Justice For Annie

Governor Hogan – Please Help...


March 5, 2018

The Honorable Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr.
Governor of Maryland
100 State Circle
Annapolis, MD  21401-1925

Dear Governor Hogan,

Please help us! We write as the parents of 16-year old Annie McCann – brutalized, sodomized and poisoned to death, her dead or dying body stuffed behind a dumpster in Baltimore more than nine years ago.

Annie’s death, her murder, has never been seriously investigated by the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) – not in the initial homicide investigation, and not in the clownish cold-case investigation in 2013. At the same time, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) utterly bungled Annie’s autopsy – documenting but failing to correlate more than 20 wounds to her dear, dead body, failing to recognize a clear cigarette burn or a grievously distended rear end or a letter “J” tagged on her ankle, failing to follow-up on foreign DNA under our Annie’s fingernails.

Annie died under what can only be called the most sinister circumstances.  Since then, your police department has failed miserably.  They did not investigate Annie’s death.  They immediately and wrongly concluded that Annie killed herself.  They did not tell us of their conclusion for more than four months.  We have since proven their theory of suicide is impossible.

In the attachments, we condense a gruesome, 9-year old Trail of Tears, cataloguing in brief the terrible failings of those two Maryland bodies, BPD and OCME. The scope of their failure is colossal.

In virtually every instance cited in the attachments, we can document our assertions. Please, please, please – ask us to provide documentation. Demand to know how we can say:

  • the original homicide detective did not have a photograph of Annie more than four months into his “investigation!”
  • there was uncorrelated, unexamined foreign DNA under Annie’s nails!
  • that the FBI was scared to investigate Annie’s murder, and could only offer BPD a “communications strategy” for dealing with us!
  • Annie was tagged by human traffickers?
  • Annie’s suffered grave blunt force trauma with her skull all but fractured, and her cervical spine wounded?

You must know, Governor Hogan, that the Baltimore justice system is a cesspool, a foul carbuncle benighting the people of Baltimore and Maryland. For us, it has been difficult to determine when incompetence ends, and cowardice and corruption and cover-up kick in.

As Baltimore’s murder rate skyrockets…as the people trapped in your largest city beg for leadership and accountability and results…one mayor resigns for embezzling from Christmas donations for children…Freddie Gray dies and the city explodes…another mayor is forced to resign…and an elite BPD task force is exposed as Murder, Inc.

In regard to the latter, we note that BPD Deputy Commissioner Dean Palmere recently announced his retirement under a cloud of allegations regarding his involvement with that epically corrupt BPD task force.  Deputy Commissioner Palmere?  He was one of two senior officials charged with overseeing the 2013 cold case “investigation” into Annie’s murder.  It appears now that he may have been preoccupied with other matters.  Or, given credible allegations that he coached at least one corrupt officer on how to cover-up a suspicious shooting death, perhaps he was similarly coaching the cold-case homicide squad on how to slow-walk a non-investigation into Annie’s murder.  See the third attachment for just one illustration of our several futile efforts in 2013 to get him to honor his commitment to us, and get his cold case squad engaged in investigating Annie’s murder.

Almost a year after Annie’s murder, Baltimore’s then-head of homicide, Terry McLarney, told The Washington Post that Annie had no wounds or bruising, external or internal. "We know it's not a homicide at that point," he told the Post.  Well, we know at this point he was willfully lying, or willfully ignorant, glossing over more than 20 wounds to Annie’s body, as documented by the medical examiner, including clear signs of blunt force trauma and torture.  (In point of fact, there are more than 40 wounds to Annie’s body – many were not documented in the report of autopsy but are apparent even in low-grade photographs.)

What kind of police department manufactures flimsy alibis for monsters who admit to dumping a girl’s dead or dying body behind a dumpster and going for a joy ride?  In October 2009, BPD explained to the Post that the reason they had not, at least, brought charges for car theft in this terrible matter was that they, BPD, didn’t know whether or not Annie had given the young men involved permission to use the car.  This was almost a year after the depraved young men had confessed to the police to having dumped Annie’s body and taken the car for a joy ride.

Years ago, an experienced and highly respected police official from another state said of the non-investigation into Annie’s murder:  “…with the attention this case has gotten, they [BPD] seem to have circled the wagons and it will take a strong outside entity to get anywhere. Larry – you can be that strong outside entity. As the duly elected Governor of the State of Maryland, you can crack this Long Blue Line of Silence.  You are uniquely situated to correct these grave miscarriages of justice committed by BPD and OCME in the matter of our daughter’s murder.  There must be accountability and oversight of the police.  In Baltimore, there is none.

And without accountability for law enforcement, what do you have?  You have the seasoned and savvy staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee telling us, “Well, there’s really nothing we can make the FBI do.”   This, from the very body charged with oversight of the FBI!

Without accountability for the Baltimore criminal justice system, what do you have? In a microcosm, you have the unexamined murder of Annie McCann, a white girl from the comfortable suburbs of Northern Virginia. In a macrocosm, you have poor Freddie Gray, and the riots that consumed an inner city.

We have two simple requests of you, Governor Hogan:

  • Can you direct the Maryland State Police to assert its own jurisdiction, and investigate Annie’s murder? Quickly claim and safeguard all physical and forensic evidence? Issue John Doe warrants in the matter of uncorrelated DNA? We do not doubt the ability of the State Police to investigate this murder fully, and fairly, and independently – far more so than the corrupt and cowardly BPD, and the wobbly FBI.
  • Can you direct Maryland’s Secretary for Health to commission an independent autopsy of Annie’s death?

Again, Governor Hogan, we are begging you – please help us!



Mary Jane Malinchak-McCann
Daniel J. McCann


cc: The Washington Post (w/ attachments)

Attachment 1 – Some Failings of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

The Medical Examiner (ME) found the cause of Annie’s death to be lidocaine poisoning; the manner of death is undetermined.

In the blandest, most anodyne terms imaginable, the report of autopsy catalogues “tree” after “tree,” without ever commenting on the forest. The report clinically notes more than 20 insults to Annie’s body – hemorrhages, contusions, abrasions; some quite grave, such as “subgaleal hemorrhaging,” – that’s one stop short of a fractured skull. (There are actually far more wounds that go un-noted, except in low-quality photographs.) There is no global, professional observation on how unusual this is – outside, perhaps, the National Football League.

Without ever using the phrase, the report clearly documents blunt force trauma to Annie.

The report notes – by reported volume (900 mL), without further comment – an extraordinarily engorged stomach in a slender girl.

The report mischaracterizes an obvious cigarette burn as an old crusted abrasion.

Remarkably, the ME fails to report, except by photograph, a ‘To-Do” list Annie wrote on her hand.

According to BPD records, on March 3, 2009 – four months after Annie’s murder, exactly one day after our first press conference, when we had come to realize that the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) was simply not investigating Annie’s murder – the ME told them, BPD, with slightly more clarity:

“An abrasion of the left temporal scalp, left face/lateral left temporal forehead, and extending into the adjacent left scalp, left face, lateral of the left nose and midline lower lip were noted.  Additionally, Dr. [name redacted by McCanns] noted a left temporal subgaleal [sub-cranial] scalp hemorrhage as well as hemorrhage to the tissue of the lateral left C2 vertebra.  Abrasions to the upper back, lateral front left hip, and upper left buttock were also noted.  Dr. [name redacted by McCanns] further reports that the right knee as well as old contusions were noted to the left arm, left elbow, left forearm, left thigh and right leg were noted.  Finally, Dr. [name redacted by McCanns] noted an old abrasion to the left forehead.”

That final note would refer to the demonstrably new, round “abrasion,” described in the report of autopsy as ¼ inch – clearly round, it is an obvious cigarette burn.  There are no “round” abrasions in natural life, or death.  Police casually characterize these multiple wounds, some very grave, as “superficial and non-life-threatening.”  The injury to the cervical spine, head wounds and cranial hemorrhaging are clearly the result of blunt force trauma and, probably, whiplash.  The obvious cigarette burn speaks for itself.

The ME also fails to report what is clear, even in the six remarkably poor-quality black-and-white photographs we were allowed to purchase from OCME.  Annie’s rear end, at autopsy, is grossly distended.  The funeral director and embalmer led us to scrutinize that grainy photo.  Haltingly, years on, each told us that they believed from the beginning that Annie had been sodomized.  (The reason for their delay in volunteering their opinion?  They thought Baltimore homicide detectives were investigating Annie’s murder.)  These are not detectives, rotating through a tour in Homicide.  They are not well-fed and well-paid District Attorneys, professing expertise in the human body’s muscular relaxation upon death.  These are a funeral director and embalmer.  These are the only professionals with more experience, and more up-close experience with dead bodies than an ME.  The embalmer told us he had to use extra “packing” for Annie’s rear end, beyond the standard “A/V” (anal/vaginal) pack.  He said that is never required, except occasionally with old and extremely large decedents.  And that is more information than we ever expected to have on “A/V packs.”

Still blandly, the report of autopsy reports “petechial hemorrhages” in the lungs and “agonal change,” without volunteering that these conditions are suggestive of asphyxiation, strangulation.  Also unremarked is a clear cut or slash or slit in Annie’s groin area.

BPD records also show us that “touch DNA” was reported by the ME at Annie’s right neck, front neck, back neck, and left neck.  Reported, but never tested.  The ME  also found foreign DNA under Annie’s left and right fingernail clippings.  Again, never tested.  Good Lord!  Why isn’t DNA under a dead girl’s nails tested? Can it be tested now?

The ME cannot or will not tell us whether or not Annie was raped.  They do not or will not explain that failing.  After years of vague reassurances (“Oh, someone would have told you, if she had been raped”) or finger-pointing (“That’s the job of the police crime lab”) we recently learned that the ME characterized Annie’s hymen as “ragged.”

The ME lost or discarded Annie’s heart and brain.  We buried our daughter without her very essence.  When we filed an administrative claim against OCME, in an effort to learn if/how/why they had not returned Annie’s organs to her body, denying us the Christian right of sepulcher, they never denied doing so.  They did assert their right under Maryland law to do whatever they wished with our daughter’s organs.  (We believe common law would hold otherwise.)  Disgusted and “ragged” ourselves, we dropped that claim many, many years ago.  If memory serves, it was administratively dismissed.

Attachment 2 – Some Failings of the Baltimore Police Department

Failings:  Failings here are shocking, Governor Hogan.  Shocking.  It’s difficult for us to begin here.  Or to end. 

The original Baltimore Police Department (BPD) homicide detectives were, initially, on Day 1 and into Day 2, fully engaged.  They told us that Annie’s murder was a “red ball” case – BPD jargon, they explained, for all hands on deck.  On Day 2, we “caught” one of the detectives with tears in his eyes, grieving over our loss.  But years later, the lead homicide detective told our private investigator that BPD concluded within 72 hours that “this was a suicide.”

  • So, was BPD lying when they told us they were going door-to-door in Perkins Homes, where Annie’s body was dumped?  Yes, BPD was lying.
  • Was BPD lying, when they told us in 2008, and in 2009, and in 2013, that they would give it, the investigation, “everything we’ve got?”  Yes, BPD was lying.

As we quietly worked with the police in 2008 and into 2009, or tried to, they quietly abandoned us.  We firmly believe that their boss told them what was what.  “Annie McCann?   That case?  That’s not a complicated homicide.  It’s a simple suicide.  Make it so!”  And so they did.  (The flimsy BPD theory of suicide is laid out below.)

And there’s no turning back, it seems, not now, not for the originally invested detectives, not for the BPD.  Bizarrely, BPD has assumed our stereotypical role – parents in denial.  As one highly respected law enforcement professional explained to us, through a mutual friend:  “…with the attention this case has gotten, they [BPD] seem to have circled the wagons and it will take a strong outside entity to get anywhere.”  That strong outside entity must be you, Governor Hogan!

Meanwhile, with the police in denial for years, we’ve assumed their role – commissioning investigations, consulting specialists, asking crucial and simple questions, clawing for the truth.

After our first press conference in March 2009, when we had finally come to realize that BPD was, incredibly, simply not investigating Annie’s murder, they pretended to “give it everything we’ve got.”  It was then that they asked us via text for a photograph of Annie.  We suddenly realized, more than four months after the terrible fact – the BPD homicide detectives supposedly investigating Annie’s murder for months did not have a photograph of her.

In October 2009, almost a year after Annie’s murder, BPD explained to The Washington Post that the reason they had not pressed charges for car theft against the young men who had stolen our car after dumping Annie’s body was "because there was no proof of whether Annie McCann granted the young men permission to take the Volvo."  This was many, many months after the depraved young men had admitted to the police that they had dragged Annie’s body from the family Volvo and dumped her with the trash before taking the Volvo for a so-called “joy ride” through Baltimore.  What police department manufactures flimsy alibis for self-confessed monsters?

Through our efforts, and those of a private investigator, we located two unusually reliable eyewitnesses who said they had seen Annie in Baltimore, probably the day before or of her murder, in the company of a woman, a woman described in great detail.  (Neither of these eyewitnesses reported Annie as evincing the blunt force trauma the ME documented so clinically a few days later.)  One of the eyewitnesses agreed to work with a very highly regarded sketch artist, himself a retired homicide detective.  The effort yielded an excellent and promising sketch, one that has elicited several hits (most without a name) in Northern Virginia.  In March 2009, we provided BPD with a copy of the sketch, along with a copy of the sketch artist’s richly detailed notes, and his most impressive resume.  Years later, BPD blithely dismissed the sketch as the work of a psychic sketch artist.  That was not the slip of a tongue – you can’t accidentally say “psychic sketch artist” – it was a bald-faced lie by BPD, crafted to discredit us.

A person of interest, a stranger to us who exchanged texts with Annie a few days before her murder…a person with an extensive record of arrest and conviction for narcotics production and distribution…living in Prince William County in Northern Virginia…with reportedly extensive family ties to Baltimore…this person has only barely been interviewed, by phone, by BPD.  A year after Annie’s murder, the police accepted his flimsy explanation, phoned in, for the exchange of texts – that it was a wrong number from Annie to his wife’s cell phone.  Who remembers a wrong number to his wife’s phone, almost a year after the fact?  Why wouldn’t homicide detectives follow-up?

Additionally, this same person of interest lied to Prince William police in December 2017, actually telling them that his wife was his sister.  Prince William County police told our private investigator, “This guy’s lying, and you need to get back here with Baltimore police and have them interrogated.”  Yeah.  Fat chance.

 In 2013, with a new police commissioner, and perhaps in response to our persistent entreaties, BPD commissioned a cold-case investigation into Annie’s murder.  In short, this was another travesty, a reprise of the original non-investigation.  Some few, of many, many illustrations:

  • The head of the cold case squad told us for weeks that they were “scrubbing” the family computer.  Then he told us that BPD had actually…lost the family computer…the one they were reportedly scrubbing. Like Annie’s heart. ... her brain…the original investigation…gone.  Oopsies.  (Note that this happened under the oversight of Colonel Dean Palmere, allegedly involved in coaching cover-up for suspicious killings.)
  • Instead of interviewing a priest-of-interest, the lead cold case detective interviewed the church janitor…who, we were told, was a really nice guy…who didn’t know or recognize Annie…but did post her picture on the diocese janitor network.  This is the work of homicide detectives?
  • The same cold case detective somehow interviewed the wrong eyewitness – not one of the two eyewitnesses, both employees at a pastry shop employees, who had so clearly remembered Annie, but their then-boss, the pastry shop owner, who had never seen Annie.  Weeks after that quietly epic flub, the detective tried to tell us we were wrong, the owner had never seen Annie.  We had to explain to him, politely, that he had completely blown it.  Again.
  • Kicking off the interview of another person of interest, the lead cold case detective said, “The McCanns won’t face facts, so I have to ask a few questions...”  Is this the work of a dedicated detective, or a bureaucrat, checking the box?
  • In partial response to our persistent request, BPD did reach out to the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) in Quantico, Virginia for assistance in BPD’s so-called investigation into Annie’s murder.  (We had begged for an independent field investigation by the FBI.)  Those FBI BAU profilers aren’t as intrepid as portrayed on TV and in movies.  According to a BPD e-mail on July 23, 2013, “It appears that everyone (at BAU Quantico) knows about the McCanns and aren’t thrilled about the thought of being involved in this case.”  (How pathetic!  Isn’t that what they exist for, solving baffling cases?)
  • In October 2013, the FBI briefed us on their “findings,” but refused to answer our questions, refused to provide a rationale for their equivocal findings, refused even to let us to take notes.  Their sole contribution to the investigation?  Apparently, a 14-page communications strategy to help us accept Annie’s death.  Basically, after working exclusively with the BPD, after reviewing just the records fed them by BPD, the skittish BAU rubber-stamped the BPD theory.

Oh, the police theory – in the interest of full disclosure, we must share that with you, Governor Hogan BPD claims to believe that Annie killed herself by drinking Bactine, an over-the-counter medication containing lidocaine.  (Again, the ME reported lidocaine as the cause of Annie’s death.)  In late 2008, Annie used Bactine to treat her newly-pierced ears.  It was reasonable for BPD to consider suicide-by-Bactine in 2008.  But it just doesn’t hold up under scrutiny.  Please note, Governor, that in support of their suicide-by-Bactine theory, the police cite three expert opinions:

  • OCME's then-Chief Toxicologist, Dr. Barry Levine;
  • The Maryland Poison Center; and
  • The uniquely qualified makers of Bactine

According to BPD, each of these experts report that there is more than enough lidocaine in a container of Bactine to kill.  This is either intentional lying on the part of BPD, or sheer stupidity.

We consulted experts as well – BPD’s above, and others.  Among many others, Dr. Michael Baden – perhaps the most celebrated forensic pathologist in history – reports that a single container of Bactine could never produce the levels of lidocaine reported at Annie’s autopsy.  The lidocaine came from something other than Bactine.

Another celebrated pathologist, Dr. Harry Bonnell, volunteers his own opinion – Bactine has a powerfully vile taste, and no one could swallow more than a sip or maybe two without vomiting.  Annie did not vomit, and her stomach at autopsy was engorged.

Meanwhile, we contacted each of the experts cited by BPD.  Each of these authorities – then-Chief Toxicologist Dr. Barry Levine, the Maryland Poison Center and the makers of Bactine – explicitly refutes the opinion attributed to them by BPD.  Citing them as experts, BPD has falsely characterized their expert opinions.  Please feel free to confirm this.  We would be pleased to document it for you!

And the police failed to document Bactine, their presumed agent of death here, with an evidence tent marker in any crime scene photograph!

And the police never explored a human trafficking nexus.  Our private investigator did.  In 2017, she interviewed Justin Strom, serving a 40-year sentence in California for human trafficking in Northern Virginia.  In 2012, a federal prosecutor described Strom as the “CEO” of the largest underage prostitution ring in the history of Fairfax County, our home.  His gang regularly recruited victims from our county’s public high schools.  Strom, who goes by an alias of “Jae” (Annie’s ankle tag?), denied recognizing Annie, but freely told our PI that his gang did frequently use “numbing agents” (such as Bactine) on the girls they targeted.

In December 2017, just a few months ago, our PI located a woman who lived near where Annie’s body was found, and who remembered, with remarkable clarity, being interviewed by BPD the evening of November 1, 2008.  They were inquiring into a report of a woman’s “blood-curdling” scream.  She had not heard it.  But she harked back to that interview the next day, when she saw Annie’s belongings strewn, and heard of Annie’s body being found by police.  She thought then and she still thinks there was a correlation between the reported scream and Annie’s death.  She was never again interviewed by the police.  We never heard about this incident – police responding to a woman’s scream on November 1, 2008 – until December 2017.  It appears clear that BPD never followed up to see if there was a correlation between the scream and Annie’s death.  It’s not too late for someone to do so.  There will be an incident report on that scream.  But we can’t get it.

And finally, Governor, in this matter, please recall:  This is merely a summary of police failings.

Attachment 3 – McCanns June 25, 2013 e-mail to Dean Palmere

From: Mary Jane and Dan McCann
Date: June 25, 2013 10:46:02 PM EDT
To: Dean Palmere <Dean.Palmere@BaltimorePolice.org>
Cc: Dan McCann, "Skinner John <John.Skinner@BaltimorePolice.org" <John.Skinner@BaltimorePolice.org>, judy.pal@baltimorepolice.orgDeanne.Rzeczkowski@BaltimorePolice.organthony.batts@baltimorepolice.orgmayor@baltimorecity.gov
Subject: From the McCanns - Annie McCann's Parents


Dear Colonel Palmere,

Your e-mail below responded to our written concerns that, despite assurances from you and Deputy Commissioner Skinner, the cold case homicide squad was barely investigating our daughter's death, that they showed "no sense of urgency, or even curiosity."  We said that the "check" you and Deputy Skinner had written to us, apparently in good faith, was "bouncing."

You assured us below, without any specifics, that was not the case.  You and Deputy Skinner were satisfied with the pace and diligence of the investigation, and you had "instructed Lt. Jones to keep (us) updated with all aspects of the investigation on a weekly basis."

You added that you would yourself be receiving regular updates from Lt. Jones.  I hope your updates have been better than ours.

It's been more than two months now since you commissioned those weekly updates on "all aspects of the investigation."  We're attaching the sum total, and more, of those updates.  We hope you'll read the attachment.  It won't take long.  But just in case, we can distill it for you, with some simple content analysis:

  • In more than two months, we've received a total of 19 sentences of information that might be considered updates.  (Again, see attached.  Most are more like hints.)  This is "all aspects" of a full-time investigation, more than two months old?  19 sentences?
  • Well, actually, 16 sentences.  Three of those 19 sentences were incremental updates on the forensic analysis of our old family computer.  (For instance, the "Computer Crimes Unit continues to work on analyzing your computer.")  On June 5, we were stunned to learn that the hard drive from the family PC was missing.  Setting aside that extraordinary point of information, and sticking with the simple content analysis, what should we make of the three patently false "updates" on the computer analysis (May 16, May 24, May 31)?  What do you make of them, Colonel?  We get thimblefuls of information, and some of it is false?
  • Most of the other "updates" are hints, like, 'still waiting for lab results,' 'going to speak with ME,' without results of whatever the lab analyzed or the ME said.  Four of the sentences address unsuccessful attempts to contact the current principal of Annie's high school, two mention visiting our local parish church.  We wonder whether -- despite our reports -- there is an awareness that Annie's principal has been retired for years, all her classmates have moved on, as have many of her teachers and the parish priests.  (Our concern for comprehension and retention of the information we give is heightened when we are asked for the address of the church on May 8, and then asked again for the same church's address on June 17.) 
  • In summary, Colonel, the only real update we've gotten in more than two months is that the hard drive is missing.

You won't take our calls, Colonel, and won't meet with us, despite our desperate requests.  Re-read your commitment below -- are you getting those regular updates you said you'd receive?  We sure aren't.

The Commissioner's office says no one will speak with us until the investigation is concluded; in the meantime, we should work with the assigned detectives.  As we said in writing in April, that would be great, provided they work with us.  It just ain't happening.  Nothing's happening.

Please, please, please, Colonel Palmere -- show us where we are wrong here.

Otherwise, can you provide real help?  Can you make something happen?  Can you meet with us?  We're desperate to work discreetly with you and your detectives.

  - Mary Jane and Dan McCann


On Apr 23, 2013, at 6:05 PM, Dean Palmere wrote:

Mr & Mrs McCann:

As a follow up to our conversation today and in an effort to maintain a
consistent flow of accurate and timely information between your family
and the Baltimore Police Department,  I request that you direct all
contact to the case supervisor, Lieutenant Chris Jones.  I want to
ensure that there are no misinterpretations or misunderstanding driven
by multiple sources providing information in this case.  I met with
Lieutenant Jones this afternoon and was advised that you have his
complete contact information to include email , office phone number, and
his cell number should you have any questions.   I have also instructed
Lt. Jones to keep you updated with all aspects of the investigation on a
weekly basis.  

In closing, Deputy Commissioner Skinner and I were fully updated on the
case investigation today.  I will be receiving regular updates from Lt.
Jones; however, it is best that Lt. Jones remain your sole point of
contact regarding the specifics of the investigation.


Dean Palmere
Chief, Investigations & Intelligence Division
Baltimore Police Department
242 W. 29th Street
Baltimore, MD. 21211

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Attachment 4 – Brain Diagram


Attachment 5 – Private Investigator Notes

PARENTS of MURDERED CHILDREN, Greater Portland Chapter Private Investigator & Victim Advocate

Vanessa Ferraro FL License C1600090 Phone: (858) 354-3472

The material contained in this report is confidential. As such, the contents of this report may only be disclosed to those persons involved in the evaluation of claims or otherwise duly authorized to receive such information.

Confidential Investigative Report

File Name: Annie M. McCann Baltimore City Police Department: Case No. 08-08223 Subject: Faulty Autopsy & BPD Errors

Countless hours of mindful, insightful and heartfelt discussions with law enforcement agents and professionals regarding Annie McCann’s cause and manner of death have proven that undoubtedly the death investigation of Annie McCann is questionable. Upon review of Annie McCann's autopsy report an exchange of correspondence via emails, phone calls, and letters were prepared and presented by forensic medical doctors and criminology professionals.


In this report, these specialists noted or reported what the State of Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office overlooked. A week after Annie was buried Detective Robert Dohony telephoned Annie McCann’s parents. Father, Daniel McCann was informed by Detective Dohony that his daughter’s fingerprints were never taken by either the Medical Examiner or by the Baltimore City Police Department crime lab. Annie’s father offered to exhume 16 year old Annie, but Detective Dohony declined his offer. This was the beginning of a series of errors made on the part of the Medical Examiner and BPD. Additionally, there was no chain of custody citing who handled her organs last. As such with all evidence, the chain of custody must be preserved AT ALL TIMES. Knowing their daughter failed to have a proper Christian burial has greatly affected the emotional state of Mr. and Mrs. McCann.

Steps were overlooked during Annie McCann's forensic postmortem examination leading to thwart speculation and innuendo. This has fueled unanswered, partially answered or poorly answered questions in this investigation of an apparently suspicious death. Had proper and thorough applications been performed during this autopsy then perhaps the report would have been proffered as meaningful or conclusive to the parent’s of the victim.

The patterns of injury were never explained by the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland nor were they thoroughly investigated. For example, on page 11 of 1600 page case file 08-8223 the 24 Hour Pending Incident Report, prepared by Investigators Jones and Dohony states,

“Investigators from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner responded to the scene. During the course of the preliminary inspection of the body superficial abrasions to the victim’s forehead, left hip and left hand were noted.”

The victim's hands, arms, and legs were scraped, scratched, and bruised, as all supported in the autopsy report too. The circumstance of her injuries are usually evident of an assault, NOT that of suicide. Abrasions on the face and body of Annie McCann demonstrate signs of a struggle with the assailant. The distribution of injuries on the victim characterize the manner of her injuries; such that a Sergeant with the State Troopers of Maryland Human Trafficking Unit expressed grave concern to the parents after viewing Annie’s autopsy pictures. The Sergeant stated that their daughter potentially may have been a victim of sex trafficking.

Abuse of intentional cigarette burns were on her face and left hand. The gray glove she was found wearing on her left hand had a tear and burnt hole. Additionally, her left hand was marked with what appears to be a burn in the same place as the tear on her left glove. A close range photograph of the victims left hand was never taken at autopsy. Furthermore, the deceased’s hands were NOT protected with bags from the time she was discovered, transported and at autopsy. The victim’s fingers were very bluish in color. This may be an indication of cyanosis which is caused from asphyxiation. However the bluish coloration was not noted by the ME.

Included in the post mortem exam report was injury to the skin and soft tissue to her face and both temporal lobes. Both earlobes were bloodied especially on the right side. Yet, the victim’s hair was not shaven and multiple injuries to the victim’s head were overlooked. The unusual location of where the victim was found and the place of death in question, warranted the removal of head hair to be saved and tested. It may have also been useful to detect some unusual drugs other than lidocaine. Photographs of the left and right profiles of the victim’s face with hair in normal position were missing. Left and right profiles of the victim’s face with hair retracted to reveal the ears were missing.

Nothing was noted about evidence of trauma inside the mouth of the victim but the autopsy photographs clearly show lacerations and chipped front tooth. The visible abrasions and lacerations in her mouth and nostril/nose may have been an attempt to smother the victim. The nose appears broken too. Photographs taken during autopsy did not contain a rules reference scale, an identifying case number, and were not in colored format. Where injuries were present on the victim, photographs fail to provide a scale oriented either perpendicular or parallel to the injury. The mouth was swabbed, but no swabs were taken from the tooth-gum junction and in-between the teeth. The mouth was just swabbed for oral fluid from the oral cavity.

The left side of her body was so marked with contusions, cuts and scrapes that she may have been dragged over a hard concrete surface. During autopsy the neck should have be examined at the conclusion of the autopsy when the blood had drained out of the area and the tissues are dry. Yet Dr. King examined the head and neck first as indicated on page 3 of 7 of the autopsy report. It is in good practice to examine the victim in this order because there is better chance of visually observing injury pattern that may have been caused from strangulation.

Evidence of injury to the victim's neck (C2 vertebrae) was noted during dissection. Injury to the C2 vertebrae is most often fatal and may be an indication of asphyxiation. Additionally, the victim's respiratory system showed signs of petechial hemorrhaging which also can be caused by asphyxiation. If in fact, Annie McCann died from lidocaine intoxication then most likely she would have vomited. There was nothing documented in the autopsy report as such.

Supplemental photographs of close range to demonstrate signs of multiple injuries were missing. The person who took the autopsy photographs was not noted. A description of the camera including the lens “f-number” and focal length, film and lighting system were not included in the autopsy report. Was more than one camera used during autopsy?

There are missing x-rays of the body before she was removed from the pouch, missing x-rays of the body after she was removed from the pouch, missing x-rays of the body before she was undressed, missing x-rays of the body after she was undressed. None of these x-rays were included in the case file.

Although the ME failed to document the victim suffered from a prolapsed rectum the embalmer of the funeral home was deeply disturbed at what he saw, as he prepared her body for a proper burial. The victim was found deceased in prone position yet crime scene photos of the victim clearly reveal pooling of blood on the victim's lower back. Prolapsed rectum and blood pooling on the lower back are an indication the victim was sexually assaulted. Visibly, she was tagged with the stylized letter, “J” on her left ankle.

The Medical Examiner’s diagrams of the victim noted (20) abrasions and (20) contusions. Notations of lacerations were absent from the autopsy report however they were noted on Annie's hip by the embalmer. Also noted in the Medical Examiner's autopsy report were two fairly long cuts, <2” in length on one side and <4” in length on the other side of the victim's upper back. Her left hip/left buttocks was sliced open and cut so deep causing soft tissue hemorrhage.

The autopsy report failed to record the names of all persons present at Annie McCanns autopsy. The time(s) during the autopsy when each person was present are missing. It is unclear how long it took the Medical Examiner to perform the autopsy because the finishing time of the autopsy was never documented. Perhaps BPD could provide the McCann’s a copy of the sign-in sheet to the autopsy room dated November 6, 2008 and the names of the investigators from the ME Office who arrived on-scene November 2, 2008 because the 1600 page report failed to include both.


In 2008 controversy shrouded the Baltimore crime lab. It was discovered that Baltimore crime analysts had contaminated evidence with their own DNA. This revelation of contamination had been on-going for quite some time. Consequently, the city Police Department crime lab director Edgar Koch was terminated on August 19, 2008. Concern of the discovery was expressed by defense attorneys and forensic experts as well as the lack of professionalism in what is considered the biggest and busiest crime lab in the State of Maryland. Furthermore, the crime lab director was not just fired for the contamination issue but he was dismissed for operational issues too.

The cross contamination problem came to light in 2008 when Rana Santos, Baltimore crime lab DNA supervisor began entering employees DNA in the database and comparing them against unknown genetic profiles found in evidence at crime scenes. DNA supervisors had mistakenly believed that DNA samples belonging to lab staff employees had been entered in the DNA database. Inadvertently, the lab employees DNA was sitting on a shelf since 2005. This error has forced the McCanns to be cautious of the inconclusive test results provided to them from this case. Annie’s parents request to be notified in writing that physical trace evidence collected and tested from both crime scenes were compared with BPD employees. Were ALL BPD employee’s DNA entered into the DNA database before Annie McCann was killed on November 1, 2008?


On April 30, 2013 Rana Santos wrote an email to Det. Corey Alston addressing elimination DNA samples. The purpose of DNA supervisor Santos email was to document her conversation with Det. Alston that took place earlier in the morning. Santos would need Alston to gather elimination samples from the victim’s family, the two individuals who admitted to being in Mr. McCann’s Volvo (Bryant Woodley, Jr. and Wayne Truesdale) and the person who was in the car while it was stolen. These elimination samples were never taken from these individuals. Why?

On May 1, 2013 Detective Lt. Christopher Jones emailed Det. Corey Alston the following communication about Rana Santos request for obtaining elimination samples from Baltimore Police Officers. He wrote, “

My understanding is failing to obtain elimination standards does not preclude us from the requested testing, YOU ONLY HAVE TO MAKE A GOOD FAITH ATTEMPT TO COLLECT.”

Does the communication written by Detective Lt. Jones suggest a lack of interest in pursuing DNA evidence?

The crime scene photographs reveal that blood was present on the ground. Were samples collected of that blood? The Evidence Control Unit list does not include that particular sample.


Trace samples run by DNA technician Terri Labbe tested positive for epithelium cells under the victim’s fingernails. Skin cells were also found on swabs taken from 4 areas of the victim's neck. Swabs from evidentiary items that would include a Coca Cola drinking straw, Panera drinking straw, Deer Park drinking water items, and (16) swabs taken from the interior and exterior of Volvo vehicle also tested positive for DNA. BPD declined further testing of these trace samples. Why?

On March 7, 2018 Mr. and Mrs. McCann wrote a letter pleading with Governor Hogan to safeguard the tissue samples and physical trace evidence related to their daughter’s death investigation. On March 19, 2018 BPD revised their policy on evidence retention. On August 9, 2017 Wayne Brooks from BPD Legal Affairs finally responded to my repeated request of BPD policies on death investigation. In the BPD evidence retention policy published April 22, 2011 it included in the opening section named REQUIRED ACTION. Three points were made under this section. They were as follows:

1. Provide for the safekeeping of property, coming into your custody, until it can be returned to its rightful owner of disposed of properly.

2. Handle evidence properly to ensure successful criminal prosecution and accountability

3. If an item has need for additional steps, related specifically to it, follow the below categorized instructions.

This REQUIRED ACTION section was deleted from the revised policy dated March 19, 2018. This revision calls for suspicious time frame.


Annie McCann was killed November 1, 2008. The first responder arrived to the scene at approximately 11:00 p.m. The victim was pronounced dead at 2:39 a.m. on November 2, 2008. At that time (0239 hours) a temperature reading of 86 degrees was taken from the victim and it was noted rigor mortis was just beginning. (Note: A corpse usually drops 2 degrees every half hour.) This places the (5) persons (who admitted seeing Annie McCann in the car) in her company while she was alive and shortly after her death.

If a genetic profile was created of an unidentified suspect, the McCann’s request to have a John Doe warrant prepared; whereas, the unknown suspect’s DNA profile will satisfy the particularity of this arrest warrant.

(Note: Several fingerprints were recovered from the interior of the Volvo and were not identified to any additional people involved in the incident as reported by the Baltimore Field Office of the FBI.) The death investigation of Annie McCann should be considered to be reopened and a John Doe warrant be prepared as soon as possible. This concludes my report of a flawed autopsy and countless errors made by BPD.

Metro Crime Stoppers