Authorities Missed Injuries During Gatti Autopsy

By Jessica Murphy
|  Saturday, Aug 1, 2009  |  Updated 10:15 PM EDT
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2009 in Memoriam

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Champion lightweight boxer Arturo Gatti was found dead at a Brazilian seaside resort on July 11.

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MONTREAL — Brazilian authorities who conducted the initial autopsy of Arturo Gatti overlooked certain injuries, a celebrity pathologist hired by the ex-boxing champ's family said Saturday after a second forensic examination.

"The Brazilian autopsy was not a complete autopsy," Dr. Michael Baden told reporters gathered outside the coroner's office in Montreal.

"There were a lot of additional findings that were not found by the Brazilian pathologists. It has to await further investigation."

Baden, who assisted the autopsy at the family's request, said the Montreal medical examiners will perform further toxicology tests in Canada and are also awaiting more information on the scene of death from investigators in Brazil.

"There were definite injuries that had not been seen by Brazilian authorities," he said.

"But one needs all of the information including the toxicology, which is not available yet, to be able to come to the conclusion as to whether it's homicide or suicide."

Brazilian authorities said earlier this week that Gatti had committed suicide at a resort in the northeastern part of the country on July 11.

Gatti's 23-year-old Brazilian wife, Amanda Rodrigues, held since July 12 on suspicion of murder, was released Friday.

Baden, a U.S. pathologist, is no stranger to high-profile cases. He's the host of the HBO cable TV show "Autopsy," a popular documentary series investigating mysterious and controversial deaths.

Baden has also testified for the defence or prosecution in a number of celebrity cases, including the criminal trials of O.J. Simpson and Phil Spector. He recently performed the second autopsy on the late Hollywood actor David Carradine.

Brazilian police released more details about Gatti's death Friday, saying the boxer hanged himself with a bag strap that he tied around a wooden staircase column more than two metres off the ground, looping it around his neck before stepping off a stool.

That conclusion was rejected by Gatti's friends and family, who asked a Quebec coroner to exhume the body, which was buried July 20 in Montreal.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said the government also formally asked Brazilian authorities for more information on the investigation into Gatti's death.

Gatti, a Montreal native who held two world titles in his 16-year pro career, retired in 2007 with a record of 40-9.

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