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Fact check: Pathologist Michael Baden didn't autopsy Gabby Petito, JFK, MLK or Jeffrey Epstein

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The claim: Dr. Michael Baden performed Gabby Petito's autopsy

Conspiracy theorists claim Gabby Petito, George Floyd, Phil Spector, President John F. Kennedy, Jeffrey Epstein and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. all have something in common: Their autopsies were performed by well-known pathologist Dr. Michael Baden.

"I've not followed the Gabby Petito case, but it's strange to me she had the same medical examiner as JFK, George Floyd, Epstein, MLK and Phil Spector," reads a Sept. 28 Instagram post that accumulated more than 200 likes within a day. "This dude must love the spotlight."

The claim comes as law enforcement officers continue their search for Brian Laundrie, Petito's fiancé. He was named a "person of interest" by authorities but has not been charged in the death of the 22-year-old blogger, whose remains were found Sept. 19 at a campground near Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park.

Other users on Facebook and Instagram have shared similar versions of the post, which includes screenshots of news reports about Baden's involvement in high-profile cases.

While Baden has testified in some of the cases mentioned in the post, he did not serve as the medical examiner and was only commissioned to conduct a private autopsy for Floyd's family.

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The social media users who shared the post did not return requests for comment.

Baden did not perform Petito's autopsy

Claims that Baden performed Petito's autopsy appeared online after the former New York City chief medical examiner appeared on Fox News as an expert discussing the case.

Baden provided comments about what Petito's autopsy would reveal, but he never said he was involved.

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Petito's autopsy was actually conducted by Teton County, Wyoming, coroner Dr. Brent Blue, who did not disclose a cause of death "pending final autopsy results," per an FBI statement.

USA TODAY reached out to Baden for additional comment.

Baden's involvement in other cases

Claims that Baden also autopsied Kennedy, King, Epstein and Floyd have been previously debunked by USA TODAY.

Military pathologists performed Kennedy's autopsy hours after his assassination on Nov. 22, 1963, and medical examiner Jerry Francisco performed King's autopsy after he was shot in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.

Meanwhile, Barbara Sampson, New York City's chief medical examiner, conducted Epstein's autopsy and ruled his Aug. 10, 2019, death a suicide.

Spector's official cause of death was determined by a medical examiner with San Joaquin County sheriff’s office. However, Baden did testify during Spector's murder trial in the death of actress Lana Clarkson.

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Baden was also involved in the investigations of the deaths of Kennedy and King, and he observed Epstein's autopsy examination. He was commissioned by Floyd's family to perform a second autopsy with Dr. Allecia Wilson.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Baden performed Petito's autopsy. Her autopsy was conducted by a coroner in Teton County. Baden has testified in high-profile cases mentioned in the post, but he did not perform the official autopsies. He did perform a private, independent autopsy for the Floyd family.

Our fact-check sources:

Contributing: Devon Link

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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Gabby Petito autopsy wasn't performed by Michael Baden

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