Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Garrett Wilson

An Autopsy Changed

During August 1996, a letter arrived in the mail from the U.S. Justice Department. Missy had written Attorney General Janet Reno, but had heard nothing and given up. But child abuse was Renos chosen cause and she had not only read the letter but forwarded it for action to the Office for the Victims of Crime, instructing the department to act. The OVC, in turn, assigned her a Victims Crime Advocate by the name of Ingrid Horton. It would be Horton who would help to solve the case.

At first, Horton met Missy several times a week, helping her to create a timeline. She called Wilsons employers looking for clues. And she poured over the documents that detailed the death of Brandi, looking for more evidence that her death was a murder that was identical to Garrett Michaels and not SIDS.

Horton reread the autopsy of Missys infant son. Several times. A line on page four of the document jumped out at her.

Diffuse edema (swelling) of the cerebral hemisphere is noted here, it read. To Ingrid Horton, who had studied anatomy in college, this meant that there had been trauma to the body before death. Most likely, suffocation.

Horton took her finding to the county prosecutors office. A few months later, Horton, Missy, Dominick, and a prosecutor, David Boynton, met with the medical examiner for the state of Maryland. They explained their findings, adding in the insurance purchases. They laid out Wilsons other two crimes, and showed his credit card purchases at the time, which showed a need for money. They also detailed the mysterious death of Brandi, who had been diagnosed as succumbing from SIDS as well.

The state medical examiner reviewed the data and within weeks, changed his opinion to read: Garrett Michael Wilson died of asphyxia due to airway obstruction, probably by smothering. The manner of death is Homicide.

A few months later, the second autopsy was changed. Brandis was more difficult. It was older and police had been present in the home. Nevertheless, the autopsy was changed to read: probable suffocation . . . cause of death undetermined.

An arrest could finally be made.



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