This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," November 2, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Stacy Peterson, wife number 4 of Sergeant Drew Peterson, is missing. She has not been seen since Sunday. And complicating matters for Sergeant Peterson tonight is that his third wife's bathtub death is now being re-investigated. A prosecutor has re-opened the investigation into her death. It was declared an accident at the time. The coroner said she drowned, but did she?
Joining us is forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden. Dr. Baden, we have gotten a copy of the autopsy report from wife number three's family.
DR. MICHAEL BADEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Right.
VAN SUSTEREN: I take it you've looked at it now.
BADEN: I have it right here.
VAN SUSTEREN: And your thoughts on it?
BADEN: It is not an accident. The hair, her head hair, was soaked in blood, as the medical examiner says, and she had a laceration, a blunt force laceration on the top of her head. She had a dozen other black-and- blue bruises and scraping abrasions of the extremities and of the abdomen. It looks as if she — from the description that she was beaten up, apart from drowning. Her heart was good. Her brain was good. There were no drugs in her body on toxicology. There's no reason for her to have drowned. Adults don't drown if they're in good health.
VAN SUSTEREN: Dr. Baden, what would possess a coroner to call it accident? When I looked at it and I saw the hair full of blood, I thought, What's that? But I figured I just — you know, I went to law school and not medical school. What would possess this coroner to say this was an accident?
BADEN: Well, the doctor who did the autopsy, the pathologist who did the autopsy just said drowning. The non-physician coroner, who's elected, determined that it was also an accident. And he just made a mistake. I don't know...
VAN SUSTEREN: How is that a mistake? I mean — I mean, you look at it — I mean — I mean, is it an easy mistake, I should say? I mean, is this a close call, as you look at this?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.
VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, you don't have the body to examine. You're looking at the report. But is this a close call, in your mind?
BADEN: No, it's not a close call. It should not have been called an accident.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, then how — then how can you say it was a mistake, if it's not a close call?
BADEN: Well, because it depends on the qualification of the coroner. Medical examiners have to be physicians. Coroners are often funeral directors.
VAN SUSTEREN: But the doctor who did the autopsy, when he hears that it was — it was in the news that it was an accident, I'm sure. I mean — I mean, what was he thinking of...
VAN SUSTEREN: What was the — the man or woman who did the autopsy thinking when the coroner, who's not a doctor, says this is an accident? Wouldn't you think that someone would speak up, if it's as obvious as you say?
BADEN: Well, three years later, I think that the — an investigation is now being done to answer that very question that you're raising, Greta. And if that question had been looked into three years ago, possibly his wife wouldn't be — have disappeared at this time.
VAN SUSTEREN: It — and I suppose that it would make — it might be helpful — would it be helpful to exhume her, if she wasn't cremated? We only have 15 seconds.
BADEN: It might be — it would be, and under these circumstances, to see further whether there were any fractures or other injuries that were overlooked initially. There's no evidence that they took X-rays, for example. It would be important to exhume the body and do X-rays to see if there are any subtle fractures.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I must admit, if I were the prosecutor, I'd also take a look at the coroner and the medical examiner to see what was what, if it's...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... as obvious as you say, because I'll tell you, you know, it certainly doesn't look good, even as a layperson reading it, and now I hear you say this. Dr. Baden, thank you, sir.
BADEN: Thank you, Greta.
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