The Death Of Vincent Foster

Dr. Bayer's connection to the FBI

Pathologist, FBI go way back

  By Christopher Ruddy
   Dr. James Beyer, 79, the pathologist at the center of the controversy
   involving young Tommy Burkett's death, also has played a pivotal role
   in the Foster case. Though Beyer is employed by the state of Virginia,
   new information indicates he has strong links with federal
   authorities, particularly the FBI.
   Authorities have assiduously asserted Foster's death to be a suicide,
   with primary evidence being Beyer's autopsy. Bureau officials may have
   good reason to back up Beyer's findings. For starters, Beyer has
   changed his story on significant aspects of the Foster case that could
   show the FBI played a greater role than admitted.
   In an interview Jan. 20, 1994 - just six months after Foster's death
   and before any real controversy arose concerning it - Beyer said that
   an FBI agent and a Secret Service agent, in addition to Park Police
   officers, were present when he conducted his autopsy on Foster.
   Yet the Park Police claim that only their officers were present, and
   Beyer has since recanted. The FBI has tried to distance itself from
   the handling of the initial death investigation by the Park Police,
   and has claimed FBI agents were not present at the autopsy or death
   Beyer's original recollection may also shed light on the lengths to
   which bureau officials have gone to absolve the Park Police of any
   wrongdoing. Since the controversy over the death, FBI agents have
   vigorously supported the suicide conclusion. FBI agents have also
   testified that the Park Police made no significant errors in their
   probe, though outside homicide experts have found many.
   Beyer stated emphatically in his unrehearsed interview in January 1994
   that he had not ruled Foster's death a suicide, only that the death
   was "consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot." He said that in
   Virginia police authorities rule on the death. Beyer also stated he
   had never visited the death scene, did not review crime scene photos,
   and did not even know the caliber of the gun found in Foster's hand.
   Nor, he said, were any officers present who had been at the death
   scene; Pathologists usually like to ask police questions to see if the
   body's state is consistent with how it was found. (The Park Police
   also violated their own procedures by not having such an officer
   The Park Police, and later Special Counsel Robert Fiske, relied
   heavily on Beyer's conclusions. During Senate hearings in 1994, Beyer
   again reversed his position 180 degrees, stating emphatically that he
   had ruled Foster's death a suicide. In an interview last week, Beyer
   again said FBI and Secret Service agents were not present at the
   autopsy. "I don't ever recall saying they were," he said.
   Beyer also backed off a bit from his 1994 Senate testimony, calling
   the determination of suicide a "combined decision" made by him and the
   Park Police. Asked how he could have reached that conclusion without
   the benefit of detectives who were at the scene, or photos of the
   scene, or even knowing the caliber of the gun at the time of the
   autopsy, he said he had several conversations with police after the
   death. Beyer also said the gun's caliber had "no bearing" on his
   Other pathologists, including the former medical examiner of New York,
   Dr. Michael Baden, disagree, suggesting such information would be
   important for any determination.
   Another clue to understanding this puzzle of death may have been
   discovered by Miquel Rodriquez, former lead prosecutor on the Foster
   case under Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. Rodriguez resigned this
   year after his efforts to investigate the case were thwarted by
   higher-ups and FBI officials, the Tribune-Review has reported.
   Rodriguez discovered that Beyer, far from being just an impartial
   state pathologist, has a long association with the FBI and lectured
   for many years at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. Beyer confirmed
   that he has worked with the FBI for 10 years or more. He also has
   served as a consultant to the Pentagon.
   Whether Beyer's connection with the bureau played a role in the FBI's
   handling of key cases is unclear, but the FBI's selective
   investigatory amnesia seems strange.
   In two recent cases - Foster's and the deaths of the two boys - the
   FBI has apparently made its own rules, even dismissing two credible
   autopsies that in the real world show evidence of murder. No matter,
   the press has shown little interest in the case. The FBI's secret
   investigations have now ended with secret reports.
   Likewise, in the Foster case, there has been no second autopsy. And
   key forensic evidence such as blond hairs and carpet fibers found all
   over Foster's clothing could have been from anywhere, one agent told a
   Senate committee.
   To explain the weird circumstances of Foster's death, the FBI has even
   suspended the laws of nature: inanimate carpet fibers "jumped" onto
   his clothing; "bouncing" eyeglasses came to be found 19 feet from
   where Foster's head lay; his "frictionless" shoes picked up not even a
   speck of soil or grass despite his supposed long walk in the park; and
   an "inverse gravity" allowed one stream of blood to flow uphill.

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