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Asst. medical examiner: 2 of 4 suspected escorts found dead in Detroit were asphyxiated

A doctor says two of four suspected escorts found dead in Detroit in 2011 likely died from asphyxiation.

Dr. Francisco Diaz is the first witness Wednesday at a court hearing to determine if James Brown of Sterling Heights will stand trial on four counts of first-degree murder.

Diaz performed autopsies on the bodies of Renisha Landers and Demesha Hunt. He says he found no evidence of trauma but believes they died of asphyxiation, a lack of oxygen to the brain. The bodies were found in the trunk of a car.

Brown is charged in Macomb County, where the deaths are alleged to have occurred. At least three of the four victims promoted themselves as escorts-for-hire on Backpage.com, which carries classified and personal ads.

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