Body of Florida Boot Camp Teen to
Feb 24, 10:02 PM (ET)
By MELISSA NELSON
Fla. (AP) - The family of a teenager who died at a boot camp for
juvenile delinquents plans to exhume his body for a second autopsy
because they do not believe the official finding that the death was
unrelated to a scuffle with guards.
Martin Lee Anderson's family disputes that he died
from hemorrhaging caused by sickle cell trait, a normally benign
condition, and not from a 30-minute confrontation with guards that was
captured by a camp security camera.
"Saying (Anderson) died of sickle cell trait is
like saying a man who was lynched died because he had a weak neck," said
attorney Benjamin Crump.
Crump said the family and the NAACP have asked that
Dr. Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist who reviewed the medical
evidence in the slaying of civil rights leader Medgar Evars, be involved
in the second autopsy.
Baden did not immediately return calls to his New
Anderson, 14, died early Jan. 6, hours after he
collapsed while running laps and doing other exercises that were part of
his admission to the Bay County Sheriff's Office Boot Camp.
He had entered the camp for violating probation in
a theft case.
The security video shows as many as nine guards
kneeing, hitting and dragging Anderson around the exercise yard. The
sheriff's office has said the guards were trying to get Anderson to
participate after he became uncooperative. No one has been charged or
An autopsy performed by Dr. Charles Siebert, the
medical examiner for Bay County, found Anderson died of hemorrhaging
caused by sickle cell trait, which affects about one in 12 black people.
Siebert said physical stress caused a cascade of
events ending in Anderson's red blood cells changing shape and causing
him to bleed to death internally. The autopsy added that even the
bruises and scrapes on the boy's body were linked to attempts to
Numerous medical experts have called the finding
unlikely, and on Friday, the Sickle Cell Disease Association of America
also questioned it.
The association "states emphatically that the death
of this 14-year-old young man is unrelated to sickle cell trait," said
Dr. Willarda Edwards, president of the Baltimore-based group.
Siebert has defended his findings, saying the
sickle cell determination was backed up by research and that numerous
articles have been written about such cases.
Hillsborough County State Attorney Mark A. Ober was
appointed by the governor to review evidence in the case. His office has
declined to comment, calling it an ongoing investigation.