Arturo Gatti's body was exhumed Friday for a second autopsy, this time in Gatti's native Montreal and this time with the assistance of Michael Baden, a real-life forensic pathologist who also plays one on TV. Examiners found "some surprises," unsurprisingly.
A full, seven-hour autopsy was performed just two days after Brazilian authorities ruled the boxer's death a suicide by purse strap. Baden, host of HBO's Autopsy and a former chief pathologist for the New York State Police, assisted at the family's request and said afterward that the first, apparently partial autopsy conducted by a crack forensics team in Brazil had somehow overlooked bruising on Gatti's body.
"The first surprise was that it was a partial autopsy, and not a full autopsy; the second was that there were some important findings, like the injuries that had not been identified."
Partial autopsies are unusual in suspected homicides, said Baden, who described the overlooked injuries as bruises that weren't cited in the initial forensic report.
Baden, who assisted in 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," Baden 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."
Gatti's wife, Amanda Rodrigues, was released last week after police concluded that Gatti hanged himself from a wooden staircase a little more than 7 feet off the ground. On Friday, police in Recife provided more information about Gatti's death, including a suspiciously tortured explanation for one of the wounds found on Gatti's body. According to the cops (and via the Associated Press):
• Gatti stood on a stool and kicked it out from underneath him, then remained suspended for three hours before crumpling to the floor.
• Rodrigues told police she was sleeping with the couple's son upstairs. At 6 a.m., she went downstairs to get milk, saw Gatti on the floor and thought he had passed out drunk, presumably in the vicinity of the bloodied purse strap later found by the first investigators at the scene.
• The night before he died, Gatti drank seven cans of beer and a couple bottles of wine. The couple later got into a loud fight near a beach in Porto de Galinhas. At one point, according to witnesses, Gatti picked up Rodriguez by her chin and threw her to the ground. When a security guard from a nearby hotel tried to intervene, Gatti punched him in the face. A crowd had gathered, and people grew angry, "some throwing stones and even a bicycle at the boxer."
• One stone struck Gatti in the back of the head, thus explaining a wound that police had originally attributed to a small steak knife found near the body
Rodrigues spoke with the Associated Press on Thursday and offered the following theory as to why her husband of two years might have killed himself:
"I believe that when we got home and he saw that he hurt me, he thought I would leave him, that I would tell him to just let me go, that I would separate from him," she said. "He did that in a moment of weakness. He was drunk, maybe he didn't know what he was doing, maybe he thought I would leave him the next day."
And now comes word that Rodrigues reportedly stands to receive the entirety of Gatti's inheritance, in addition to $1 million from a life insurance policy. If the matter of Gatti's death still seems very much unresolved, do not worry. A so-called "celebrity pathologist" and a fleet of scalpel-wielding Quebecois are on the case. So is Canada's foreign affairs minister, the Honourable [sic] Lawrence Cannon, who on Friday did the Canadian equivalent of blasting Brazil's Keystone Cops routine, which is to say he issued an exceedingly polite announcement:
"The government of Canada is seeking more information on the investigation into the death of its citizen, and on the findings of the investigation."
Oh, Lawrence. You'll have to bring more heat than that if you wanna wind up in Nancy Grace's green room.
Second autopsy of Gatti's body revealed unexpected details, says pathologist [Canadian Press]
Police: Gatti hung himself from stairs [AP]
Canada wants more info about Gatti's death [National Post]
Gatti's widow stands to inherent ex-boxer's fortune, says brother [Canadian Press]