Second Opinion Services

Second Opinion Services is a program of the National Organization of Parents Of Murdered Children. Inc.

 

 

1 May 2004

 

Ross E Zumwalt, MD

Office of the Medical Investigator

University of New Mexico School of Medicine

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131

 

Re: Kristopher GRAY, 0MW# 4142-95

 

Dear Dr. Zumwalt.

 

The National Organization of Parents Of Murdered Children provides pro bono Second Opinion Ser-vices to individuals who believe that their loved one was murdered; additional information can be found through the web site listed at the bottom of this page.

 

After reviewing the autopsy report, toxicology report, scene photographs and law enforcement reports, I believe that this investigation needs to be re-opened and the findings of all agencies discussed together. I base this on the following:

 

I. The postmortem examination documents a posterior head injury with diffuse subarachnoid hemorrhage, multiple facial injuries, fracture of the right 2nd rib anteriorly, transverse fracture of the sternum, fracture of the left 9th rib anteriorly and the left lst through 7th ribs posteriorly, intimal tearing of the aorta just distal to the left subclavian. laceration of the upper pole of the right kidney (no associated rib fracture) and bilateral pelvic fractures anteriorly.  In addition, there are multiple superficial injuries to the extremities

 

In the opinion, Doctors Irvine and Ward opine that these injuries would require a significant amount of force and rapid deceleration; but then indicate that they are suggestive of a fall from a significant height, perhaps from a pump jack.  My experience with pump jacks in Southern California, as well as the photographs, confirm the fact that the pump jack has no significant height to it.  Despite the fact that the remains show decomposition, the blood alcohol is described as being only O.O29 mg/% in the opinion and O.O37 mg/% in the Toxicology report; so it is unlikely that intoxication was a contributing factor to the death.  The manner of death is listed as accidental

 

            2. The three page investigative report by Special Agent Thomas Kneir has several discrepancies: These include:

    a. page 2, paragraph 3: "While it cannot be proven, the prevailing theory among investigators has Kristopher Gray walking from the fight to the location of the pump jack.  Gray may have gone to the pump jack in an effort to use the equipment to obtain a vantage point from which to look back toward the scene of the fight to ascertain whether his assailants were still at the location (??from a half-mile away??).  Gray would have tried to stand on the security fence which surrounds the pump jack to look back down the road.  This fence is approximately three-and-a-half feet high and was found lying on the ground on its side.  The fence protected the side of the pump jack which struck Gray.  If Gray had climbed up on the fence and the fence fell over, the injuries to Gray would be consistent with his having fallen into the rotating counterweight of the pump jack .

 

       But contrary to this theory are the following findings in the original notes and diagrams.  He fell while walking along the road and his footprints don't go in a straight line; looks like he is staggering. Additionally there is a path of footprints from the south, whereas Kristopher was approaching from the North.  There is oil residue scraped off the south side of the pump base but none is found on Kristopher. There is blood on the fence, which supposedly collapsed before he got injured.  The body is found on the north side of the pump jack as well as some blood spatter; but there is also blood to the southeast of the pump jack - the side away from the body and away from his supposed direction of approach.  There is also blood on the middle foot of the fence on the south side as well as scuffle marks on the ground on the south side.  In addition, someone had turned off the pump jack which is the only reason that the "pumper , who checks the pumps each day, stopped to investigate.

 

     So the scene findings do not match any accidental scenario nor do the injury patterns match the scenario of a pump counterweight striking with enough force to fracture the pelvis and the sternum but only posterior ribs on one side, with the only injury between the sternum and the pelvis being a small kidney laceration with no overlying trauma.

 

    b. page 2, para 5 and page 3. paras 1 & 2: Mr. Kneir has his dates off by a full day so it is no wonder that he finds the time interval an issue.  Although he states the body was found on September 3rd, in fact it was found on September 2nd.  This is confirmed by an evidence receipt for items from the scene, the date of death on the OW reports and death certificate, as well as the date of the autopsy.

 

      So the reality is that Kristopher died the night of the fight, sometime between leaving the fight and the time he was found.

 

Of additional interest is that there were at least four sets of tire tracks found at the scene; two might be attributed to the truck of the pumper and to a crew which had recently worked on the pump.  But that leaves two others.

 

The pelvic fracture aortic tear, and tear in the buttocks area of the decedent's pants are more consistent with pedestrian injuries struck by a pick-up truck than a fall from, or into the pump jack.  The scuffle or drag marks at the scene are more consistent with other people being present than Kristopher being by himself.  The "staggering" footsteps arc more suggestive of someone fleeing or trying to avoid being struck than they are of' a questionable blood alcohol level of 0.03mg/%.

 

I hope that you agree that the injury pattern does not fit any of the theorized scenarios and that this death investigation needs to continue; perhaps a fresh look by new eyes might be able to provide answers so that Kristophet's family can put this matter to rest.

 

I am providing a copy of this Letter to Ms. Marie Gray Lopez, through the POMC headquarters which administers the Second Opinion Services program.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Harry J. Bonnell, M.D