Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Waiting for justice

I said a long time ago while following this story: The mother of Amanda Wienckowski is not going to let her daughter's death be forgotten. The girl might have made some poor choices in her life, but that is no excuse for the way she died. Her body was found upside down in a garbage tote and her death was ruled an accidental drug overdose. The obvious question is how did her body end up there? Thankfully, local businessman/troublemaker Carl Paladino has taken up the cause for justice in this case. Here is a letter from Paladino to the Erie County Health Commissioner. The person who was last seen with Amanda was arrested twice for violently assaulting women (once before and once after Amanda's death.) The letter is a little long but worth reading...

Re: Amanda Wienckowski

Dear Dr. Billittier and Dr. Vertes:

The horror suffered by Amanda and her family demands justice. The autopsy of independent pathologist Dr. Sylvia O. Comparini, M.D. and the events since January 9, 2009 clearly illustrate that two crimes have been committed.

The first was the murder of Amanda, the investigation of which was suspended by BPD Homicide immediately after her death because Dr. Vertes incredibly declared the death "accidental."

The second crime is the arrogant, unjustified and despicable attempt by the Erie County Health Department and the Medical Examiner’s Offices to cover up an obviously incompetent, careless and unprofessional, if not fraudulent, autopsy by Dr. Vertes.
The death certificate was signed by four medical examiners. Someone will tell a Grand Jury why. The City of Buffalo assigned two attorneys to fight the release of any information and in concert with the County Attorney vehemently denied the family's FOIL request for information. Would David Rodriquez, Esq. so obstruct without the instruction of his mayor? Why did our public servants waste taxpayer funds obstructing instead of doing the right thing? These are some of the questions everyone is asking.

By copies of this letter, I request that:

1. The Erie County District Attorney convene a Grand Jury to investigate both the homicide and the subsequent activities of you and your offices.
2. The Hon. Gerald Whalen, JSC. immediately compel you and your offices to recuse yourselves from deliberations on the request to change the cause of death from "accidental" to "homicide." All records and evidence in the matter should be turned over to a competent and objective medical examiner appointed by the court to expeditiously determine whether or not to change the cause of death to "homicide."
3. The New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct investigate your actions in this matter and properly discipline you.
4. The US Attorney investigate the blatant denial of Amanda's civil rights.

After spending months denying Dr. Comparini evidence critical to her work, Dr. Vertes is now seeking "additional information" from Dr. Comparini in what appears to be a further effort to obstruct the homicide investigation and make the cold evidence colder.

Dr. Vertes is seriously conflicted and should not be allowed to rule on the competency of her own autopsy. Dr. Billittier appears to sanction the obstruction of justice and has not shown any disposition to be fair and objective. Both should be fired by the County Executive for gross negligence, if not criminality.

Enclosed is a copy of the Forensic Summary and Dr. Comparini’s cover memorandum. She states ". . .as you know much of what we demanded has still not been produced. Nevertheless, the evidence was more than sufficient--in fact, it was overwhelming--to support my conclusions to a high degree of scientific certainty."

For no apparent reason your offices have attempted to delay, obstruct and frustrate Dr. Comparini's effort. It took almost two years to cajole, pry and grovel a sufficient amount of evidence to get an independent opinion. You fought it all the way. Why?
We do not pay you to deny justice to a challenged family. You are not gods. You are public servants charged with the responsibility to serve all the people and never let what occurred in Amanda's case happen. You failed miserably. Amanda could have been the child of any of us. Would attitudes have been different had she been the child of a BPD Homicide detective?

Over the objection of the County Attorney, who was acting on your behalf, the family was compelled to get a Court order to obtain evidence necessary for the pathologist to professionally execute her forensic autopsy. You obstructed the Court order to furnish specific slides. Body parts and the presence of foreign DNA were "withheld."

You demanded restrictions on the pathologist creating an "extraordinary inconvenience" on her to complete her work.

One would think that public servants, upon discovery of the frozen, naked body of a 20- year-old female upside-down in a garbage tote, would go the extra mile to determine with absolute certainty the cause of death. You violated Pathology 101 by announcing the cause of death before the body even thawed. Was it all about covering up a botched and incompetent autopsy?

Amanda's case is not the first instance of irrational conclusions by the Medical Examiner’s office. The Girard, Aszkler and Kirshner autopsies all bordered on the absurd. Aszkler had two stab and ten puncture wounds, two of which were defined as deadly and nevertheless the Medical Examiner declared the death to be suicide. How does one stab and puncture himself twelve times?

Shame on you Dr. Billittier for protecting incompetence or criminality.

Very truly yours,

Carl P. Paladino


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