Funeral Home Finds Bullet Wound; Man's Death Now Suspicious

A funeral home discovering a bullet wound has lawmen in Wayne County opening up a suspicious death investigation.

Deputies say at first they believed the death of 62-year-old James Best Tuesday morning was natural causes because of his health problems. But while shaving the body, the funeral home discovered a small gunshot wound under the man's chin.

Now the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and the SBI is investigating the man's death. Deputies say a friend found Best unresponsive Tuesday morning at his home on Highway 111 south of Goldsboro. There was no sign of robbery or any other type of disturbance at the man's home.

An autopsy is being done today at the Pitt County Medical Examiner's Office.


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  • by Donna Pipkin Location: Goldsboro on Oct 14, 2010 at 09:55 AM
    Jimmy was a rather large man. Very kind and tender hearted. When I read the story I asked my daughter, who is a paramedic, how this could have happened. She said that if there were no visable signs of trauma and there obviously was no gun in sight, then it is usually rulled as natural cause. She also said that EMS cannot rule the cause of death in any situation. They are not allowed to remove the body either. In cases in which the person is already dead with no signs of life, they wait for the coroner to arrive on the scene. The corner then does a preliminary cause of death.Yet I still fine it amazing that a gunshot wound did not produce visable blood and trauma. Perplexing!
  • by Another EMS Pro Location: eastern nc on Oct 14, 2010 at 09:45 AM
    I have responded to numerous suicides over the years...in response to everyone's questions about "wheres the blood" small calibur guns such as a 22 leave little to no blood and a very small enterance wound and hardly ever an exit wound...
  • by angel on Oct 14, 2010 at 06:51 AM
    were is the blood ?
  • by EMS Professional Location: Hertford, NC on Oct 14, 2010 at 04:52 AM
    In a case like this, I thought EMS would have called Law Enforcement to rule out foul play by examining the body before EMS is even allowed to move the body. This way any suspisious wounds should have been found.
  • by BO DUKE Location: OBX on Oct 14, 2010 at 02:48 AM
    Wasn't James Best the guy who played Roscoe P Coltraine on the Dukes of Hazzard?
  • by Lawman Location: Greenville on Oct 13, 2010 at 02:10 PM
    I can tell you that people who have 'co-morbidities' like congestive heart failure diabetes hypertension smoking have their death certificate filled out by their doctor, not the medical examiner. If this man was old and met that criteria, it means he didn't need an autopsy or viewing at the medical examiner's office. Normally bullet wounds to the head are extremely noticeable and deforming. We'll see whether this is a 'bullet wound' or something that looks like a bullet wound.
  • by My Experience on Oct 13, 2010 at 01:27 PM
    My father just passed away suddenly and did not have an autopsy performed because his regular physician was on call when he was brought into the hospital. His physician told us that if he did not know my father and his medical history, he would have to order an autoposy since it was a sudden death-so I don't believe it is always up to the family. Especially after a sudden death. It could have been the case that this man's doctor was doing round that morning when he was brought in and made the same judgement call. If there is no blood or cause for suspicion at the scene, there is no need for a police investigation. But it is odd that there was no blood found on the man..........
  • by Good Job on Oct 13, 2010 at 11:38 AM
    Yes that is true, but I hate that it could have slipped through the cracks and who ever did this could have got away with it had it now been for the funeral home being so thurow. Still makes you happy to know some people still take their job this serious and do what should be done. kuddos to funeral home.
  • by Anonymous Location: Greenville on Oct 13, 2010 at 11:26 AM
    I wonder if they stated that it was of natural causes, but yet found a bullet wound underneath his chin....where is the blood from the bullet wound???? Bc of course when someone gets shot, there is always blood found on the body.... correct??? Well that was my question...
  • by Want A Job? on Oct 13, 2010 at 11:18 AM
    The police do the best they can. I'm glad they are there and I can overlook their faults because....I sure don't want to do their job....How 'Bout You?
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