Dr. H. Wayne Carver II, the former Connecticut chief medical examiner whose office examined the bodies of victims of the state’s most infamous homicides, including the children and educators killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, has died. He was 67.
Carver died Thursday night at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, said Dr. James Gill, current chief medical examiner. Carver’s death was natural, he said, but the exact cause was not immediately clear.
Carver, a portly man known for his dark sense of humor, joined the medical examiner’s office in 1983 and headed the office from 1989 until his retirement in 2013.
His most difficult day, he said, was the massacre at Sandy Hook in Newtown on Dec. 14, 2012, when 20 children and six adults were gunned down.
“I’ve been at this a third of a century,” he said during a media interview after the school shooting. “It’s probably the worst I have seen or the worst that … any of my colleagues have seen.”
He also investigated the killing of Helle Crafts, of Newtown, whose husband, Richard, fed her body through a woodchipper in 1986. Before the trial, Carver put a euthanized pig through one so jurors could compare the bone fragments with a few ounces of evidence that prosecutors said were the remains of Helle Crafts. His work helped convict Richard Crafts of murder.
Carver, who lived in Old Saybrook, also was a key investigator in the case of serial killer Michael Ross, who killed six women in eastern Connecticut and two in New York in the 1980s and was executed in 2005. He spent more than 17 years on the case at victims’ burial sites and testifying in trials and retrials.
Carver played a prominent role in numerous other murder cases, including the Cheshire home invasion in 2007, when a mother and her two daughters were killed after hours of being terrorized by two convicted burglars now serving life in prison.
Carver was born in St. Louis, raised in Skokie, Illinois, and attended his first year of premed studies while a high school senior in an accelerated program at Brown University. He did his residency and pathology training at the University of Chicago and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.