Fw: 3rd Expert Claims Probe of Brown's Death Botched

Lloyd Miller, Research Director (lloyd@a-albionic.com)
Tue, 13 Jan 1998 22:12:06 -0500

-----Original Message-----
From: RuddyUpdate <RuddyUpdate@ruddynews.com>
To: List Suppressed <List Suppressed>
Date: Tuesday, January 13, 1998 4:46 AM
Subject: 3rd Expert Claims Probe of Brown's Death Botched

|3rd Expert Claims Probe of Brown's Death Botched
|By Christopher Ruddy
|January 13, 1998
|Washington - The head of the Armed Forces Institute of
|Pathology's forensic photography unit, like two other
|senior officials before her, has come forward to
|publicly claim that the military improperly handled the
|investigation of the death of Commerce Secretary Ron
|Chief Petty Officer Kathleen Janoski, a 22 year Navy
|veteran, also says she was told missing evidence of a
|possible homicide had been purposely destroyed.
|Janoski, the senior enlisted person at AFIP's
|Rockville, Md., offices, was present when Brown's body
|was examined by military pathologists at Dover Air
|Force Base in Delaware.
|The examination of Brown's remains took place four days
|after an Air Force CT-43 jet carrying him and 34 others
|crashed into a mountainside near Croatia's Dubrovnik
|airport on April 3, 1996.
|Janoski had initially declined to be interviewed but
|changed her mind shortly before a gag order was issued
|to AFIP staff. She came forward, she said, because AFIP
|had failed to properly investigate possible wrongdoing
|by its own officials in the Brown case, and because of
|the way the military treated two AFIP pathologists, Air
|Force Lt. Col. Steve Cogswell and Army Lt. Col. David
|In Tribune-Review articles last month, Cogswell and
|Hause both went public about a small circular hole
|found in the very top of Brown's head. Both
|pathologists contend it looked like a gunshot wound and
|should have prompted an autopsy. No autopsy was
|Janoski said she was disturbed by criticism of the
|lieutenant colonels and suggestions that their actions
|may be politically motivated. She described both
|pathologists as "serious professionals" and
|Partisan politics has nothing to do with the issues at
|hand, she suggested, noting that she has been a
|lifelong and active Democrat, beginning with volunteer
|work for the 1972 presidential campaign of George
|McGovern. She says she voted for Bill Clinton and is
|proud to receive a White House Christmas Card each year
|for having worked as a volunteer at the Clinton White
|After Cogswell's allegations first surfaced in the
|Tribune-Review, AFIP launched an internal investigation
|of Cogswell and others to find out why and how the
|information about Brown's head wound got to the press.
|Janoski said she was stunned that AFIP inquiry focused
|on the actions of Cogswell when she felt the real issue
|was AFIP's handling of Brown's death.
|"The investigation is nothing more than a witch hunt.
|(AFIP) should be investigating what happened to the
|missing head X-rays. No one at AFIP seems to care that
|Brown did not receive an autopsy," Janoski said.
|On Easter Sunday, 1996, the task of examining Brown's
|body fell to Col. William Gormley, the highest ranking
|AFIP officer at Dover that day.
|While Gormley conducted an external examination of
|Brown's body, Janoski was busy photographing and
|documenting his injuries. Brown was still partially
|clad in a his torn trousers. His body was intact, with
|chemical burns to his torso and face and several
|noticeable lacerations on the front, sides and top of
|his head.
|As she continued to shoot photos, she noticed a large
|area of torn skin that left the top of Brown's skull
|She was startled to find another injury. Dead center in
|the top of the head she observed what appeared to her
|to be a gunshot wound: a perfectly circular hole in the
|"Wow, look at the hole in Ron Brown's head. It looks
|like a gunshot wound," Janoski recalls exclaiming.
|Janoski has served as chief of forensic photography for
|2 (1/2) years, and has, by her account, handled
|numerous cases involving either gunshots or plane
|crashes. She received training at the FBI Academy and
|elsewhere in observing, identifying and photographing
|gunshot and other wounds.
|Janoski's comments caused an immediate hubbub in the
|morgue facility, and several pathologists came over to
|view the wound.
|One was Hause, a former Gulf War combat surgeon with
|significant plane accident and gunshot experience.
|Hause examined the hole and said it looked like a .45
|caliber gunshot entry wound.
|Gormley, who has approximately 25 years of experience
|in pathology, has said that he, too, identified the
|wound as a "red flag" and that he consulted with other
|pathologists present, including Hause and Navy Cmdr.
|Edward Kilbane.
|"They agreed it look like an entrance gunshot wound,"
|Gormley recalled in a recent television interview.
|In two interviews with the Tribune-Review, Gormley
|maintained he ruled out the possibility of a gunshot
|because he observed, on closer inspection, that the
|circular hole did not penetrate Brown's skull into the
|brain. He said the brain was not visible, and had a
|bullet struck Brown's head, it would have penetrated
|the skull.
|Soon after the Tribune-Review published a photograph of
|the wound as well as photos of X-rays that showed the
|skull had been penetrated, Gormley changed his story.
|During a television appearance, he admitted that the
|photo and X-ray indeed showed the skull was penetrated
|and brown's brain was visible.
|Gormley noted it had been more than a year and a half
|since the Brown crash, and said he had simply forgotten
|what the wound looked like. In his initial report on
|the examination, Gormley noted the bullet had
|penetrated the skull. He maintained that the hole
|definitely wasn't a gunshot wound because X-rays showed
|no slug or metal fragments in the head, and there was
|no exit wound.
|In a recent press statement, AFIP said extensive
|"forensic tests" disproved a bullet theory. Janoski
|said she was present for the entire examination and she
|did not observe any forensic tests, such those for
|gunpowder residue around the wound.
|In addition to pictures of the corpse itself, Janoski
|took photos of the original head and body X-rays while
|they were pinned to a lightbox.
|After her slide film was developed, Janoski said she
|stored the images, which are typically used by
|pathologists for lectures and are not part of the
|official case file, in her office desk.
|Almost six months later, Janoski said she was prompted
|to review the film after Brown's name surfaced during a
|discussion with Jean Marie Sentell, a naval criminal
|investigator assigned to the AFIP. Sentell had also
|been present when Brown's body was examined.
|Janoski alleges Sentell told her the original X-rays of
|Brown's head had been replaced in the case file.
|Janoski said she remembers that Sentell specifically
|told her "the first head X-ray that showed a 'lead
|snowstorm' was destroyed, and a second X-ray, that was
|less dense, was taken."
|Janoski said she had to ask, "What are you talking
|about?" in reference to Sentell's phrase "lead
|snowstorm." According to Janoski, Sentell explained
|that a lead snowstorm is the description of a pattern
|of metal fragments that appears on an X-ray after a
|bullet has disintegrated inside a body.
|Janoski said Sentell did not say who destroyed the X-
|Sentell did not respond to repeated Tribune-Review
|phone messages seeking comment, even after being
|informed of Janoski's statements. An AFIP spokesman
|said Sentell declined to be interviewed.
|After the conversation with Sentell, Janoski said she
|rummaged through her own desk and found the slide film
|she had taken of the original head X-rays. She gave the
|film to Cogswell to review.
|Cogswell contends the original frontal X-ray of Brown's
|head indeed showed an apparent "lead snowstorm" of
|metal fragments in brown's head. Cogswell has stated
|that the suspicious hole and the X-ray should have
|prompted AFIP to notify the FBI that Brown's death was
|a possible homicide.
|Cogswell, too, has alleged that he heard that the first
|X-rays were destroyed.
|Still curious about the matter, Janoski pulled out
|Brown's official case file and discovered that the file
|contained only 15 X-rays of Brown, none of which were
|of the skull. She found neither of the original X-rays
|that she had photographed on the lightbox.
|Janoski said she became terrified when she realized
|that "I possessed the only physical evidence that
|those X-rays ever existed."
|AFIP director Col. Michael Dickerson has acknowledged
|that all skull X-rays of Brown are missing from the
|case file.
|Gormley has stated that the initial head X-rays did
|show possible fragments that concerned him at the time,
|but that Brown's head was X-rayed again and he
|discovered the pattern of fragments on the initial
|X-ray was actually caused by a defect in the
|reusable film cartridge.
|The new images did not show any fragments in the head,
|but they, like the originals photographed by Janoski,
|have disappeared.
|One of the pathologists involved questions the timing
|of AFIP's explanation.
|"I find it interesting that this explanation about the
|film cartridge defect came after Lt. Col Cogswell made
|his allegations, and not at the time we were at Dover,"
|said Hause.
|Hause, who made these comments to the Tribune-Review
|before a gag order had been placed on AFIP staff, said
|he does not recall ever being told there was problem
|with the X-rays.
|Janoski noted that the photos she took of other Brown
|X-rays on the light box did not show any such pattern.
|Gormley and AFIP have not offered any explanation for
|how the X-rays disappeared. Gormley referred calls to
|AFIP spokesman Chris Kelly, who said that Gormley
|would not grant an additional interview.
|In recent days, Janoski was contacted and asked if she
|stood by her earlier comments. She said she did and
|added that AFIP officials are determined to "turn Lt.
|Col. Cogswell into scapegoat."
|She said AFIP investigators recently presented her with
|a list questions that focused on how the photographic
|images had found their way to the press.
|"I was never advised of my rights, and the tone and
|manner... was threatening and coercive," she said.
|Janoski reiterated to the Tribune-Review that she had
|done nothing improper, and that AFIP should be
|concentrating on why Ron Brown "did not receive a
|proper death investigation."
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