After two homicide victims were sent to funeral homes as natural deaths within two years, Kansas City Police Chief Jim Corwin called the system for investigating unattended home deaths “broken,” reports the Kansas City Star. “Everyone is deferring to someone else,” he said. “Somebody is going to have to take responsibility so this doesn't happen again.” Last month a 49-year-old man died and was sent to a funeral home as a natural death despite having three bullet holes, including two in his head. In September 2007, a 77-year-old woman was sent to a funeral home as a natural death even though her jaw was broken and her throat slashed. Both times, funeral home workers found the injuries and notified the medical examiner's office.
Police said patrol officers are not experts in determining causes of death, have limited training in such matters and aren't in a position to disrobe, move, and inspect bodies. “Our officers did nothing wrong,” Corwin said. “They followed a broken system that needs to be fixed. I'm not going to let them be thrown under the bus for something that's been going on for years.” Medical examiner’s office officials said their workers have no training in death investigation. “We're trained in determining that a death has occurred, then we remove ourselves,” said spokesman Jason White.