FACT CHECK: Did Michael Baden Perform Gabby Petito’s Autopsy?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A viral Instagram post claims former New York City chief medical examiner Dr. Michael Baden performed Gabby Petito’s autopsy.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by JesusIsKING (@x.tg.x_)

Verdict: False

While Baden did appear on Fox News as a medical expert to provide commentary on Petito’s case, he did not perform her autopsy. Petito’s autopsy was conducted by the Teton County coroner.

Fact Check:

Petito, a 22-year-old woman who went missing on a road trip with her fiancé, was found dead Sept. 19 in Wyoming, with her death later being ruled a homicide by authorities, CBS News reported. Her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, who is the subject of a manhunt, was named a person of interest in her case and has been charged with unauthorized use of a debit card, according to the outlet.

Social media users have since been sharing a screen grab of a tweet claiming Baden served as the medical examiner for Petito’s case and performed her autopsy. It includes images of articles about Baden and other high-profile deaths.

“I’ve not followed the Gabby Petito case, but it’s strange to me that she had the same medical examiner as JFK, George Floyd, Epstein, MLK and Phil Spector,” reads text inside the screen grab. “Guy must love the spotlight.”

But, contrary to the post’s claim, Baden did not perform Petito’s autopsy. It was conducted by Teton County Coroner Brent Blue, who ruled her death a homicide but did not disclose her cause of death, CBS News reported. The FBI’s Denver division also said on Twitter that Blue performed Petito’s autopsy.

“Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue confirmed the remains are those of Gabrielle Venora Petito, date of birth March 19, 1999,” reads the tweet. “Coroner Blue’s initial determination for the manner of death is homicide. The cause of death remains pending final autopsy results.”

Baden has made appearances on Fox News as a medical expert to provide commentary on Petito’s case. For instance, he explained Sept. 20 on “Fox and Friends” what Petito’s autopsy could potentially reveal. At no point did he say he was involved in the autopsy.

He said the autopsy “should tell us whether there were any signs of violence or if possibly the death is natural or if they need to do toxicology to find out if there’s any medication or drugs involved,” according to a transcript of his “Fox & Friends” appearance on Sept. 20.

The image on Instagram also gets Baden’s involvement in other high profile cases wrong. (RELATED: Did A Member Of The FDA Vaccine Advisory Panel Say, ‘We Are Killing More People Than We Are Saving With The Shots’?) 

While Baden did attend deceased convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy as an independent observer, he did not perform it himself, according to The New York Times. He also testified at Phil Spector’s 2007 trial but, according to the Los Angeles Times, was not the one who performed the autopsy on the victim in that case.

Documents from the National Archives show President John F. Kennedy’s autopsy was conducted by military doctors, while Martin Luther King Jr’s was performed by Shelby County medical examiner Dr. Jerry T. Francisco. Baden did serve as a top pathologist on the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which probed King’s and Kennedy’s deaths.

Baden conducted an independent autopsy of George Floyd, a black man who died after a then-Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes, according to ABC News.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
Follow Elias on Twitter Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected].


FACT CHECK: Does This Picture Show An Advertisement For An 'Elite Global Leaders' Conference Being Held In Rome?
FACT CHECK: Is Chelsea Clinton Married To The Nephew Of George Soros?
FACT CHECK: Doctored Photo Disparages Michelle Obama's Appearance
FACT CHECK: Viral Post Claims The 'Infrastructure Bill On Page 2385' Contains A 3% Federal Property Tax