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Poisoning suspected in sudden death of coroner's official

April 27, 2012 |  6:35 pm

 

He spent his life trying to determine how people died. But now his colleagues are searching for answers after he died under mysterious circumstances.

Los Angeles police detectives, with the help of the Los Angeles County coroner's office, are investigating the death of Michael Cormier. Officials said he might have died of poisoning, but they have not provided further information.

Cormier, 61, died last week after being taken to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank from his North Hollywood home. Earlier he had complained of pain and vomiting. 

Hospital staff notified police about concerns surrounding the cause of Cormier's death.

"At this point we haven't ruled out foul play," said Lt. Alan Hamilton of the Los Angeles Police Department. "It is one of the things being considered. We are waiting for the coroner's results." 

Ed Winter, deputy chief coroner, said that Cormier's autopsy has been performed but that a cause of death has been deferred pending further tests. 

Investigators have also interviewed his family and friends. Messages left at the home Friday went unanswered.

Authorities have examined Cormier's Auckland Avenue home for clues to the cause of his death. Sources said several hazardous materials experts and officers searched the small home looking for clues.

The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that finding the presence of poison does not necessarily mean the death was a homicide, because the substance could have accidentally entered his system.

Hamilton cautions that such investigations are standard practice when there is even a suggestion of anything other than natural causes.

It unclear if the death could also be related to his work or hobbies. 

Cormier, who also worked as a coroner's photographer, registered MAC Autopsy Services as a small business at the home. 

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