WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – Wayne County Medical Examiner Dr. Carl Schmidt is being replaced after an audit revealed a wide range of mistakes and mismanagement at the Wayne County morgue.
Schmidt served Wayne County for more than 28 years. He was replaced after a 65-page review of the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office was released nearly a year after Local 4 began investigating mistakes at the morgue.
Thousands of staff hours were put in by the Michigan Office of the Auditor General as they investigated mistakes and mismanagement at the morgue from Oct. 1, 2019, through April 30, 2022. The audit cites 50 findings and 30 recommendations.
Read: Medical examiner questioned after investigation reveals missing woman’s body sat in Wayne County Morgue for 7 months
Local 4′s Karen Drew began investigating nearly a year ago when she shared the story of a family who found a missing woman’s body had been at the Wayne County morgue for seven months before it was cremated without their knowledge.
That family was not alone. There were several others with similar experiences. The family of a 59-year-old man found dead in Detroit searched for him for 17 months while his body sat in the morgue with identification on him. Another family’s loved one sat in the morgue decomposing for 22 days. That family sued and did receive an apology from Schmidt.
In another case, a woman said her daughter’s body was delivered to the funeral home with maggots in her mouth. She had only been at the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office for around 11 days. Her mother could not have an open casket funeral.
There are other cases where a body was left in the morgue for long periods of time, unidentified, even though the deceased had identification on them. There was also an incident where police were searching for a murder suspect who had been in the morgue for two months. You can read every report we have on the mistakes at the Wayne County morgue by clicking here.
Read: More mistakes in the morgue coverage
Have a case you’d like us to look into? Reach the Local 4 investigative team at 313-962-9348, or email Karen Drew at firstname.lastname@example.org.