Dr. Kevorkian's latest assisted suicide probed
August 19, 1996
PONTIAC, Michigan (CNN) -- Dr. Jack Kevorkian is under investigation again, not only for what he admits he did, but also for what he claims he did not know about the latest person whose death he attended.
Judith Curren, 42, of Pembroke, Massachusetts, died Thursday in the presence of Kevorkian and her husband, Franklin C. Curren. A medical examiner said she was overweight, but that he found no evidence of any illness.
Authorities in Massachusetts and Michigan are examining the events leading up to Mrs. Curren's death, including an assault charge she filed against her husband a few weeks beforehand.
Curren, a psychiatrist, denies abusing his wife, but said he argued with her not to end her life.
"She made her own decisions as to what was best for her, and she was adamant about it," Curren said. "Obviously, I was hoping and wishing that there would be better answers ... she was suffering."
Kevorkian's attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, suggested that Mrs. Curren had tried to drop the charges against her husband, and that the police report is not evidence of guilt.
Kevorkian has indicated he would not have gotten involved if he had known about the domestic dispute.
"Dr. Kevorkian's been accused of murder five times," Fieger said. "Does that make him a murderer?"
The retired pathologist, who lost his medical license, said Mrs. Curren suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome, immune dysfunction syndrome and a painful muscle disorder.
But the Oakland County, Michigan, medical examiner said Monday he found no evidence of chronic fatigue syndrome or any other illness, but said her weight may have caused some problems. She was 5'1", and weighed 269 pounds.
"There was no indication she had a medical disease," said Dr. L.J. Dragovic, who has criticized Kevorkian's assisted suicide campaign and testified against him. "I think this one is a tragedy."
But Curren disputes those findings.
"What's happening is that people who don't like this whole idea of assisted suicide are saying she wasn't really that sick," Curren said.
Dragovic said Mrs. Curren's death was by injection. Toxicology tests were being done to determine what drug was used, and those would allow her death to be classified as a homicide, suicide or other, Dragovic said. Investigators have ordered that the body be held at the examiner's office.
Mrs. Curren was the 35th person known to die in Kevorkian's presence since 1990. Kevorkian has been prosecuted in five deaths but has never been convicted.
Reporter Joan MacFarlane and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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