More Autopsy Adventures in Mississippi



When Willie Mae Galmore buried her daughter in 2004, she was left with a sinking feeling that the person in the casket was not her child. DNA testing has confirmed her suspicions and now she's on a mission to find out what happened.

Authorities reported in June 2004 that Galmore's daughter, Rochelle Thomas, died in a car accident. She was buried in Heavenly Rest Cemetery in Lyon after a closed casket funeral.

In August 2007, the body was exhumed at Galmore's request and DNA proved the woman was not Galmore's child. Even more disturbing, the body is likely that of an unidentified male.

See if anything in this passage jumps out at you:

Thomas, who was a 34-year-old mother of three at the time of the accident, was reportedly found dead on June 12, 2004, beside her wrecked car in a ravine in Vicksburg.

When her mother asked then-Warren County Coroner John Thomason if she could come identify the body, she was allegedly told no due to the state of decomposition.

Thomason then told Galmore that he identified the body as belonging to Thomas and sent the body to Mississippi Mortuary Services to undergo an autopsy by Dr. Steven Hayne.

"Don't come down here is what they told me," Galmore said.

How could this have happened?

Meredith says there are a number of possible scenarios for the mixup. One possibility, he said, is that there were two people in Thomas' car and her body was thrown so far from the wreck it was never found.

Or, he said, the bodies could have been switched at some point in the process between the wreck and autopsy and funeral, and Thomas is buried in someone else's grave.

My article on Dr. Hayne and Mississippi's broken autopsy system here.