03/15/13 — Autopsy is back on baby

View Archive

Autopsy is back on baby

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on March 15, 2013 1:46 PM

Air Force officials will not yet say whether the body found along a Columbus County road Tuesday afternoon is the 15-month-old son of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Senior Airman Matthew Theurer, but a spokesman for the Chief Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill confirmed Thursday that the autopsy has been completed.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations will use those results, which will include an analysis of the cause of death, to decide which of the three charges -- voluntary manslaughter, murder and negligent homicide -- Theurer will face.

OSI Public Affairs Chief Linda Card said this morning that investigators have not received the official coroner's report -- and that it typically it takes six to eight weeks for toxicology reports to come back on cases before the official report is released.

Officials at the Chief Medical Examiner's office said the results of the autopsy will not be released to the media for a minimum of 90 days.

New details, however, are emerging in the death of the little boy, also named Matthew.

A source with knowledge of the events that led to the airman's confinement told the News-Argus that when Theurer failed to report for duty Tuesday, another airman went to check on him -- and that when he arrived, Theurer threatened to commit suicide.

When asked about his son, he said the toddler was gone and that statement, along with the state of the airman's home, led the other airman to take action.

OSI and Security Forces personnel were contacted and Theurer was taken into custody, where he allegedly confessed to dumping the body outside of town after finding young Matthew dead inside his base housing unit.

At that point, investigators contacted the Columbus County Sheriff's Office and asked them to check the location the airman identified as the place he left the body.

Less than an hour later, lawmen made the discovery that landed Theurer in the Sampson County Pre-Confinement Facility.

Once formal charges are filed, Seymour Johnson officials said they will have a better idea how, and when, the legal proceedings will unfold.