Last month, an 82-year-old woman died in her kitchen in Brooklyn. Her death certificate said she died of natural causes. Now, the New York Times reports, the officers who found her body may be disciplined after a funeral director noticed a stab wound on her neck they had missed.
No autopsy was ordered for Myrtle McKinney, who was declared dead on November 9th but may have died days before. She was found lying on her kitchen in her home, at the Carter G. Woodson houses, in Brownsville. Autopsies are not required for all deaths in New York, and McKinney was diagnosed with both diabetes and hypertension.
Earlier this week, the office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined this week that McKinney died as a result of a stab wound. She also had blunt force injuries: three broken ribs and some facial bruising. The injuries “were not easily determined by initial viewing,” Robert K. Boyce, the NYPD’s chief of detectives, told reporters on Tuesday.
“The cause of death is stab wound of neck and incised wounds of right upper extremity with blunt impact injuries of head, torso and right upper extremity, with contributing condition of hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease,” a spokeswoman for the medical examiner, Julie Bolcer, told the New York Daily News. “The manner of death is homicide.”
On Wednesday, Boyce revealed that detectives “couldn’t get to the scene.” He did not explain why they could not get to the scene, but said that they should have gone, and, if they had, the department would be “in a different place right now.”
Leon Gavin, who lives down the hall, said he would greet her. A few months ago, he said, she came to him to ask for help with her cable. “I don’t mean to bother you,” he remembered her saying, “but can I get you to help me with something?”
“She was nice,” Mr. Gavin, 75, added. “She felt kind of lonely.”
A few days before her death, he said, Ms. McKinney came to him again. She believed a relative had been stealing money from her, he said, and she wanted to go to the bank. He said she struggled to read, so he helped her look over her statements; no one had taken her money.
On Tuesday, Boyce said investigators are following leads on possible assailants but would not elaborate. “We will not say anything at this time, because we need some confidentiality in the case.”