Keith Warren’s Family Continues Fight for Truth in 1986 Hanging

Keith Warren’s Family Continues Fight for Truth in 1986 Hanging

A young African American schedule to begin his college career at North Carolina Central University the fall of 1986 was found hanging from a tree July 30 of that year. Keith Waddell Warren, 19, was the victim of foul play and a possible cover up by the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) . It was the findings of a noted forensic scientist who examined his exhumed remains seven years after his death. Warren’s family secured the services of renowned forensic pathologist, Isidore Mihalkis, MD, after the State of Maryland Medical Examiner’s office declared the death a suicide even though there was no criminal investigation or comprehensive autopsy conducted.

Warren’s mother, Mary Chambers Couey, was determined to find the truth concerning her sons death and the events that followed. Couey died on May 25, 2009 and the search for answers now fall with her daughter and Warren’s younger sister, Sherri Warren.

“To know that my big brother died alone, hung from a tree and left there for the world to view, continues to haunt me,” says his devoted sister. “My mother went to her grave wanting justice for our family and I now have that same fervor to avenge his brutal murder that was covered up.”

According to the family’s press release, details of the case are as follows:

The family was notified of the death about 5 hours after the body was found. The body was immediately taken to a funeral home for embalming; no criminal investigation or comprehensive autopsy was performed. The family was not informed prior to the embalming. The clothing that he was wearing when found was not his own. The tree from which Keith Warren was hanged was cut down quickly and taken into “evidence” by MCPD but cannot be found. There was no evidence of a criminal investigation, no yellow tape, no questioning of witnesses or other steps to evaluate if a crime had occurred.

There are many more instances of questionable behavior on the part of the MCPD and the coroner’s office. The facts do not add up and the family engaged the services of a renowned forensic pathologist, Isidore Mihalkis, MD, seven years after Keith Warren’s murder. The body was exhumed and the findings were startling. “Toxicological findings are incompatible with the autopsy findings and in fact do not support a hanging diagnosis,” stated Dr. Mihalkis. Specifically the toxicology analysis revealed abnormally elevated amounts of tricholormethane, a solvent found in paints and lacquer. The pathologist, based on the high levels of this chemical in the victim’s body, concluded that severe mental confusion would have resulted and impaired decision-making and routine actions. “I do not believe that he would have the ability to hang himself, and for that matter he would not have had the ability to make the decision about hanging himself.” In this doctor’s expert opinion, the death must be investigated as a homicide.

“We have simply asked for a criminal investigation and answers to the inconsistencies which are apparent,” says Keith Warren’s baby sister Sherri. “My brother, just like any American or human being, deserves a full investigation of his death and I will not rest until he has justice.” The family has created a website to keep the public abreast of developments

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