McCann's family turns up the heat
The family of Fairfax, Va. teen Annie McCann, who was found dead in an East Baltimore housing project last year, is stepping up pressure on police and City Hall. Police say McCann committed suicide, but her death remains shrouded in mystery - no one is quite sure why she was in Baltimore, and her death has been attributed to ingesting Lidocaine, a liquid used to treat pierced ears. Those are just two of the main questions being raised, but there are many more.
While police say the situation clearly represents a suicide, Annie's parents are committed to getting answers. A letter sent this morning to Deputy Mayor Christopher Thomaskutty shows that the family has retained high-powered attorney John Q. Kelly - of Natalee Hollaway fame - and forensic pathologist Michael Baden, who has been a consultant/lead pathologist or expert court witness in the the OJ Simpson and Phil Spector murder trials, among many other high-profile cases.
Their letter is reprinted below:
Dear Deputy Mayor Thomaskutty:
We are writing in follow-up to the month-old request from our attorney, John Q. Kelly, that your police department re-open the investigation into the death of our daughter, Annie McCann, in November 2008.
Since at least March 2009, and probably as early as November 2008, the Baltimore Police Department concluded that Annie killed herself by drinking from a partial container of Bactine, an over the counter medication containing a tiny amount of lidocaine.
Mr. Kelly provided you the opinion of renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden. To produce the levels of lidocaine reported at autopsy, Dr. Baden concludes, Annie would have to have ingested several containers of Bactine. Consulted on autopsies from JFK to Michael Jackson, Dr. Baden finds no reliable basis to label Annie's death as a suicide.
Mr. Kelly also provided you with the written report of Bayer, the maker of Bactine. Demonstrating remarkable corporate candor, Bayer reports that "the amount of lidocaine in a single 5 ounce bottle (of Bactine) would not be expected to produce death."
Shortly after Mr. Kelly's letter, we separately reported an apparent anomaly to you. You had relayed to us the police report that "No fingerprints were recovered from the Bactine bottle." As we wrote you on November 10, Annie's unknown prints and our known prints should have been all over the bottle, and easily recoverable. Where would they have gone? Who would have a motive for wiping prints off that bottle?
We believe there are exactly two reasons, and no more, for the police conclusion. First, "Annie’s and only Annie’s DNA" was found on the bottle of Bactine -- as if such evidence could not have been forced from Annie, or easily planted after her death. Second, a few rambling and confused notes from Annie. Similar notes would be found in a book bag search at any American high school. The fact that teenagers write such notes does not authorize warrants for their death.
Police investigations should stand on facts and sound analysis, not conjecture. The hard facts and analysis in this case point to murder or manslaughter. Fundamentally: How in the world did so much lidocaine, a lethal amount, get into our daughter's body? A sheltered suburban teenager, Annie -- like us -- never heard of lidocaine in October 2008.
Against the opinion of a world class specialist, and against the uniquely informed opinion of the makers of Bactine, your police hierarchy is clinging to a theory that has completely disintegrated. Annie did not kill herself with Bactine. That is the police theory, and it is inescapably wrong.
We know that your office and the Mayor's office have been pre-occupied of late. Still, it has been a month since Mr. Kelly's letter to you, and our reported anomaly. We fear that, more than 13 months since our daughter's death, there has been no open-minded investigation into Annie's death by the only agency to investigate her death.
Will your police department re-open the investigation into Annie's death, Mr. Thomaskutty? Much basic police work remains to be done. Given the right leadership, even a year late, your strong and smart police officers and detectives are still capable of solving this mystery.
Please provide your response by reply e-mail, or to our attorney or to JusticeForAnnie@gmail.com.
Mary Jane and Dan McCann