Louisiana coroner: Decomposed bodies will complicate prosecution's case

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A Louisiana coroner said there is a lack of physical evidence of crimes by nursing homes and hospitals following Hurricane Katrina because the bodies were so badly decomposed.

Orleans Parish Coroner Frank Minyard listed the cause of death for the 34 victims of St. Rita's nursing home and more than 40 corpses from Memorial Medical Center as "Katrina related." There was no physical evidence that the bodies were murdered or euthanized, he said. Toxicology reports likely will not yield anything either.
 
Still, prosecutors plan to pursue their cases. They are planning to back up their cases based on what investigators found following the storm, said a spokesman for Attorney General Charles Foti.
 
St. Rita's owners Salvador A. Mangano and his wife, Mable, were charged with 34 counts of negligent homicide after the same number were found dead when the storm subsided.
(Published 11-4-05)