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Family outraged after EBR Coroner's office misidentifies murder as a drug overdose

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BATON ROUGE - The family of a man who was killed on New Year's Day is trying to figure out how an investigator with the East Baton Rouge Coroner's Office managed to classify a murder as a drug overdose.

Following that classification, the family was allowed inside their home to clean up. It wasn't until the next day when the funeral home alerted investigators that they found a gunshot wound in Joah Ross' chest. That's when family members realized their loved one was murdered.

"I feel guilty, I feel guilty," said Jamie Edwards, Joah Ross' sister. "I'm the one that wiped it away. I truly feel guilty. That's why I'm fighting so hard for him now. I messed up for him, and now I have to fix it."

East Baton Rouge Coroner Dr. Beau Clark doesn't typically avoid interviews. Monday, however, he said he would not talk about this on camera due to the pending homicide investigation.

Clark said the investigator who investigated the scene will be formally disciplined for violating policies and procedures by not examining the body properly and missing the bullet hole. Clark said it was an honest mistake and there are no excuses. He added that policies and procedures would likely change when an after-action review is completed.

"I feel like they've done us a grave injustice starting out," Edwards said. "Now there's no way of knowing what we've wiped away from the crime scene."

Anyone with information related to the fatal shooting is urged to contact the Violent Crimes Unit at (225) 389-4869 or Crime Stoppers at (225) 344-7867.

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