Deposition Part 2: 79 pages
There are only a few points I’d like to make on the second part of the Warlick deposition, taken November 7, 1979:
First, we return to the question of why Dan Warlick collected the nasal blood swab. In this section of the deposition, Warlick admits that he took this blood sample to use to “detect any drugs or compounds that would be in the nose and possibly had been inhaled through the nose.” [Part 2, Page 11] This obviously refers to cocaine, primarily.
The question of why Warlick took the blood sample to test for cocaine goes hand-in-hand with the question of whether drugs were involved in Elvis’s death, and whether Warlick pursued that line of investigation.
It appears that Warlick wasn’t too interested in Dr. Bell’s position on the death, and his suspicion (without evidence, granted) that the death may be drug-related. But note that Warlick didn’t discuss this with Dr. Bell, so at that time he didn’t know anything about Bell’s use of the term “OD,” and why he might have placed a question mark after that term. After seeing the note from Bell, Warlick then went to Graceland, asked a few perfunctory questions about Elvis’s health and medications (to differentiate between that and “drug use”), and took no action or investigative steps to learn anything more about the prescriptions being written for Elvis by his doctor, nor about Elvis’s recent health situation (see below). He then returned to Baptist where he took a nasal blood sample…so that they could test for cocaine. See the strange disconnect here?
What changed in his mind between the time he was at Graceland, and the time he decided to take this nasal blood sample?
To close on this point, I’ll say it again: Warlick is aware of the question of drugs being involved in the death (Bell’s suspicions), but ignores those suspicions, asks Elvis’s doctor and friends nothing about drug use beyond typical prescriptions for known health issues, and THEN goes back to Baptist and takes a nasal swab to test for cocaine. This sequence includes is a massive investigative gap.
Next, we go to the autopsy suite and find that Warlick was having a “general discussion” with Dr. Roger Haggitt about cocaine, but Warlick notes that this discussion was not about the patient at the autopsy. Think about that. Warlick ignored any question of drugs when he was speaking to people at Graceland a few hours earlier, and yet at the autopsy the topic of cocaine comes up in a discussion not about Elvis Presley, and subsequent to this discussion Warlick, without direction, obtains a nasal blood sample from Elvis Presley and removes it from the autopsy suite and places it in his refrigerator in the Medical Examiner’s office. He does not contact anyone else about the topic of cocaine, and maintains in the deposition that the cocaine discussion did not pertain to Elvis.
Did the subject of cocaine flick a switch in Warlick’s brain and lead him to believe a test should be conducted to detect cocaine? It’s possible, but why didn’t he mention this to Dr. Francisco? Why didn’t he ask any questions of Dr. Nichopoulos? Why didn’t he mention this blood sample to anyone other than Dr. Bell, whom he discussed the blood sample with after he had taken it to his refrigerator? Why did he remove and store the nasal blood sample without telling anyone on the autopsy team?
Warlick said that he did not know if blood was taken to be submitted as a sample for testing. Dr. Muirhead was asked in his deposition what fluid samples were obtained, and he said, “Blood.” Warlick was in the room, so how did he not know that blood had been obtained for testing? And why would a Medical Examiner’s investigator not know (or reasonably expect) that blood would be submitted for testing?
Question: And were there blood samples?
Answer (Warlick): I do not know from firsthand knowledge if there were blood samples. It was my understanding that the samples were to be blood, liver, kidney, brain, bile, cerebral spinal fluid, and urine. That’s the normal complement of tissue samples that we normally took. And in doing an autopsy of a forensic nature, which is the only type that I basically was trained to do, those were the samples that you try to get in every case.”
[Note: Warlick uses the term “forensic” in this response; forensic means, “relating to or denoting the application of scientific methods and techniques to the investigation of crime.”]
So, Warlick expected there to be a blood sample taken and submitted for testing, yet he also took the nasal swab, and then failed to tell anyone on the autopsy team.
Warlick says that during the autopsy he spoke with Dr. Haggitt, Dr. Chesney, and “one or two” other physicians. Warlick discussed the organs (weight and appearance) with these two physicians. Dr. Muirhead said in his deposition that Warlick discussed with him the findings at Graceland, primarily the details of the death scene and the position of the body. Warlick does not mention speaking with Dr. Muirhead.
Question: Was there to be taken another nasal swab such as you took?
Answer (Warlick): Not to my knowledge.
What an interesting response. Warlick takes a nasal blood swab, doesn’t mention it to anyone on the autopsy team, and yet he does not expect there to be “another” nasal swab taken by the pathologists and submitted for testing. If he didn’t expect a nasal swab to be taken (the only nasal swab, according to the work the autopsy team was doing), then why didn’t he speak up and offer the sample that he had taken? If he thought it important enough to take the sample, why didn’t he think it important enough to submit it for testing, when he admits that he did not expect a nasal swab to be taken by others? See the illogical path Warlick was on?