SLO medical examiner tied to another questionable autopsy finding

April 23, 2017

Gary Walter

San Luis Obispo County’s medical examiner is under fire for an autopsy he performed on a man who died in Lemoore police custody. The decedent’s family has since filed a wrongful death claim against the city. [Hanford Sentinel]

On Dec. 31, 2016, police handcuffed and put a spit hood on Donald Hill, 30, after his family called 911 to report he was out of control. During the arrest, Hill vomited in the hood and died.

Walter’s final report listed the cause of Hill’s death as unknown.

On Jan. 25, Walter conducted an autopsy on Andrew Holland, a 36-year-old man who died at the San Luis Obispo County after being strapped in a restraint chair for more than 36 hours. Walter concluded that Holland died from a 5-cenimeter-long blood clot that moved from his leg to his lung after he was released from the restraints.

Walter then ruled Holland’s death as natural.

The state is currently seeking to revoke or suspend Walter’s medical license after he was involved in a hit and run accident on his way to perform an autopsy, according to an accusation filed on April 10. Walter’s blood alcohol concentration was .19.

San Luis Obispo County is under contract to pay Walter $200,000 a year to perform autopsies, generally done one day a week. In addition, Walter performs autopsies for the sheriff-coroners in Tulare and Kings counties.







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5 Comments

  1. DocT says:

    The coroner is Law Enforcement. He works for law enforcement. He is one of them and is expected to be a “team player.”

    Law enforcement officers are nobility. The enjoy general immunity for crimes they commit while enforcing the law, so it should be of no surprise that Walters got off easy on the DUI thingie, same as Sheriff Fellows and plenty of others.

    The job of the coroner is to create verbiage that helps the DA, protects the cops, and shields the county from any exposure to lawsuits.

    Cops of all kinds and their squires do not protect and serve. They aren’t there to help us. They are there to collect fines, seize assets, fill privately owned/publicly funded prisons, and protect themselves from us mundane serfs.

    The fastest growing class of millionaires is law enforcement! Look it up. Being a cop isn’t even dangerous! If you want to mind other people’s business, harass them, physically abuse them, fleece them and leave your mark on their lives…..while enjoying the ability to break almost any law with impunity—-ESPECIALLY IF YOU”RE ON DUTY—-and become rich in the process, then police work is for you!

    Those with consciences and integrity need not apply.

    (3) 9 Total Votes - 6 up - 3 down
  2. paragon says:

    When you conduct an autopsy while wasted, it makes sense that the cause of death will appear unknown to you.

    (11) 13 Total Votes - 12 up - 1 down
  3. TacomaRose says:

    @LOJohnny … You are full of baloney. You are probably aligned with Parkinson or SLO County Admin folks who are trying to deflect blame and save their ass.

    I do agree with your question about paying 200,000 a year to someone who is inept …. but the bigger question here is that this is a potential manslaughter case.

    In this particular case your suggestion that this is not unusual for an autopsy to fail to determine an exact cause of death is complete bull sh*t.

    (14) 22 Total Votes - 18 up - 4 down
  4. SLO_Johnny says:

    You missed the mark on this story Cal Coast News. What should we expect the family’s lawyer to plead in court? Of course, they will attack the autopsy results. THEY ARE AFTER MONEY from the tax payers. Unlike what you see on television, it is not unusual for an autopsy to fail to determine an exact cause of death.

    Walter’s work seems to be below standard is some cases but using this pleading in a civil lawsuit seeking money from the county adds nothing. The big question is WHY ARE WE PAYING $200,000 A YEAR?

    (12) 36 Total Votes - 24 up - 12 down
    • Jorge Estrada says:

      “THEY ARE AFTER Money from the taxpayers” Is that like the routine disability pension that are awarded to firemen and law enforcement, the additional step above Civil Service protection where Unions are used to deliver higher pay at our expense, is it the swayed by Staff recommendations that the Boards shell out better pay for all or could it just be they get your money because you are too stupid to stop them? Is that what you mean?

      (4) 6 Total Votes - 5 up - 1 down

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