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Possible arsenic poisoning a mystery in coroner official's death

April 30, 2012 |  7:50 am

Michael Cormier

It could takes months to get a final determination on the cause of death for Los Angeles County coroner's official Michael Cormier, who officials said appears to have died from poisoning.

Law enforcement sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing, 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. According to sources, arsenic was one poison being examined as a potential cause but stressed that no final determination has been made.

Ed Winter, deputy chief coroner, said that an autopsy had been performed but that a determination of the cause of death has been deferred pending further tests.

"At this point we haven't ruled out foul play," added Lt. Alan Hamilton of the Los Angeles Police Department.

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.

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


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Photo: Michael Cormier. Credit: KTLA News