Medical examiner gives gruesome details of girl's death

NORWICH – Twelve-year-old baby sitter Shyanne Somers died within minutes after being hit by a truck in July 2007, according to the expert testimony of a medical examiner.

Forensic Pathologist Dr. James Terzian, who performed the autopsy on Somers, testified for the prosecution in the second degree murder trial of George Ford Jr. Tuesday, saying the girl suffered from massive blunt force injuries, breaking numerous bones, rupturing internal organs and even fracturing her skull. Although the injuries would have rendered Somers unconscious, Terzian said stress damage found inside her heart and chest cavity indicated the moment of death took place minutes after the initial impact.

“She had stress hemorrhages in the heart, and those take a few minutes to develop,” Terzian said.

During direct examination by District Attorney Joseph A. McBride, Terzian also said he found fluid in Shyanne’s eyes that tested “weakly positive” for THC, the active chemical in marijuana.

However, on cross-examination by defense attorney Randel Scharf, Terzian said blood and urine tests later performed on the victim came back negative for the substance.

The pathologist said he administered a “rape kit” on the victim, which later was found to be negative. He said he found no evidence of trauma from any sexual activity.

Readings taken from Somers’ body at Chenango Memorial Hospital led Terzian to estimate that the girl’s time of death was “somewhere between midnight and 4 a.m.,” he said.

Ford, 43, of Piscataway, N.J., is charged with the July 2007 second degree murder of the Otselic girl. Ford arrived at Chenango Memorial Hospital with the victim’s body at 4:40 a.m., claiming he accidentally ran over the girl four hours earlier, while turning his truck around on Will Warner Road in the Town of Otselic. Ford told police he was upset over the scene and became disoriented on his way to the hospital, causing the journey to take over four hours. Police initially charged Ford with first degree reckless endangerment.

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