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Noguchi says Monroe case should be reopened

LOS ANGELES -- Former Coroner Thomas Noguchi, who conducted the autopsy on Marilyn Monroe in 1962, Wednesday suggested there is evidence indicating the actress did not take her own life and that the case should be reopened.

Noguchi ruled the death a suicide in his original investigation, a finding that was confirmed by the District Attorney's Office in a second probe 20 years later.

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'She had bruises on her back and near the back of the hip that have never been fully explained,' Noguchi said in an interview at a function in San Diego aired on KABC-TV Wednesday night.

The former coroner also said he had saved specimens of the contents of the star's stomach and intestines, 'but before I had a chance to study (them), the specimens were no longer available, which might give the indication to the public that somehow they had something to hide.'

'Murder?' a reporter asked.

'Could be,' Noguchi replied.

The reporter also said Noguchi has joined those calling for a third investigation of the death. Charles Darling, the show's executive producer, said Noguchi said he thought authorities are obligated to reopen the investigation.

Noguchi was not immediately available to elaborate on his remarks, but his lawyer, Godfrey Isaac, said he had recently spoken with Noguchi about the Monroe case and said he was sure Noguchi did not think the actress was murdered.

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In his autobiography, 'Coroner,' published in 1983, Noguchi wrote, 'In my opinion, the official conclusion stated the situation correctly (if evasively): 'probable suicide.' I would call it 'very probable.''

But he also said in the book that until full FBI files and other documents in the case were made public, 'controversy will continue to swirl around her death' and 'no one will ever be able to say definitely what happened.'

Noguchi's book also stated the stomach contents were not analyzed because the physical evidence 'pointed so overwhelmingly to suicide that the head toxicologist apparently felt there was no need to do further tests.'

The book said the media noted that omission several days later 'and I wanted to rectify the mistake,' but could not because 'the toxicologist, thinking the case was closed, had disposed of the organs.'

The foreman of the county grand jury was ousted earlier this week in the latest furor over Monroe's death and renewed calls, largely based on questions raised in two new books about the blond sex symbol, for another investigation.

The new foreman said he did not think the case should be reopened.

Monroe was found dead of an overdose of sleeping pills Aug. 5, 1962, at her home.

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Several writers have tried to establish a link to her death to President John F. Kennedy or his brother, Robert, both of whom were rumored to have had affairs with the actress.

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