Police waiting for autopsy in suspicious teen death




Posted on January 3, 2013 at 6:14 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 3 at 6:21 PM

AUSTIN -- Austin police are waiting for autopsy results in connection with a suspicious death of a 13-year-old girl.

On Jan. 1, investigators were called to 2409 Lakehurst Drive to check the welfare of 13-year-old Sophia Martinez. Police say she was unresponsive at the scene. An officer performed chest compressions until EMS arrived. Martinez was transported to Dell Children's Medical Center where she was pronounced dead.

The Travis County Medical Examiner's Office is waiting for toxicology results, a process that could take a while.

The deputy chief sat down with KVUE to explain the process. Dr. Satish Chundru has been interviewed several times by reporters and appears regularly on the cable TV show "First 48."

"We have five forensic pathologists, including myself. We all have about 20 cases that are still pending. All that means is we're waiting for toxicology to come back. Sometimes we have to ask police to do some more investigation, talk to more witnesses. Unfortunately the TV shows like "CSI," they don't do us justice. They're pretty far from reality. We just don't get stuff at the snap of a finger," said Chundru.

Chundru says some cases are complex, but none of them get special treatment.

"Not at all. We treat all cases the same. If it's a high profile case, the toxicology is not done any faster. We only do what we can do. There's no prioritizing cases," said Chundru.

First the doctor arrives on scene and investigates for about an hour. The autopsy starts the next day early in the morning and lasts about an hour and a half or longer. Then doctors take samples. Toxicology testing can take two weeks to two months.

"We don't get DNA testing the same day. We don't get toxicology results the same day," said Chundru.

It's an important process that leads to answers, closure, for families and sometimes determines guilt or innocence if a crime occurred.

Sophia Martinez's family is asking for help with funeral expenses. Anyone willing to help can contact Bank of America, account number 586 03138 7504 in the name of Sylvia Vasquez.

Austin police say they are still interviewing people and waiting for the toxicology report.

Click here for information from the Travis County Medical Examiner's website on healthy and safe living.