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Sick Souvenirs: Chief Medical Examiner employee accused of stealing 9/11 evidence

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MANHATTAN (PIX11) – In an investigation conducted by the Department of Investigation several years ago, a member of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s office was accused of taking home what could have been vital evidence from the scene of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks.

Barbara Butcher, who is listed as the Director of Forensic Sciences Training Program and Chief of Staff at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner on the city’s own website, was interviewed in 2005 and according to the DOI report “admitted that she received a piece of unidentifiable metal debris from someone at the NYPD.”  Butcher even admitted to taking the item home for a couple of days before returning it.

The New York Post reporting Butcher even said the piece would make for a good conversation on the coffee table.  Needless to say,  the statement and actions are infuriating families of 9/11 victims.  Jim Riches, a retired deputy fire chief with the FDNY, not only worked during 911 but also lost his son that horrific day.

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“We were down there on 911 and we were told everything down there is evidence here.  We are bringing everything back up to them and they’re bringing it to their office and stealing it or taking it?  It’s totally absurd.  My son died that day. He went in to save people in the building to get them out of there and this is something that’s totally outrageous,” said Riches.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner responded with this statement:

“With respect to the weekend story about OCME staff, those are old allegations that have been investigated by DOI and resolved.  In the 10+ years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, no one has been more dedicated to identifying the victims of that day than the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner under the leadership of Dr. Charles Hirsch, and now Dr. Barbara Sampson.  We have continued to bring the latest technology to bear in our efforts to search for and identify as many victims as possible, and that effort will continue for as long as necessary.”

9/11 Parents of Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims said they would like Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office and the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to step in and create greater oversight at the Medical Examiner’s office.

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