Authorities in Georgia are investigating after a funeral home reportedly discovered stab wounds on a man who officials deemed to have died from natural causes.
According to WSB-TV, Gwinnett County medical examiner’s investigator has been disciplined for the oversight regarding the death of Ray Neal, 61, who had been stabbed several times. While the officer who responded to Neal’s duplex noted “a large amount of blood” on the bed and under Neal, the medical examiner attributed the blood loss to his various pre-existing conditions, including hepatitis C.
“She was in. She went in all of 10 minutes and said it was natural causes. The funeral home director came to pick him up. When he walked in, he said, ‘This is something totally different than what they said,'” Neal’s sister, Michelle Smalls recalled to the news station.
Smalls told WAGA that there was blood all over the floors, walls, and a shower curtain.
“I knew it more than what was being said, when I walked in and see that amount of blood it’s something else,” she said.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Smalls called police on June 20 after finding Neal dead at his home when he didn’t answer his phone. Funeral home employees who were preparing his body for transport reportedly noticed “suspicious injuries” on Neal’s neck, prompting medical examiners to perform an autopsy Monday and police to deem his death a homicide.
Chief Medical Examiner Eddie Reeves told WAGA that their initial error hasn’t compromised or jeopardized their ongoing homicide investigation.
“Everything we obtained and could obtain, we would have been able to obtain. The examination was not hindered at all by any time frame or anything like that,” Reeves said.
Authorities haven’t identified a suspect in this case. Anyone with information regarding this case should call Gwinnett County detectives at 770-513-5300 or Crime Stoppers at 404-577-8477.
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[Featured image: Ray Neal/WSB-TV video screengrab]