They Said He Died Naturally. The Funeral Home Said Otherwise

Georgia man was actually stabbed to death
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2019 8:41 AM CDT
They Said He Died Naturally. The Funeral Home Said Otherwise
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/sudok1)

"It was too much blood." That was the initial assessment of Michelle Smalls, the sister of Ray Neal, a 61-year-old Georgia man found dead over the weekend. A Gwinnett County medical examiner's investigator determined he died of natural causes. But it turns out the suspicions of Smalls (and local police) were right on: WSB reports the death has now been ruled a homicide after a funeral home worker found stab wounds on Neal's body. Per the Gwinnett Daily Post, Neal's concerned sister headed over to his Lawrenceville home on Saturday after he wasn't answering phone calls, and when she entered the home, she found him lying on a bedroom floor, according to a police report; she called the cops after seeing blood on the floor and wall.

In the report, a responding officer similarly noted that there was "a large amount of blood on the bed and underneath ... Neal," as well as in the bathroom. Police deemed the scene "suspicious," but because Neal had suffered from a slew of medical issues—liver problems, hepatitis C, and high blood pressure, as well as a history of alcohol and drug abuse—the investigator determined he'd simply succumbed to his ailments and that the bleeding was a byproduct of that. It was only when the funeral home employee spotted "suspicious injuries" on Neal's neck that an autopsy was performed, leading to the homicide ruling. Smalls is livid at investigator Shannon Byers, who she said took "10 minutes" to check her brother's body, per WSB. "You had one job," she tells FOX 5. Byers has been "allowed to resign," the medical examiner's office tells 11Alive. (More strange stuff stories.)

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