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PNG: Autopsy report results on Post-Courier journalist sparks call for review

Preliminary autopsy results rule death of journalist Rosalyn Albaniel Evara "undetermined" ... independent review called for. Image: Loop PNG

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Item: 10024

PORT MORESBY (Pacific Media Watch): Preliminary autopsy results released on the sudden death of late Post-Courier journalist Rosalyn Albaniel Evara have sparked calls for an independent review.

National Capital District governor Powes Parkop made the call after the chief pathologist, Dr Seth Fose, ruled her death as undetermined.

“In my opinion, the preliminary cause of death is undetermined. The contributory factor is embalming artifacts and changes,” he noted.

Dr Fose’s report stated there was no evidence of disease, trauma, or any injuries, the PNG Post-Courier reports, despite allegations at her funeral by her aunt, Mary Albaniel, she had been a victim of violence.

The allegations last month sparked anger over violence against women and calls for the silence on domestic violence to be broken, as reported by Pacific Media Watch.

The allegations also prompted widespread calls for an investigation into her death, leading her burial to be halted and an autopsy carried out after initial resistance from some members of Evara’s family.

Despite the results, public and media industry belief remains strong Evara suffered domestic abuse which may have contributed to her death.

Parkop rejects report
“I’ve read the report and I can say that I’m very, very insulted.

“I cannot understand how a doctor, who is a chief pathologist, could reach that conclusion.

“You don’t need to be a doctor, pathologist or rocket scientist to reach a reasonable conclusion that she was severely assaulted or abused and that may have contributed to her death.

“The photographic evidence that the aunty got was taken instantly after she died.

“It’s very, very obvious but it’s not mentioned in the report. Scars on her neck and on her face are not mentioned in the report.

“I don’t understand the logic,” Parkop said.

He told The National he had sent Dr Fose’s report and photos taken of Evara’s body by her family to other medical practitioners and would be seeking an overseas opinion if necessary.

Preliminary findings challenged
“I will also raise the matter with the Papua New Guinea Medical Board,” he said.

Parkop’s concerns have been echoed by Pacific Freedom Forum chair Monica Miller.

“We welcome the autopsy taking place, but challenge a preliminary finding that cause of death was undetermined.

“Photos taken after her death, and shown at her funeral, showed extensive bruising,” she said in a statement.

Dr Fose has hit back at such criticism, stating embalming and decomposition distort evidence in an autopsy, Loop PNG reports.

The investigation into Evara’s death is ongoing, but a full report is expected at some stage this week. 

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