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Dr. Joshua Perper (born December 17, 1932 in Romaniamarker) is a forensic pathologist and Chief Medical Examiner in Broward County (Fort Lauderdalemarker area) in the United Statesmarker who has gained both national and international notice for his work on several high profile autopsies.


Perper was born in Bacăumarker, Romaniamarker and he escaped the Nazis during World War II and, following the war, the Russians. At the age of 18, moved to Israel, graduating from the Hebrew University of Jerusalemmarker Faculty of Medicine (medical school) in 1960 and Faculty of Law (law school) in 1966. In 1969, he finished post graduate studies in forensic pathology at Johns Hopkins University. He served as Associate Medical Examiner, Senior Research Fellow and then Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore, Marylandmarker from 1969 to 1971. Between 1971 and 1994, while living in Pittsburghmarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, Perper was a toxicologist and then Chief Forensic Pathologist in the Allegheny Countymarker Coroner's Office (now called the Medical Examiner's Office), serving under Cyril Wecht. As a result of legal problems for Wecht, Perper succeeded him as Coroner, which at the time was an elected position. Perper's career in Pittsburgh was interrupted in 1980 when Perper got into a shoving match in front of TV cameras [440113] with Dr. Sanford Edberg, the interim coroner appointed to replace Perper. Perper did not want to surrender control of the office. The two men were actually shoving each other for physical control of the coroner's office. Perper has been Chief Medical Examiner of Broward County, Floridamarker since 1994.

Autopsy of Krissy Taylor

Perper performed the autopsy on Krissy Taylor, the 17-year-old model who died of bronchial asthma after collapsing in her parents' home. Krissy was the younger sister of model Niki Taylor .

Autopsy of Steve Bechler

Dr. Perper performed the autopsy of Steve Bechler after the pitcher's death on February 17th, 2003. According to Perper:"It is my professional opinion that the toxicity of ephedra played a significant role in the death of Mr. Bechler, although it's impossible to define mathematically the contribution of each one of the factors in his unfortunate death due to heatstroke."

During the investigation Perper interviewed Bechler's family. He found that Bechler was overweight, out of shape, was not yet accustomed to the warm and humid weather in South Florida, was on a primarily liquid or semi-liquid diet, did not feel well or eat the night before he collapsed and had high blood pressure, was using Xenadrine and had abnormal liver functions.

Autopsy of Anna Nicole Smith

Perper examined and autopsied the body of Anna Nicole Smith. Since Smith's death, he has been the care taker of the body. He has also had significant involvement in the recent hearing deciding the fate of her body and has made numerous TV appearances on Nancy Grace and various other shows in relation to this. He revealed his findings that her death was due to an accidental lethal combination of therapeutic levels of 3 benzodiazapenes and chloral hydrate. Chloral hydrate was believed to be the major contributing factor. After reviewing evidence in collaboration with legal authorities, he judged the death "accidental" and not suicide or homicide, or death by natural causes. An infection in her left buttock was also a contributory factor.

Personal life

According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Perper was dropped accidentally on his head by his aunt when he was a small child and a blood clot thickened part of his skull, resulting in his uniquely-shaped head.



See also

  • Microscopic Diagnosis in Forensic Pathology ISBN 0398039690
  • When to...CALL THE DOCTOR! Your A-Z Guide to Illness, Injury and Today's Medicine ISBN 1883527112
  • Self-assessment of current knowledge in forensic pathology and legal medicine: 1,100 multiple choice questions and referenced answers ISBN 0874881781

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