The family of Ray Anthony Neal knew something was off when a medical examiner ruled he died from natural causes. For starters, he was found in facedown in a pool of his own blood in his #Lawrenceville, Georgia, residence this past weekend.
Cops also found blood splattered everywhere including his bed, the bathroom walls and even on a shower curtain. But when an investigator from the medical examiner’s office arrived, she took all of 10 minutes to determine that the 61-year-old had died of natural causes, @washingtonpost reports.
While Neal did have a history of health problems, such as high blood pressure and liver problems, family members were convinced that none of those conditions killed him. Days later, it was revealed that Neal had actually been stabbed to death after a funeral home employee discovered stab wounds.
Now the family is calling for justice following the mishandling of Neal’s death investigation as they are trying to understand how such a major oversight was possible. “You had one job to do and you failed at that,” Neal’s sister Michelle Smalls told WAGA.
The last time she saw her brother alive was when she dropped him off at his house around 6:30 on Friday night, according to police records obtained by the Gwinnett Daily Post. He was reportedly drunk at the time, and she told him not to go anywhere. The next day, she called repeatedly to check on him, but he didn’t pick up.
When she went over to the house and found him unconscious in his bedroom, she initially thought that he had passed out. Then, she turned on a light and saw his blood.
She believes he knows his killer as there were reportedly no signs of forced entry
After the funeral home employee, who happened to be a coroner in another county, discovered the stab wound, the medical examiner’s officer performed a formal autopsy confirming the family’s suspicions.
“The injuries are now believed to be stab wounds,” police said in a statement.
Officials said that because the investigator was informed that Neal had medical conditions, she had chosen to “minimize exposure to pathogens that were potentially present at the scene.” As a result, she claims she didn’t notice his injuries.
That investigator has now “been allowed to resign,” Gwinnett County Medical Examiner’s Office Chief Investigator Eddie Reeves told WXIA on Wednesday. She was identified as Shannon Byers.
Smalls, who is hoping that police can find her brother’s apparent killer, said Byers’ attempt to explain the amount of blood found throughout the house never added up.
“The explanation that she gave [was] that his arteries burst and come through,” she told WGCL. “That’s a lot. Your body don’t create that much pressure to burst through your skin from the inside.”
Roommates, we hope this family gets the justice they are looking for in this case. We will keep you posted on any updates.