The parents of a Pennsylvania woman who died of 20 stab wounds are taking the medical examiners’ office to court for declaring her death a suicide.
Ellen Greenberg’s parents have been granted a non-jury trial in their lawsuit against the coroner’s office over her January 2011 death in her Philadelphia apartment, CBS Philly reported.
“We look forward to the trial in hopes of obtaining justice for Ellen,” Sandra Greenberg, Ellen’s mother, told the outlet.
On the day of her death, Ellen, 27, had returned home to her apartment early from her first-grade teaching job on the account of a snowstorm.
She was later discovered dead on the kitchen floor by her fiance, Sam Goldberg, when he returned home from the gym.
She had suffered stabbing wounds to her chest, neck, head and torso, police said.
Police initially suspected her death was a suicide, noting the lack of forced entry, defensive wounds or DNA on her body that wasn’t hers, the Washington Post reported.
Medical examiner Marlon Osbourne, however, determined her death to be a homicide before reversing course and amending the ruling to suicide more than a month later, according to the lawsuit.
“It makes no sense,” the Greenbergs’ attorney, Joseph Podraza, told the newspaper.
Greenberg’s family hired a team of experts in the aftermath of her death that pointed out that a knife in her apartment was overturned, possibly suggesting that she had been involved in a struggle, and a gash on the back of her head may have rendered her unconscious and unable to defend herself, the newspaper reported.
Her family has also questioned why she filled up her gas tank before coming home and didn’t leave a note indicating that she planned to take her own life.
Podraza said that the family is taking action now to get to the bottom of her death.
“They want to know what happened to their daughter,” he told the newspaper.
An attorney for the city argued that the medical examiner’s office came to its conclusions based on years of experience — and noted that the death certificate does not prevent local authorities from probing her death as a homicide.
“The medical examiner’s determination is binding on no one. … If a prosecuting authority were convinced that Ellen Greenberg was murdered, there is no statute of limitations on homicide and they could pursue it,” the city argued in court filings, the paper reported.