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New Questions in Teen's Death

March 15, 2006|From the Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. — A second autopsy indicates that a 14-year-old boy who was punched and kicked by guards at a juvenile boot camp may not have died of natural causes as a medical examiner initially ruled, officials said Tuesday.

Martin Lee Anderson was sent to the Bay County Sheriff's Office boot camp Jan. 5 for a probation violation. A surveillance video shows guards kicking and punching him after he collapsed while exercising on his first day at the camp, and he died at a hospital early the next day.

The second autopsy was ordered after his parents questioned the findings of Bay County's medical examiner, who concluded the teen died from complications of sickle cell trait, a usually benign blood disorder.

The new autopsy was conducted Monday by Hillsborough County Medical Examiner Vernard Adams and observed on behalf of Anderson's family by Dr. Michael Baden, a noted pathologist. Baden said it was clear the boy did not die from sickle cell trait or any other natural causes.

"My opinion is that he died because of what you see in the videotape," said Baden, referring to the surveillance video.

Baden, who reviewed evidence in the slaying of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and worked for a congressional committee that reinvestigated the assassination of President Kennedy, said a finding on the cause of death was several weeks away.

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