Murder suspect could go free due to unfinished report - WNEM TV 5

Murder suspect could go free due to unfinished report

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Kyron Grow. Murder suspect accused of killing girlfriend's 3-year-old son Kyron Grow. Murder suspect accused of killing girlfriend's 3-year-old son

A murder suspect is on the verge of being released, all because of an incomplete medical examiner's report.

Gila County attorney Bradley Beauchamp told CBS5 that he's been waiting nine months for the autopsy report on a 3-year-old Nathaniel Lopez of Globe, and he's still waiting.

Authorities said that Lopez was badly beaten to death by his mother's boyfriend, Kyron Grow, 37, back in March of this year.

Grow has spent the past nine months behind bars awaiting trial, but CBS5 has learned that Grow may soon be released from jail and the murder charge dropped, all because the Maricopa County Medical examiner's office has not yet completed it's investigation.

"For the case to be dismissed simply because a report isn't made available to our office sends a chilling message to the community," said Beauchamp. "That a medical examiner's report could potentially result in a person accused of the death of a 3-year-old -  going free into the community - its a huge concern."

Beauchamp said they've been in constant contact with the M.E.'s office, hoping to speed the process along, but it hasn't happened.

A Gila County superior court judge has set a Jan. 17, 2014 deadline to see the M.E. report, or Grow will be released.

CBS 5 sat down with Maricopa County Communications Director Cari Gerchick to ask why this investigation is taking so long.

Gerchick said that child death cases can often take a year or longer to complete because of their complexity.

"I think what the public doesn't understand is that the death investigation is far more extensive than just the autopsy," said Gerchick. "We understand the public's frustration, and we understand that we have an ethical and scientific obligation to get to the truth, and that is what we are committed to doing."

The national standard for medical examiner's offices is to complete 90 percent of its cases in 90 days. Gerchick said that Maricopa County is right on track, despite the fact that Maricopa County has been short staffed, with 9 forensic pathologists working more than 380 death investigations in 2013.

"Our goal is not to convict people, or to free people," said Gerchick. "It is to determine the accurate cause and manner of death."

Gerchick said that the county has hired two more forensic pathologists, and a third position is still open.

If Grow is released, it will be up to the judge to decide whether prosecutors could come back and re-charge him once the medical examiner report is completed.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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