Re-autopsy of Jordan’s Body in New York is Inconclusive on Issue of Violence

A report on the re-autopsy in New York of the body of Charles H. Jordan, executive vice-chairman of the Joint Distribution Committee, who disappeared in Prague August 16, and whose body was found in a Prague river four days later, was received today by Louis Broido, JDC chairman.

The re-autopsy, which followed an earlier autopsy by Czech pathologists in Prague, was performed by Dr. Henry Siegel, executive deputy chief medical examiner of the City of New York, and Dr. Russell S. Fisher, chief medical examiner of the State of Maryland, in the presence of Dr. William Antopol, a pathologist and chief of laboratories of Beth Israel Medical Center, New York City, and Dr. Alexander Gonik, director of the health department of JDC headquarters in Geneva,

“We found no evidence of trauma such as fractures of any part of the body, including the skull or injury to the neck,” the report stated. “There was no evidence of a penetrating wound. However, the advanced state of decomposition could have obliterated evidence of superficial trauma such as bruises. The state of decomposition of the body is consistent with a body having been immersed in water under the reported climatic conditions for a period ranging from two to 10 or more days.

“In addition certain organs were retained in Prague and we have not had the opportunity to examine them as yet and therefore cannot draw any final conclusions concerning trauma. The absence of the proper organs did not permit us to confirm or deny the diagnosis of death by drowning.

“We may be able to draw further conclusions after receiving and examining other tissues and organs which are now being sent to New York. It should be emphasized that the determination of the cause of death can only be arrived at in many cases after a study and proper interpretation of all the factors uncovered, following: 1) A complete investigation at the scene of death; 2) a complete autopsy; and 3) certain ancillary tests, e.g., toxicological analyses and microscopic examination of the tissues and body fluids. This applies to the present case.

“As is apparent, all the material and data necessary to arrive at the cause of death is not yet available. A full report and conclusion will be prepared after completion of all the tests that can be made. Certain of these tests may take several weeks to finish.”

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