Reginald Daye was a middle-aged Durham man who was in a symbiotic relationship with Crystal Mangum, the Duke Lacrosse victim/accuser. The events surrounding his death, beginning with his April 3, 2011 stabbing by Ms. Mangum and extending to his death ten days later, are shrouded in mystery and intrigue. What some may consider equally baffling is the mainstream media’s apathy towards unraveling the bizarre and inexplicable sequence of circumstances which shortened Daye’s life.
Of this much we are certain: (1) At approximately 3:00 a.m. on April 3, 2011, Mangum stabbed Daye in the left torso with a kitchen knife (paring knife according to friends of Mangum and supported by autopsy reports); (2) Although the blood alcohol level coursing through Daye’s veins was at a stupor-level of nearly 300 mg/dl, he was awake and coherent when transported by ambulance to Duke Hospital; (3) Daye underwent emergency surgery to repair the stab wound to the splenic flexure of his colon within hours of the traumatic insult; (4) Postoperatively the following day, the surgery on Daye was proclaimed to be successful and the patient was expected to make a full recovery; and (5) On the 13th of April, ten days following his stabbing and surgery, Daye was taken off life support and pronounced dead.
The autopsy reports of April 13 and 14, 2011, which were released in mid-August 2011, four months later, shed only a modicum of light on what transpired during Daye’s ten day hospitalization. It appears that on the evening of the third postoperative day, Mr. Daye went into a deep and irreversible coma; the etiology of which was never determined and/or released to the public. The mainstream media kept Daye’s comatose state hidden for a week, and mentioned it only after his death. In addition, only one media source mentioned that Reginald Daye passed away after life support was electively removed by the Duke Hospital medical staff. Although it can be assumed that Daye’s next of kin were involved in the decision to remove him from life support, it is unknown whether the prosecution or defense attorneys were consulted or notified beforehand. The disconnection of Reginald Daye from life support was the proximate cause of his death, however, neither report even mentioned this. Instead of solving problems surrounding Daye’s demise, the autopsy reports of April 13th and 14th usher in questions about it on an even grander scale.
Both autopsy reports are vague, inadequate, misleading, and unprofessional, with the report of April 13, 2011 (Report of Investigation by Medical Examiner) being more accurate and reliable regarding injuries sustained by the single stab wound than that of the latter document. The description of the body and the body diagram of this report are deferred to the report of April 14, 2011 (Report of Autopsy Examination). What is most puzzling about this report of the 14th is that it includes a multitude of injuries not mentioned in the report of the 13th, which cited only the lesion to the colon. However, in the report of the 14th, Dr. Clay Nichols, the medical examiner, mentioned additional gross anatomical injuries to the following organs: lower left lung, diaphragm, left kidney, spleen, and fundus of the stomach. As a retired physician, I believe that it is impossible for a single stab wound from a paring knife (which entered at the seventh intercostal space of the left side of the torso and proceeded in a downward trajectory) to inflict wounds to all of the organs as described in Dr. Nichols’ report. However, it is not at all unreasonable to believe that such a stab wound would lacerate the splenic flexure of the colon only.
Although I believe the report of April 14, 2011, to be criminally fraudulent, I do not fault the medical examiner for making false claims because he undoubtedly has learned from the example that the state and the media made of former Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong… which is that the consequences of not “going along with the program” can be excessive and severe. The purpose for fabricating these injuries in the latter report is to make the damage caused by Mangum’s stab wound appear to be much more extensive and serious than it actually was… to persuade the public that the inflicted wound was capable of causing death. The biased anti-Mangum media did its part by upgrading the status of the diaphragm, which is a large muscle, to that of being an organ, and counting it as such in proclaiming that “Fatal stab wound in Crystal Mangum case punctured six organs.” The media entirely ignores the more reliable report of April 13, 2011, which documented injury to only the large intestine.
Questions continue to swirl around Daye’s death and its aftermath. Why the major discrepancies between the report of the 13th and 14th? What was the cause of Daye’s lapsing into a coma and how was it related to the stab wound? Why is Crystal Mangum being charged with first degree murder when Daye was electively removed from life support by Duke’s medical staff? Was medical malpractice or a hospital homicide responsible the unconscious state which led to Daye being declared “brain dead” and taken off life support? Why has Mangum’s attorney not filed a motion to have the murder charge dismissed? Perhaps, most mind-boggling of all is why does the mainstream media lack curiosity about these unsolved mysteries?
Being a cynic of mainstream media’s dedication to report fairly and without bias, I do not find it surprising that the media would bury its head in the sand when it comes to the state’s illegal and unjust mistreatment of Crystal Mangum. After all, the media, like Durham prosecutor Kelly Gauger and the medical examiners, is part of this very broad based anti-Nifong conspiracy.