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6 Investigates: Nueces County Chief Medical Examiner Adel Shaker submits letter of retirement

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Posted at 3:47 PM, Feb 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 17:27:05-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — KRIS 6 News has learned that Nueces County Chief Medical Examiner Adel Shaker has submitted a letter of retirement to the county.

In the letter, Shaker says after 35 years as a medical examiner and pathologist — eight of those in Nueces County — it’s time to retire. He says his last day will be October 31.

This comes after we reported last month that Deputy Chief ME Sandra Lyden was fired after it was found that she did not have the right credentials to be practicing medicine in Texas.

KRIS 6 News learned that there was also no record of Shaker taking an oath that would allow him to take office, one that he’s held since 2020 when Dr. Ray Fernandez retired.

Shaker's letter says that once a new medical examiner is hired and starts working, he will not be on the autopsy schedule and will complete his remaining autopsy reports and death certificates to avoid leaving incomplete or backlogged cases for whoever replaces him.

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Shaker's letter of retirement has been accepted by the commissioners court, but they are directing the county attorney to negotiate an earlier retirement date.

"It depends on what he's gonna do. I mean if he's not going to be able to do any kind of work then we shouldn't have to keep on paying him so maybe he needs to be retiring earlier," said County Commissioner Joe A. Gonzalez.

"We shouldn't reward him for more time or pay, so I believe Mr. Shaker should have been terminated from the first day that we found out something was going on," said County Commissioner Precinct 1 Roberto Hernandez.

On Wednesday, commissioners were set to discuss approving a temporary deputy medical examiner and other options that would allow uninterrupted services to continue at the ME's office, but they took no action. They did receive an update on an administrative position they are interested in placing in the office, and voted to establish at $125,000 budget for it.

This is part of our 6 Investigates continuing coverage of the medical examiners office.

Digital Content Producer Alyssa Flores contributed to this story.