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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Associated Press, Sept. 29, Michael Baden did not perform Gabby Petito autopsy
USA TODAY, June 11, 2020, No, the same doctor did not autopsy JFK, MLK, Jeffrey Epstein and George Floyd
Fox News, Sept. 20, Dr. Michael Baden: What the Gabby Petito autopsy will tell us
Teton County, accessed Sept. 29, Coroner
FBI Denver, Sept. 21, Tweet
National Archives, Nov. 22, 1963, Autopsy Report and Supplemental Report
National Archives, accessed Sept. 29, Findings on MLK Assassination
New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner, accessed Sept. 29, Chief Medical Examiner
USA TODAY, Aug. 16, 2019, Jeffrey Epstein's death officially ruled a suicide by New York City's chief medical examiner
Washington Post, Aug. 13, 2019, JFK, O.J. and now Epstein: 'Celebrity pathologist' Michael Baden has seen his share of controversial cases
FactCheck.org, June 9, 2020, Posts Distort Facts on Floyd Pathologist's Role in Past Cases
ABC News, June 1, Independent autopsy finds George Floyd died of homicide by asphyxia
Contributing: Devon Link
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Gabby Petito autopsy wasn't performed by Michael Baden