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December 23, 2009

What Kind of Person Does That?

I was looking at the Drudge Report and I saw a teaser headline about Brittany Murphy's death that caught my eye.

Something didn't seem quite right. The phrasing seemed like more of a tentative assertion than an official report, and I didn't get their use of quotation marks. So I clicked on the link and was taken to CBS news and this headline:

I wondered — what kind of person offers opinions on a cause of death when the autopsy isn't finished and the family is still grieving? It continued:
"It's possible, certainly" (that Murphy died of natural causes), Dr. Cyril Wecht told "Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez Tuesday, "and usually, it will be some kind of a congenital heart condition. But in most of those cases, the patient will be aware that there is some heart problem.

"When you have a 32-year-old person dying suddenly, and especially a celebrity in Los Angeles, you can place your bet down that it's going prove to be a case of acute combined drug toxicity. And I bet you that this young lady tragically died in the same way that Michael Jackson did, and Anna Nicole Smith, and her son, Daniel Smith, and Heath Ledger -- a combination of drugs that had been prescribed for her, prescribed for her husband, for her mother, in some fictitious names, probably by doctors who are very, very quick to make available anything that celebrities want, sometimes using knowingly fictitious names."
The following things jumped out at me:
  • Cyril Wecht!
  • They've underlined his name!
  • he's used the word bet twice!
  • Cyril Wecht! (wiki)
And then...

I clicked the underlined Cyril Wecht and discovered Who knew?

My first impressions of included: (1)there's a curious code at the very top of the website, yellow text on red background, and (2) mid-page on the right margin there's a link that says: A note to funeral home directors. And I thought: that's just got to be interesting. So I read the note and found it was morbidly fascinating. I was surprised that he provides a 24x7 phone number on the web.

And then I was done with

A part of my mind tugged at me, my inner geek noodged me and I wondered, what was that code on the top of the website? On my browser (Firefox on XP-pro) there was just a single line of text displayed, it looked like this:

Autopsy No. 96A-155. What could this cryptic, arcane reference mean? Why is it so prominent? I googled "Autopsy No. 96A-155" and learned that this is the autopsy case file for JonBenet Ramsey, a little girl who was killed in Boulder, Colorado, on Christmas 1996.

Then I put my geek thinking cap on, and wondered: was there anything else to that image on the top of Could it be an easter egg, or does it lead to any more information? So I went back to, and right-clicked the cryptic code, and clicked ViewBackgroundImage. And I saw this:

And I wondered, what kind of person uses the autopsy number of a dead little girl as the masthead image on their website?


Brian said...

What kind of person? A purveyor...

From the "about" page on his site:

A comprehensive study of these cases are discussed from the perspective of Dr. Wecht's own professional involvement in his books, Cause of Death, Grave Secrets, and Who Killed JonBenet Ramsey? (All published by Dutton/Penguin).

Bram Reichbaum said...

"What kind of person?" You're obviously an anti-semite to be asking those kinds of questions about CW. You should apologize and resign.

Anonymous said...

What kind of person? A medical examiner like Wecht is.

Anonymous said...

I am glad i am australian , as we get the facts and then judge .....and more importantly we care about the lives lost and not the gossip ! Beleive it or not we do not even have those stupid repeat repeat repeat the story on some b grade stars life !! Famous people still are people and they have family and friends who love them, would you like to see your loved ones on a gossip show or in a mag ?

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