DA: Ismael Lopez case can't move forward because medical examiner moved out of state

SOUTHAVEN, MS (WMC) - The investigation into a deadly police shooting in Southaven can't move forward because a medical examiner moved out of state.

Ismael Lopez was shot and killed by a Southaven police officer in July last year. The autopsy is complete, but the doctor who did the autopsy has not written the report, and it appears investigators and the Mississippi State Medical Examiner's Office are not sure why.

"They have a lot of information that they could move forward on absent an autopsy report," Lopez family attorney Murray Wells said.

District Attorney John Champion said investigators are waiting on the report that has not been released.

The doctor who did the autopsy--Dr. Lisa Funte--has left the Mississippi State Medical Examiner's Office and is now the medical examiner in Maine.

Janice Broach called the Maine office and left a message. She spoke with Sam Howell--director of the Mississippi Crime lab--who said Dr. Funte is still under contract in Mississippi to write reports for autopsies she has done even though she is in Maine.

The Southaven officers told investigators they went to the Lopez house mistakenly. They actually should have been across the street.

They said Lopez came to the door with a gun and that's when the officer shot him. Lopez's wife disputes that account.

Wells believes investigators have enough information to determine if the officer was at fault without the written autopsy.

"The crime scene photos are there. They had an opportunity to enter the premises, to inspect the premises, to know where he ended up--where Mr. Lopez's final resting place was, how far it was from the door," Wells said.

The man who answered the door at the Lopez's Southaven home did not want to comment.

It is not clear why Dr. Funte has not written the report. Champion said he needs the autopsy report to make a determination on the case.

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