Family fights for justice for late father

A North Texas family is fighting for justice for their deceased father, who is a decorated Korean War hero.

They want his death in Florida investigated as a homicide and claim the medical examiner botched the investigation.

FOX 4’s Lori Brown first started investigating this when she worked in Orlando.

Three months after Brown’s report, which questioned why the Florida medical examiner never performed an autopsy despite questions from the deceased man’s North Texas family, a state panel is now calling for the medical examiner to be put on probation.

John McDonough's children say he was the type who never gave up.

When he ran out of ammunition in a battle in the Korean War, he fought his way out with shovels.

His family says at 85, he was still excited about life and going to his grandson's graduation.

But his children suddenly learned that he was in home Hospice care. Just days later, he died.

McDonough’s son Tim, who is an economics professor at SMU, Tim’s brother, Chris, who is a former homicide detective, and their sister, Moe Roddy, who is a nurse in California, teamed up to get justice for their dad.

“Homicide 101 tells you you have to have an open mind…right now, we have a lot of closed minds,” said Chris.

With each of their areas of expertise, they discovered problems with their dad's death.

They questioned why he was admitted to Hospice under his second wife's power of attorney.

“We can find nothing in the record that suggests he was consulted and certainly nothing that he consented to Hospice,” said Tim.

Then there's the concern about how much morphine he received. A toxicology report shows he had four times the lethal limit.

Medical records show it was administered by his step granddaughter, a nurse, 18 hours before his death.

“The breakdown in the system is there are not checks and balances,” said Chris.

But the medical examiner did not perform an autopsy.

This month, an investigative panel called the medical examiner "careless" and said he "failed to accurately determine the cause of death.”

But that has not changed the official death certificate, which still lists the wrong cause of death -- a form of leukemia their father did not have -- and calls it an accident.

“This absurd juxtaposition of accident and leukemia, which he didn't have anyway, has confounded all the agencies,” said Tim.

The death certificate matters because the sheriff's office considers this case closed unless the medical examiner determines the cause was a homicide.

The medical examiner did not return FOX 4’s call for comment on Friday.

The family’s push for justice has revealed that the medical examiner had made mistakes with 11 other cases.