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Michael Jackson's death: Second autopsy completed at the request of Jackson's family

The Jackson family has hired a private pathologist who completed a second autopsy on the performer's body today, according to sources familiar with the case.

The second autopsy came a day after an initial examination by the L.A. County coroner’s office did not immediately determine a cause of death.  Officials said additional lab tests, including a toxicology screen, were required to uncover why the 50-year-old pop starwent into cardiac arrest in his rented Holmby Hills mansion Thursday.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, who visited the performer’s family Friday, said in a “Good Morning America” interview today that his relatives had a host of questions about the circumstances of his death. He indicated the key area of concern had to do with Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, who was by his side when he stopped breathing.

 "When did the doctor come? What did he do? Did he inject him? If so, with what?" Jackson said. "Was he on the scene twice? Before and then reaction to? Did he use the Demerol? It's a very powerful drug. Was he injected once? Was he injected twice?"

Murray, who hired a Houston attorney, was to meet with Los Angeles Police Department investigators this afternoon at an undisclosed location. Families often opt for a second autopsy because they either distrust officials or because they’d like a second opinion to be assured of the cause of death, former medical examiners said.

One of the immediate benefits of getting a second autopsy is giving the family a chance for answers before the official autopsy results are released by the county, said Michael Baden, chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police and former chief medical examiner for New York City.

In Jackson’s case, a coroner’s official estimated toxicology results could take four to six weeks.

“Certainly, the family can get more information more quickly than waiting for the first autopsy,” Baden said. He said a private pathologist can get results from a private lab in a week or two.

“The second autopsy will give the family a lot more information than they have right away, within a few days,” Baden said.

The second autopsy can also give comfort to family members seeking confidence in a person they’ve hired who will talk to them in greater length or more detail than county authorities might be willing to do,  said Cyril Wecht, a forensic pathologist and former coroner in Allegheny County, Pa. Wecht conducted the second autopsy of Anna Nicole Smith’s son.

Still, there are limitations of a second autopsy. The reason an official autopsy can take four to six weeks to complete is that officials are proceeding with a methodology to provide a chain of evidence that will be admissible in court, “and that takes a little bit of time,” Baden said.

Additionally, several weeks of investigatory time also allows coroner's officials to review medical records, prescriptions and other factors that will help them to best determine the cause of death, Wecht said.

One result of a second autopsy, however, could be that the family releases those results before the official autopsy is released, which could spur confusion if county officials' results are different.

“Strategically, they would be foolish” to release the second autopsy’s results first, Wecht said.

--Andrew Blankstein, Rong-Gong Lin II and Harriet Ryan

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Comments () | Archives (45)

Great choice by the family to get a second opinion.I do miss Micheal i seen him grow up being im the same age 1958.I remember the Jackson five very well in that era was the Osmonds as well.I wont say my prayers aare with the family but i will pray for them as i have since i heard the heart breaking news.

I CANNOT believe Michael Jackson is dead. This is like me losing 5 of my Family members at once! I've lost a man who I considered my boyfirend when I was a little girl and a brother as I grew older...truly Family!

Mrs. Jackson, the life you gave is still very much alive! Thank you!

Michael you have made your "come back!"


why is everyone so upset over this man? He lived a tragic life, and a unique one, but everyone has their own crosses to bear. I feel sorry for him, and don't know if he was good or bad, but c'mon people. He was just a singer, not a saint.

Michael Jackson will be like the Elvis of our generation.

This is a response to the young lady named Nataqshia. People means something to a variety of people for different reason. He meant alot to some many people because he touched alot of our hearts, and if he didn't mean anything to you that's your business, so pleas keep your negative comments to yourself. Because to a wide variety of people from many states, countries around the world he was like family. So that's people are so upset. HE'S FAMILY!

Sad his life came to a tragic end but the whole media coverage and the TV specials that are going to happen the next few days are is just plain annoying.

I have heard so many people ask the fainted question...why? Why so much emotion over Michael Jackson? One person stated that he was a man not a saint. Well I know for me it is a very tragic end to a era that I wanted to share with my children who are now 3. They will never get to see him perform again as we saw with him & James Brown. We never knew when Mike would be at an awards show or pop up some where. We are now aware of how well he perfected his craft. He closed the gap between generations, races, & genders. Now I am not sure about anybody else but there is no other artist out today( or pre_MJ) that can come close to the KING of POP for me. So many people are crushed because the could relate to his music from each decade, My brothers remember him in the 60's and 70's, I got the late 70's and 80's and my nieces got the 90's and we all enjoyed his videos. I remember everytime there was a new video we would make is a family gathering. That is how important he was to us.. He gave of the push to be a family. If you don't feel the way we do then please don't question how we feel or grieve just know it ain't for you and that you time will come to feel what we do. Don't Hate............Support

I feel very sad that I will never get the chance to see him perform live.. IMIchael Jackson music will stay around forever!! I feel so attach to MIchael Jackson, I guess because I have listen to him since the Jackson 5 days.

May the Almightly bless him and his name and I send out my condolence to his family may the Almighty God bring you peace
Love Michael #1 fan

Bush did it.

A precious one from us is gone, a voice we loved is still a place that is vacant in our hearts, which never can be filled. R.I.P Michael Jackson.


A second autopsy and the rent a reverends coming out from under there rocks and visiting means they are looking for a payday from someone they can hold accountable for MJ lifestyle. I wonder if will see the same out cry for Billy Mays?


I really loved his music so much, when I found out he was dead (just an hour or so after his death, because I avoid watching the news because of things like this) I cried for hours! I'm only 22 but my parents loved his music too so we watched his videos and listened to his music all the time throughout my life...He IS the Elvis of our time, no question about it! Because of him I have the impossible (or so it seems) dream to be a singer and preformer. I love to sing. And all those years of beautiful music still helps me dream. I will miss his music so much. And I agree with all of the other fans...if you didn't appriciate him or his music don't make any comments. Death is very hard for everyone and everybody handles it totally different. But remember he has family too and they've heard more than enough of their fair share of people's negative opinions! Just because you read it in a tabloid doesn't make the things they said about him true. So heartless people butt out!

Truly the very person who administered the lethal injection of drugs to Michael should be held responsible for his death; for that person was supposed to be a reliable, knowlegeable, and trusted physician who was well paid for the job he was hired to do in the first place - to care for his health.

I'm heartbroken over Michael's death, every morning since he passed, i wake up wishing it was a bad dream and that he is out there in the wolrd somewhere... But why did he have to leave us so soon? they say a genius only last 100 years so Wat hapenned to the other 50 years? I*'m still hoping it's a bad dream or we would've have killed a star, a saint, a legend, an American icon.
Alive, we wouldn't leave him alone, we wanted to know what did he do , where he was, who did he talk to, what did he have for dinner, what's in his mind ect... We need to stop harrassing our celebrities ,leave them alone. It's too late to say sorry
Rest in peace Michael

rip mj neva meet u but i heard all ur songs. but god be with u we all know that we come and go.

I can't understand why people get so upset when someone dies that they don't personally know. People die every minute of every day. If people would take the money that they have spent on IDOLIZING this man and put it to a better use then it would maybe serve some purpose. All people are created equal in the eyes of God. We all come into this world the same way. Naked and having nothing. When it's all said and done no man is any greater than the next. There is only one shining star in this world and that is Chirst our Lord. People seem to want to make the man a god, but that he is not. Not even a saint. If anything, he was a entertainer, nothing more.

Michael Jackson will surpass Elvis. Elvis was popular in the US; Michael Jackson was popular world wide.
Neverland will become the new Graceland.

Michael was the most talented entertainer of this past century.

This is to Stephanie. Where do you get off telling someone to keep their negative comment, or any other comments for that matter, to themselves? This is a free country and anyone can say what they like whether you like it or not. Get a life, he was a person. Talanted, yes but no more that a person.

its really sad that he is gone....but anybody notice that they are stressing that the doctor was not at fault. however they took his car when they could have taken the medication from his car for evidence, the doctor hired a lawyer and why is it that the doctor had great concern over Micheal Jackson when he was in bed, warm and has a pulse. that should not have cause raise eyebrows to the doctor. something else transpire between michael jackson and the doctor or it just transpired in the doctor's head and i dont give the family wrong for doing a 2nd autopsy bc of suspicions of the doctor. i would have done the same.

I've observed Mr. Michael Jackson for years and was atrue fan of his. The icon of music, and the World's greatest entertainer. He is one to behold when he performed on the stage. All the negative things that the news media are digging up on this man is very ignorant. Look at all the achievements and the things he as contributed to the music industry. To love a icon so very much, and stab him in the back at the same time, where is the love? Surely one can feel the pain of the family everytime they hear the mess that America news media is scandalizing the name of Mr. Michael Jackson. Let GOD be the judge over this icon of our time!

micheal will live on here forever with his music he just went home. rest in peace micheal we will miss you !! hes in gods open arms now

The loss over Michael Jackson has left me so emotional the last couple of days. It has brought alot of bad memories back into my mind. My son was accused of the same things that Michael was. And, just like Michael, my son was found innocent. But, even though he was found innocent, the people who live around here would not let him be, in their eyes he was guilty. He couldnt find a job, or a place to live. A once happy man turned into someone that hid from the world. My son committed suicide because no one would let him be free, even though he was found INNOCENT. I know the pain that Michael must have felt in his heart everyday, I felt it and lived it with my son. And like Michael, my son left behind a beautiful 9 year old son, that loved his father so much. I now raise my grandson. He will never have a father again. My question is why can these accusers get away with destroying someone's life? Like Michael, my son also had a D.A. that was out to make a name for himself, no matter what it cost any one else. Maybe Michael turned to all of those pain killers trying to kill the pain inside of his mind? Maybe he couldnt handle the shame that the accusers had caused him? I blame my son's accusers for his death. The world has lost two great men. My son might not have been famous, but he should still be a part of this world, he was only 26. Maybe, now in heaven, my son and Michael will finally find the peace that they could not find in this world. I know they are both in a much happier, safer world than we all live in.

I think the world has lost the greatest performer ever! We will truly Miss Him. My heart goes out to his children and his family. You will always live within us all. I also believe that the people closest to Micheal enabled him instead of getting him the much needed help. And if drugs were the cause of his death, than that person needs to take responsibility. Rest in peace Micheal.


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