year-old Nevaeh Buchanan is waiting for the results of an autopsy to determine if the body found by a southeastern Michigan river last week is that of the little girl.

Authorities said Monday the identification hinges on DNA results, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The child's remains were discovered Thursday next to the River Raisin. Clothes found on the body matched those Buchanan was wearing when she was reported missing on May 24.

On Friday, authorities said the body found encased in cement by a fishermen belongs to a child the same size, gender and age of the missing girl and they had "reasonable suspicion" it is her.

A pathologist told the Free Press Monday that determining the cause of death may be difficult, especially if reports saying there were no gunshots, stab wounds or broken bones are true.

"You would have a lot of problems," Werner Spitz told the newspaper. "You would not find evidence of drowning, you would not find bruising, you would not find strangulation."

He said that because of the high temperatures, the decomposition process would've been sped up.

"In this weather, even if she was dry at this time of year, you would find a lot of difficulty in finding evidence of blue-and-black bruising marks, abrasions or skin injuries," Spitz said. "Drowning is a difficult diagnosis to make when the body is fresh, so you can imagine what it would be like now."

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