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Community Updates: Friday, April 22

The results of an independent autopsy in the Patrick Lyoya case are released; The Grand Rapids Public Museum announces its annual collections & cocktails fundraiser; and more
A view of Plaza Towers and the Blue Bridge.

A view of Plaza Towers and the Blue Bridge. /Ann-Marie Jurek

The Results of an Independent Autopsy in the Patrick Lyoya Case are Released

Two weeks after he was shot and killed by a GRPD officer, Patrick Lyoya's family and their legal team have conducted an independent autopsy on his body. Attorneys Ben Crump and Ven Johnson held a press conference on Tuesday, April 19, to present the results. They were joined by Dr. Werner Spitz, a world-renowned forensic pathologist that has testified at the trials of Casey Anthony, O.J. Simpson, and Richard Ramirez and been consulted on the autopsies of Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John F. Kennedy. Dr. Spitz performed the autopsy on Patrick's body at the Gillespie Funeral Home in Grand Rapids. According to his report, there was no trauma present (such as rib fractures) inside the body. The only injury that he found was a single gunshot wound to the back of the head, likely from a large-caliber bullet. The "missile" entered the back of the head from "slightly left of midline," passed "partially through and partially above" the brain, and continued towards the upper right part of the skull until it got lodged underneath the skin near the right temple. Dr. Spitz believes that Patrick Lyoya would have died immediately after the gun was discharged. He also believes that Patrick was conscious immediately before the time of death and would have been aware that a gun was pressed against the back of his head. 

On April 13, Dr. Stephen D. Cohle, MD (the Kent County Chief Medical Examiner) released a statement about the autopsy he had performed on Patrick's body and to clarify the policies and procedures of his office. "The full autopsy report will be completed as soon as the toxicology and tissue test results are received, but the report will not be publicly available until the Michigan State Police concludes its investigation," he stated. "This is the standard operating procedure to ensure the integrity of the investigative process." He also responded to public backlash over the fact that the Lyoya family was not initially allowed to see Patrick's body. "Family viewing of bodies is not permitted at our facility as we are not equipped to provide the privacy family members need in these circumstance," he explained. "This does not mean the family loses the ability to view Mr. Lyoya; rather, the viewing is postponed until his body can be transferred to a funeral home."

Patrick Lyoya's funeral was held on Friday, April 22 at the Renaissance Church of God in Christ in Grand Rapids.

The press conference held by Attorney Ben Crump, Attorney Ven Johnson, and Dr. Werner Spitz was livestreamed on Facebook by WOODTV8 and can be viewed below:


The Grand Rapids Public Museum Announces its Annual Collections & Cocktails Fundraiser

On Wednesday, May 11, the Grand Rapids Public Museum will be hosting its annual Collections & Cocktails fundraiser. The event focuses on the Museum's Collections and GRPM's commitment to preservation and education. This year's highlight is the "Marvels of Medicine Collection," which is made up of medical instruments and innovations from all over the world -- past and present. There will also be artifacts on display that were developed right here in West Michigan.

Many local healthcare organizations have contributed medical equipment to the permanent GRPM Collections, including the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine and the Van Andel Institute. Others, such as CareLinc Medical Equipment, Mercy Health, Life EMS Ambulance, and some local academic institutions (GVSU, MSU, UMich, etc.) have curated displays to show the evolution of medicine in West Michigan. "We look forward to sharing artifacts from the GRPM's Collections and curated displays from local healthcare display partners, for the community to enjoy," said GRPM Science Curator, Dr. Cory Redman. "The Museum's Medical Collection showcases the evolution of medicine and its various fields through a variety of unique artifacts ranging from 1915 to today's modern technology."

The funds raised from the event will be used in the preservation of the Museum's 250,000+ artifacts and towards its many educational programs. Amy Van Andel, the Chair of the GRPM's Collections & Cocktails Committee, stated that:

"Collections & Cocktails provides the Museum an annual opportunity to showcase a specific category of its Collections while raising funds to support education and preservation efforts. This year, the Museum is excited to offer immersive displays highlighting the accomplishments of local healthcare organizations and their contributions to the advancement of our city. By supporting Collections & Cocktails, you're contributing the Museum's efforts to not only enrich our local community now and for generations to come, but also to provide expanded educational opportunities and worldwide access to the Collections."

To learn more about the Collections & Cocktails fundraiser or to find ticketing information, visit the GRPM website or call (616) 929-1728.


Also in the News:

  • GVSU's Amorphophallus Titanum (also known as a "Corpse Flower") bloomed on Monday, April 18 inside the Barbara Kinschi Greenhouse. The flower only remains open for 24 to 48 hours and emits an odor similar to "rotting flesh". The plant is not expected to bloom again for another seven to ten years.  


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