Michelle O'Connell's family files complaint against medical examiners, says they were negligent

Brittany Dionne reports. 3/13/2017

Documents recently obtained by First Coast News filed with the Florida Medical Examiners Commission claim the investigation into Michelle O'Connell's death was flawed.

The formal complaint was filed by a private investigator hired by O'Connell's family, and the family themselves, against Medical Examiner Dr. Predrag Bulic and Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Frederick Hobin.

The complaint says Hobin failed to perform an appropriate review of the medical information at the time and conducted an incomplete investigation.

Hobin is accused of not reporting that O'Connell had a broken jawbone when she died and that Hobin kept important case documentation at his home. Those documents included an amended death certificate that was never officially filed with the case, all of which are violations of state law.

Hobin initially ruled O'Connell's death a suicide but later changed his mind.

"I became convinced it was probably a homicide," Hobin said. He also documented them in a revised autopsy report stating he changed the original death certificate.

The complaint says Hobin kept the altered death certificate at his home, along with other parts of his investigative findings - all direct violations of state law.

The complaint also alleges Bulic showed O'Connell's autopsy pictures to non-family members without consent from O'Connell's family, also a violation of state law.

The State Attorney's Office believes O'Connell killed herself, and two other medical examiners agree but a Florida Department of Law Enforcement review disagreed.

O'connell's family has always believed her boyfriend, St. Johns County Sheriff's deputy, Jeremy Banks, the person who called 911 to report O'Connell's death, pulled the trigger. Banks has maintained his innocence from the beginning and is still employed by the sheriff's office.

The Florida Medical Examiners Commission found Bulic's actions to be negligent, and recommend he be written up for the infraction. The commission also found Hobin to be negligent and suggested he be suspended for an unspecified amount of time.

We are working to get comment from the O'Connell family about the complaints. We will update this story when we hear back.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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