MONTGOMERY: Sheridan family challenges credentials of autopsy doctor

By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
The four sons of the late John and Joyce Sheridan are challenging the qualifications of Assistant Medical Examiner Eddy Lilavois, who performed the autopsy on their parents following their deaths in September 2014.
Writing to state Attorney General John Hoffman on May 4, the Sheridan sons pointed out that Dr. Lilavois lacks board certification in anatomical and clinical pathology. He also is not board-certified in forensic pathology.
Given that Dr. Lilavois does not hold board certifications in those areas, wrote Mark Sheridan, he should have been working under the supervision of someone who does hold those qualifications — but was not.
“That Dr. Lilavois is acting without the supervision of a board-certified forensic pathologist is beyond troubling,” Mr. Sheridan wrote. He pointed to what he claimed are errors that occurred during the autopsy, such as the incorrect reporting by Dr. Lilavois of his father’s age, height, weight and locations of wounds that caused his death.
“Had Dr. Lilavois been supervised by a board-certified forensic pathologist, maybe we would have accurate answers as to what happened to our parents,” Mr. Sheridan wrote. At a minimum, the age, height, weight and wound locations should have been correct in the autopsy report.
Mr. Sheridan wrote that Somerset County Prosecutor Gregory Soriano admitted that following the initial autopsy on the elder Mr. Sheridan, Dr. Lilavois did not notify him that Mr. Sheridan was not killed by either of the knives in the possession of the prosecutor’s office.
The fact that Dr. Lilavois was not supervised by a board-certified pathologist may explain why he missed the significance of the wounds to the elder Mr. Sheridan, which supposedly resulted in the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office’s forensics team not knowing that the weapon that killed him was not in their possession.
“Had there been a State Medical Examiner, perhaps it would not have been necessary for our family to retain (pathologist) Dr. Michael Baden to identify the failures of the initial autopsy,” he wrote. The state medical examiner is a qualified forensic pathologist who supervises the assistant medical examiners, such as Dr. Lilavois.
The Office of the State Medical Examiner was created “to address the concrete problem of county medical examiners acting without qualifications and/or supervision,” he wrote. It is possible for the county medical examiner’s report to be influenced by the input of law enforcement agencies — which Mr. Sheridan claims occurred in the case of his parents’ deaths.
The Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office concluded that Mr. Sheridan killed his wife, and then killed himself. It was ruled a murder-suicide.
Mr. Sheridan also wrote that he and his brothers “would like to know who determined Dr. Lilavois’ eligibility to be an assistant medical examiner, and who has been enforcing those eligibility standards while there has been no State Medical Examiner for the past five-plus years.”
In the May 4 letter, Mr. Sheridan noted that Dr. Lilavois was forced to resign from a position in New York. He was then hired to be an investigator for the Office of the State Medical Examiner — not as an assistant medical examiner, because he had not passed the necessary examinations.
Mr. Sheridan also asked for the Attorney General’s Office for numerous documents, including copies of the autopsy reports, all records relating to Dr. Lilavois’ hiring date and his medical qualifications, and whether he was hired to be an investigator.
He also requested “any and all records” in the possession of the State Police, the Division of Criminal Justice and the Office of the Attorney General regarding his parents’ deaths or the investigation into their deaths.
In response, the State Attorney General’s Office said that “we are in receipt of the letter from Mr. Sheridan. The release of the criminal investigative file is a matter between the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office and the Sheridan family.” 