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Nueces County's chief medical examiner under criminal investigation

Court documents show that the Texas Rangers, with the help of the District Attorney's Office, are investigating Dr. Adel Shaker.
Credit: KIII TV

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — 3News has confirmed with the Nueces County District Attorney's Office that the County's current chief medical examiner, Dr. Adel Shaker, is under criminal investigation.

A court document that says the Texas Rangers, assisted by DA's investigators, are investigating Dr. Shaker and that he faces a number of potential criminal charges including tampering or falsifying a government record, unauthorized practice of medicine, and abuse of a corpse.

Shaker's attorney said he's not concerned.

"There may be some, some concerns with I guess the administrative side of the ME's office," Attorney Chris Gale said. "It's not going to be something that should be criminally implicated."

Dr. Shaker fired his assistant medical examiner Dr. Sandra Lyden in January for practicing without a license. There's also a claim that both Shaker and Lyden signed off on a botched autopsy. Gale said that from what he has seen, even firing Lyden was questionable.

"So, what I have seen is the Medical Examiner's Office, well before Lyden started, had submitted for an emergency license so that she could practice in what's called an underserved medical area; and so while we're still under these COVID emergency orders from the governor, it's perfectly fine," Gale said.

3News showed the District Attorney's letter to Nueces County Commissioner Brent Chesney because Dr. Shaker is still performing autopsies and is still the chief medical examiner. Dr. Shaker has submitted his retirement letter to the county. His last day on the job would be Oct. 31.

"We are going to work very closely with Dr. Shaker and his attorney to facilitate a very quick retirement," Chesney said. "If something comes from that investigation, that could make things different; but at this point I don't know much about that other than what you've gone and shown me, and we just have to wait and see."

Chesney said the County has had at least one quality pathologist apply for Dr. Shaker's chief medical examiner's job. He also said the County is looking at hiring an administrator who would be in charge of running the office. That would free up the new chief medical examiner to only have to worry about autopsies.

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