Parents of dead Virginia girl say state lost organs during autopsy

The parents of Annie McCann, the 16-year-old girl who disappeared from her Virginia home and was found dead next to a trash bin in Baltimore in 2008, are alleging that a state medical examiner threw away her internal organs, preventing a proper Catholic burial.

Mary Jane and Daniel McCann, during a news conference in Washington, also continued to blast the Baltimore Police Department's investigation and conclusions by detectives that the girl committed suicide by drinking a lethal dose of Bactine.

"So, thugs stuffed Annie's dead or dying body behind a dumpster, then the police swiftly and silently trashed the investigation into her murder," a statement read by the parents says. "And then the medical examiner threw her organs out with the garbage. That's ugly. That's Baltimore ugly."

[Read more stories on Annie McCann]

Her parents have spent years pushing authorities to reopen their investigation into the November 2008 death of Annie McCann, whose body was found near a trash bin at the Perkins Homes public housing complex west of Fells Point in Southeast Baltimore.

The McCanns had scheduled the news conference at the National Press Club promising to announce a new investigative lead. They said they've identified a person seen with Annie at a Baltimore pastry shop, the day before her body was found, as a person who attended the family church in Alexandria.

Daniel McCann said police still have not followed up. He allegeed that the city police department's new homicide commander, Lt. Col. Garnell Green, has been "muzzled" by his bosses.

"Colonel's Green's initial, earnest assurances have been squashed from above," the McCanns said in a statement read at the start of the news conference. "Honestly, if the case had been quietly turned over to the cold case unit … it might have been solved by now. Instead, the police hierarchy chooses to hunker down in denial."

Anthony Guglielmi, the top city police spokesman, denied the allegations and said Green met with the family but that the department's conclusions about how Annie died remain the same. The State Medical Examiner's Office ruled that she overdosed from drinking a half-ounce bottle of Bactine, which contains lidocaine. Annie's DNA was found on the lips of the bottle.

The McCanns believe their daughter either ran away from home, was lured away or met someone in Baltimore who led her to her demise. They have said that someone could've forced her to drink the Bactine, and that their own medical experts concluded there isn't enough lidocaine in a small bottle of Bactine to be fatal to someone of Annie's size.

The family says they learned that Annie's organs were missing when she was embalmed before her funeral, but chose to stay silent on the issue until now so as not to distract from their efforts to convince police there is a killer who needs to be found.

The McCanns have filed an intent to sue the state of Maryland, a legal step that must be taken before a formal lawsuit, and the issue of the organs will be part of that legal action, the parents said.

In the statement, the McCanns said they were initially led to believe that the medical examiner needed the organs for further tests, but later learned they had been thrown away. "They haven't even apologized," the statement says. "So it looks like we'll have to sue."

The statement adds: "The state has no right to casually lose organs. The state has no right to silently violate our right of sepulcher. The state has no right to abort our efforts at Christian burial by carelessly losing our Annie's brain and her heart, her very essence."

The state Medical Examiner's Office has not yet commented.

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