Tyler Perry Hires Medical Examiner Following Nephew's Death in Prison
By Zach Seemayer
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images
Tyler Perry is taking matters into his own hands following the death of his nephew in prison.
Perry's 26-year-old nephew, Gavin Porter, was behind bars, serving a 20-year sentence for fatally shooting his father in front of his mother, who is Perry's sister.
A rep for the Union Parish Sheriff’s Office tells ET that Porter died Tuesday night at the Union Parish Detention Center from what appeared to be by hanging. His body has been sent off for an autopsy so they are waiting for results, but there appeared to be no trauma or foul play.
The rep added that Porter was isolated at the time of death due to a previous incident.
However, Perry announced on Thursday that he plans on hiring a private medical examiner to perform a second autopsy not conducted by state officials.
"A few years ago, my nephew committed a heinous crime," Perry shared in a lengthy statement on Instagram. "The murder shook our entire family to its core."
"Despite his horrible act, before he went to prison I went to see him in the local jail. I assured him that we all still loved him, but it was important to all of us, including his mother, that he was punished for this horrific crime that he had committed. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison," Perry continued. "It was my hope that after serving his time, really reflecting, showing much remorse, and asking God for forgiveness, that he would have been able to come work for me. Where he would join all the other former inmates that work for me and turn his life around, just as they have. But that day will never come."
"Three days ago, I got the horrible news that he allegedly committed suicide in prison. I say allegedly because, unfortunately, our criminal justice system and prisons have been notorious for cover ups and/or getting it wrong," he added. "With that in mine I have hired Dr. Michael Baden to do a second autopsy, and we are expecting the results soon."
Perry went on to stress, "We are not a family of conspiracy theorists, and we want to believe that there was no foul play, just as the sheriff has stated publicly."
As for the man Perry has hired, Baden is a famed forensic pathologist who previously served as the chief medical examiner for New York City. Recently, he was privately hired to investigate the death of Jeffrey Epstein, who also died while behind bars.
An official at the Union Parish Sheriff's Office told TMZ on Thursday that there is "an active investigation at the prison's request," and that they are "awaiting the results of an autopsy."
"The initial investigation did not suspect foul play. We are also conducting an investigation into the fight which occurred earlier and Porter's involvement in that incident," the rep for the Sheriff's Office stated. "We respect the family's right to request another autopsy to be done. This is not an unusual request. We are continuing our investigation and awaiting autopsy results."