(WSVN) - Butchered bodies and questionable purchases. The allegations against one South Florida Medical Examiner are so serious – he’s losing his job. But before he goes… he’s defending himself to 7’s Brian Entin. It’s our special assignment report, “Body of Evidence.”
This is the Florida Keys. Beautiful, sparkling blue water draws tourists from around the world. But complaints about the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office do not paint a pretty picture.
Mayor George Neugent, Monroe County: “Those issues created an environment we just can’t deal with in the Keys.”
The mayor says problems with the medical examiner, Dr. Thomas Beaver, have been piling up for years.
Dr. Thomas Beaver: “Bodies are laid out, and we dissect them here.”
Dr. Beaver agreed to talk to us about the growing list of allegations, including his decision to transport a woman’s body in the back of his pickup truck.
Dr. Thomas Beaver: “I did do that. One time.”
He says the closest van was three hours away and he was trying to calm the family by removing the body quickly.
He did use a body bag.
Dr. Thomas Beaver: “Put her in the back of the truck. Tied her down. And then drove the truck directly to my office.”
Mayor George Neugent: “It is not something we will condone here.”
In a letter to the State Medical Examiners Commission, the mayor wrote “…local funeral homes have also reported that the Medical Examiner butchers the autopsies on the indigents.”
Dr. Thomas Beaver: “The allegations of butchery are simply absurd and unfounded. In the 10,000 autopsies I’ve done, no one has ever made an accusation like that before.”
Another problem for Dr. Beaver… his relationship with the county sheriff.
The sheriff wrote, Dr. Beaver was “yelling and screaming in fits of rage and anger” when dealing with law enforcement.
And in January when three workers died in a storm drain from toxic fumes, the sheriff said he was so concerned about Dr. Beaver’s behavior, he even considered arresting him.
Dr. Thomas Beaver: “I never yelled at him. That’s absolutely false.”
Brian Entin: “What did you think when you read that the sheriff actually thought about having to arrest you?”
Dr. Thomas Beaver: “It’s absurd, it’s absurd.”
There’s also this audit. It concluded that Dr. Beaver “commingled his personal funds with the office’s operating funds.” Listing purchases like sporting equipment, trips — even ammunition.
Dr. Beaver insists he did nothing wrong.
Dr. Thomas Beaver: “I already earned that money. That is my money. You paid me for a job I did and I’m done with it.”
Earlier this month, a state commission voted not to renew his contract.
He says he’s being unfairly pushed out.
Dr. Thomas Beaver: “I think they will not be able to find anyone nearly as competent and qualified as I am. They got a Ferrari and they treated it like a lawn mower.”
Monroe County will now begin a national search for a new medical examiner. In the interim, Dr. Beaver will remain working here on a month-to-month contract.
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