Smithsonian forensic anthropologist testifies in infant death trial

GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Tuesday was day two in the trial for a Gloucester County couple accused in the death of their infant son.

10 On Your Side has been following the case of Brian and Shannon Gore since 2011. That’s when deputies got a tip that the parents had been neglecting their 6-year-old daughter by keeping her in a cage. Later, investigators found a box with their son’s remains buried under the backyard shed.

Just days after 7-month-old Connor Gore’s skeleton was dug up, his remains were sent to the medical examiner’s office in Richmond. When they couldn’t figure out a cause of death, Gloucester Investigators called for help from Dr. Doug Owsley, a forensic anthropologist at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Owsley has spent his life examining skeletons.

After his team examined Connor from head to toe, Owsley testified Thursday it was the worst case of undernourishment he has ever seen. In other words, Connor wasn’t getting the food and vitamins that an infant requires.

Owsley showed pictures of Connor’s skeleton next to a normal 7-month-old’s skeleton — Connor’s bones were considerably smaller and thinner. The doctor said his bones were also very fragile. In fact, Connor had half the bone density than an average boy his age. At times, his bones were so thin they were see-through.

The doctor said the boy’s organs needed nutrition so badly, they would take minerals, like calcium, from his bones.

Owsley also said he could tell by the shape of Connor’s skull that he spent most of his life on his back. The back of his skull was flat, when normally it should be rounded. He also had a skull fracture on the right side that was caused by the weakness.

The Gore’s told investigators Connor died in his sleep.

The prosecution rested its case Thursday. The defense will begin calling witnesses Wednesday morning.

Brian and Shannon Gore have already been sentenced for nearly staving to death Connor’s sister and keeping her in a cage.

Comments are closed.