Human skull at Medical Examiner’s office might be soon identified: Sneed
By Michael Sneed October 18, 2013 10:00PM
Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cina (pictured in March 2013) | Sun-Times file photo
Updated: November 21, 2013 6:51AM
The bone room. . .
It’s a mystery, it’s a man, it’s a murder victim.
The unidentified, untagged human skull lost for three years in a coroner’s cooler at the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office until its discovery Thursday — may be identified this week. A missing member of a family may be coming home.
Sneed has learned the skull may be matched with a murder case from June, 2010.
A “preliminary radiographic comparison matched the skull,” said Dr. Stephen Cina, the agency’s chief, who has been transforming a medical examiner’s office branded the “House of Horrors” in 2012. “A forensic radiologist will confirm the match next week.”
Sneed is also told a forensic file indicates the skull, which was discovered by a medical technician, belongs to a man of African-American descent who is approximately 35-55 years old.
His head was uncovered at a demolition site on South Aberdeen Street on June 8, 2010.
“Based on injuries to the skull, the cause of death was listed as multiple blunt trauma to the head due to an assault; the manner was deemed homicide,” Cina said.
Hired by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to clean house, Cina inherited an agency where body parts in plastic bags were found tossed on a cooler floor; corpse-carrying forklifts driven by untrained workers crashed into shelves holding the dead; autopsy instruments smeared with bodily fluids were strewn haphazardly; dead bodies were stacked unceremoniously in coolers.
Then there was unrelenting stench and the potential breeding ground for a communicable disease nightmare.
It is an agency where all Cook County autopsies are conducted; the bodies of indigent vets are housed; and where the poor and slain once stayed longer than needed.
Cina tells Sneed: “As reuniting the deceased with their loved ones is one of our highest priorities, inventory of isolated bones is part of our effort to enter all unidentified remains into the appropriate databases.
“But a report of DNA analysis was not in the file on the untagged skull,” he said. “The case will now be entered into the national databases.
“We don’t want a bone without a body winding up in the middle of nowhere,” he added. “We have been able to identify 18 remains in a secondary cooler by getting them into DNA registry so cold cases could be solved,” he said.
“It was during this process we discovered the untagged skull.”
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