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Medical expert says Wienchowski's cause of death should be reclassified as "undetermined"

An independent medical examiner says Amanda Wienchowski's cause of death should be reclassified as "undetermined."

Dr. Scott LaPoint released a 16-page review  following his investigation into the 2009 death. 

The Erie County Medical Examiner had previously determined that Wienchowski died from an accidental drug overdose, but a pathologist hired by the family found strangulation to be the cause of death. 

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita hired LaPoint.  Sedita said the specifics of the case led LaPoint to his conclusion.

"All the hard, objective, scientific evidence, the proof strongly militates in favor of a drug overdose, because of the presence of lethal narcotics in Miss Wienchowski's systems. All the scientific findings also militate against a strangulation being the cause of death," said Sedita.

Wienckowski was 20-years-old and lived in Kenmore.  Her body was found in January 2009 on Spring Street in Buffalo.  She had been reported missing the month before. 

"He wants to call it  undetermined. He doesn't want to call it a drug overdose because of the manner in which her body was found.  We had a 20-year-old girl, found upside down, in the nude, frozen in a  garbage can. That raises a million red flags, and because of that he thinks it is safer and more conservative course of conduct to call it  of undetermined to keep investigation open," said Sedita. 

Sedita said he has given LaPoint's report to the Buffalo Homicide Bureau and would like detectives to continue their investigation.

The family released results of the second autopsy in the death of Wienckowski in November of 201, indicating she was strangled.

Her family disagreed with the first autopsy, saying they believed Wienchowski was probably murdered by the last known person to have seen her.

The garbage tote Wienchowski was discovered in was located across the street from Antoine Garner's Spring Street home. Police said Garner was the last person known to have seen her alive, but has not been charged in the case.

Garner is currently under a indictment by the District Attorney's office for an assault in a separate case. District Attorney Seditia said they expect Garner to go to trial on that charge.

But Sedita could not comment on Garner's relationship to the Wienchowski case.

"I'm not going to comment about him," said Sedita. "

The family said their next step is to get Amanda's death certificate changed to say death by homicide. They are hoping  police would then reopen the investigation into her death.  WBFO News learned that the family has fired attorney Steven Cohen from the Hogan Willig law firm.

You can click the above audio to listen to WBFO'S Eileen Buckley interviewing DA Sedita.