From an Autopsy to the Golf Course

By Deborah Peterson Of the Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), May 13, 1994 | Go to article overview

From an Autopsy to the Golf Course


Deborah Peterson Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


FOR PEOPLE who enjoy re-creating murders, interpreting blood spatters and slicing brain hemispheres, what would a really good time be?

We decided no better place existed to find out than St. Louis University Medical School's workshop for death investigators. Offering the latest techniques in forensic pathology, the workshops are the only ones of their kind in the country and are offered here three times a year.

The Post-Dispatch has run stories about the workshop before, on such macabre topics as "Explosion-related Deaths" and "Why, Suicide?" And they've included some fascinating tidbits.

Did you know teeth melt at 900 degrees or that a single bone can determine if a dead person was right- or left-handed?

Anyhow, what we wanted to know this time is what coroners, pathologists, detectives and medical examiners do when the lights are off the blunt-trauma slides and the child-abuse photographs.

What we found is that they go from graphic pictures of cerebral hemorrhages to the golf course, from gory photos of car-crash victims to the nearest bar and from the intoxicating topic of forensic odontology to dinner.

In short, they're Shriners, they're Jaycees, they're Everyman at an out-of-town convention.

What follows are excerpts from down-time spent with some of the death investigators:

Bill Sterne - Pike County, Mo., Coroner.

Being coroner is only one of Sterne's jobs. He also is a paramedic, a firefighter and a life-support teacher. The son of a funeral-home owner, Sterne has never been bothered by the sight - or feel - of a dead body.

"I was playing five little piggies on dead peoples' toes when I was 3 or 4 years old. I knew when I was 6 or 7 that I was going to be a firefighter."

"For fun I do work with my dog a lot," says Sterne, 26, who is teaching his golden retriever to be a cadaver dog. That's a dog specially trained to sniff out dead bodies and track down missing people.

"Working with my dog is relaxing."

Sterne is sporting a big gash on his forehead and another across the bridge of his nose. Asked what happened, he describes a recent Saturday night entertaining with his wife, Melissa, and their son and daughter, Justin and Hillari.

"We were playing spades with our best friends, another couple our age with kids. We had all fixed dinner together, pork jowl, eggs and hash browns, and the kids were in bed. We had the scanner on and heard a call for an ambulance.

"I got in my car and whizzed down the road. I was the first one there after the ambulance and police car."

There, Sterne found his childhood pal, Sammy Meyers, lying in the bottom of a 12-foot deep sewer swimming with raw sewage. Meyers works for the city's water department. He was semi-conscious but was quickly being overcome by methane gas.

"You've got to understand that at that moment the tempo picked up," Sterne says. "I don't know what makes me do what I do, but when I saw him slip under (the sewage), I said, `Oh, no,' and I jumped in the hole."

Steve House, an ambulance driver and another childhood friend, jumped in, too. Together, they struggled to push Meyers out of the hole. When a fire truck arrived, workers tied a rope around Meyers and yanked him out.

Sterne and House were feeling the effects of the methane gas and were losing consciousness fast. They were still in the sewer. When the workers hauled House out, he fell back on top of Sterne, breaking Sterne's glasses and nose, and causing him to crack his head against a steel ring.

After a quick trip to the hospital and a little ointment on the cuts, Sterne was back home.

"Of course everyone was there waiting for me and we finished our card game at 1:30 in the morning."

Fishers, Ind., Crime Investigations Unit

Charlie Kruse is head of the unit. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

From an Autopsy to the Golf Course
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.