Jovan Belcher’s body exhumed for brain examination

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's been a little more than a year since former Kansas City Chiefs' linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend before killing himself.

At the request of his family, Belcher's body has now been exhumed.

Belcher was buried in Bay Shore, New York roughly one year ago. His body was exhumed on Friday in order to perform tests on his brain. Family members hope test results will provide some insight as to what happened on that day in Kansas City. But a neurosurgeon has doubts about what will be revealed given the amount of time that has passed.

"If you wanted that information, one would have done it immediately," said Dr. Geoffrey Blatt, a neurosurgeon, "There are certainly tests you can perform on a body that's been dead for a year, a lot of it depends on the preservation of the body."

Dr. Blatt said based on what he knows about Belcher, he thinks there are too many factors that can no longer be controlled exhuming a body after a year.

"Under normal circumstances, though, it's very unlikely that you will be able to get very accurate tests at this point," he added. "The chances that you'll find anything useful in a brain that's been in the ground for a year are pretty small."

Dr. Blatt said he doesn't know what Belcher's family is looking for, but he said finding answers when someone is dead is already difficult enough, let alone 12 months later.

"I'm not sure that you could even necessarily get the information you're interested in, in a person who is no longer alive," he said.

Dr. Blatt said even if something is found in Belcher's brain, it would not necessarily be an explanation for the murder-suicide; nor would it necessarily tie back to football injuries or concussions.

"Unfortunately there are a lot of people who would shoot their girlfriends or themselves without any concussion, so I wouldn't rule out the possibility it's unrelated," he said.

Dr. Blatt says it shouldn't take more than a month for Belcher's family to get the results back.

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