The Autopsy That Led to Drew Peterson's Arrest
This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 8, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: On April 17, 2008, Drew Peterson went "On the Record" about the wife he is now accused of murdering, and he had some words about Dr. Michael Baden, who did an autopsy on Savio's exhumed body and declared her death a homicide.
VAN SUSTEREN: Drew, did you read the coroner's jury's report when they had the first round after Kathleen Savio died?
PETERSON: No, I was just advised of certain things, that it was an accidental death and it was a drowning. That's basically all we were told and that's all the information that I had.
VAN SUSTEREN: Were you ever suspicious it was anything more than just a drowning?
PETERSON: No, not at that time, none whatsoever.
VAN SUSTEREN: OK, you say "not at that time." Did something change that you became suspicious that it wasn't an accidental drowning?
PETERSON: Well, this is new information that Dr. Baden is coming out with has got me a little concerned that there was something different. But I'm more relying on the first fresh autopsy than I would be the second one that's several years later. So until we get to look at all the evidence and examine these coroner's reports, you know, I'm still of the belief that she died accidentally in the bathtub.
VAN SUSTEREN: Dr. Michael Baden joins us.
DR. MICHAEL BADEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Hi.
VAN SUSTEREN: Dr. Baden, upon examining the remains of Kathleen Savio, what was it that led to your conclusion that this was not an accident but a homicide?
BADEN: Well, examining the remains confirmed that she had died of drowning, as the first autopsy said. But it also confirmed that she'd been beaten up. She had bruises, black and blue marks, on both sides of the body, right side, left side, chest, abdomen, thighs. She had a laceration on the top of the head. That couldn't happen in an accidental fall. So I think that clearly would have -- should have made it a homicide three-and- a-half years earlier, when the death had occurred.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any way to determine whether those bruises, though, were at a time concurrent to the drowning, that they had not occurred -- had occurred at, you know, a much earlier date?
BADEN: Yes, from the color, appearance, and from the microscopic evaluation, it was clear that these were fresh bruisings that happened around the time of death.
VAN SUSTEREN: Are those bruisings, the black -- the back and side, both sides, the chest -- were those present in the written report from autopsy number one that you did not perform but that was the first one done three years ago, or four years ago?
BADEN: Yes, Greta. In fact, when you looked at it, before we did the re-autopsy -- before I did the re-autopsy, you were concerned because there was a laceration, a bleeding laceration on the head, as well as black and blue marks on both sides of the body. We found a few more black and blue marks three-and-a-half years later. But there were enough initially to indicate that this could not have happened in an accidental fall. And the autopsy showed she was healthy. She didn't use drugs. And that normal, healthy people just don't die in bathtubs at home.
VAN SUSTEREN: Was there anything -- were her hands in enough of a good enough condition so you could see whether there'd been a struggle?
BADEN: No. At the time of the autopsy, the trunk and the abdomen were in good conditions. The hands had decomposed considerably over the three-and-a-half years. But at the initial examination, the hands were described and there was some bruising on some of the fingers.
VAN SUSTEREN: Dr. Baden, thank you, sir.
BADEN: Thank you, Greta.
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