Transcript: Controversy on the Autopsy Table

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," March 13, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Now to Florida where Martin Anderson died just hours after this beating at a boot camp, but an autopsy back in January concluded that the 14 year old died from a rare blood disorder not from the beating.

Civil rights groups and the boy's family doubted the finding and a second autopsy was performed just hours ago by forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden who is here. He joins us live from Tampa.

Dr. Baden, first report was it was a rare blood disease. After doing the autopsy tonight is that why this 14-year-old died?

DR. MICHAEL BADEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: No, it isn't but the autopsy was really done by Dr. Vernon Adams and about five excellent forensic pathologists on his staff in my presence in Tampa, the chief medical examiner's office in Tampa.

And, they concluded that the sickle cell trait, which is a condition that about 12 percent of black people have in this country did not have anything to do with his death and that he did not die of natural causes that he died something related to what you saw just now on the film.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which is? I mean to be very blunt about it looks like he's being beaten on the film.

BADEN: Yes, that's being looked at further. He died related to that beating that he got and there's a special prosecution, [Hillsborough County State Attorney] Mark Ober, appointed by the governor's office to look into that and to see what, if anything else, should be done in the investigation. And, he was there. It was a 13-hour autopsy, all day today. He was there. The lawyers for the family were there.

VAN SUSTEREN: Now, this young boy or young man died on January 6th I think.


VAN SUSTEREN: In looking at any of his bones did he have any broken bones? Was his chest compressed? Is there anything you can tell about that?

BADEN: Well on the video one can see obstruction to breathing at some point, various kind of blunt traumas, which are identified at the autopsy and he died — he was about one week from being 15, Greta. He was a champion chess player, a champion basketball player. He was about 5'11", perfect condition, and it was just a tragedy.

After the autopsy was done January 5th, 6th, and then the results weren't released. The cause of death wasn't released until about two or three weeks ago. That's when the family and other groups got very upset because sickle cell trait is not a harmful condition. Two people with sickle cell trait got together then they can have a baby that has sickle cell anemia and that's not good.

VAN SUSTEREN: Dr. Baden, if he had not suffered this beating that we see on the videotape would he be alive today?

BADEN: In my opinion, he would still be alive today if he didn't suffer that altercation and confrontation.

VAN SUSTEREN: We only have 30 seconds left but is there any legitimate excuse for why it said sickle cell anemia trait as the cause of death when the first autopsy was done?

BADEN: Well, because he had sickle cell trait and I think under the microscope it showed that the red cells were sickling under the microscope, but that was because he had been on a ventilator being treated in the hospital. It was not the cause of his death.

It was sort of a postmortem finding and the doctor who did the autopsy, who is a very good forensic pathologist, he was there also concluded I think in error that it was due to sickle cell trait and I think Dr. Adams, who is assisting Mark Ober, the special prosecutor in this, fully states that this is not a death from sickle cell trait.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, we're going to hear a lot about this story from this day on after this second autopsy. Thank you, Dr. Baden.

BADEN: Thank you, Greta.

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