A noted pathologist put April Kauffman’s time of death hours before her husband said he left for work the morning she was killed, according to a letter he sent to the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office in 2012.
The office reached out to Dr. Michael Baden, perhaps the highest profile medical examiner in the country, days after Kauffman was killed inside her Linwood home May 10, 2012.
He offered a startling conclusion: Kauffman died at about 2:10 a.m. with “a reasonable degree of medical certainty,” Baden wrote in his reply.
A copy of the June 15, 2012 letter was obtained by a reporter working for BreakingAC.
The Prosecutor’s Office has never acknowledged that Baden’s opinion was sought nor that the pathologist put Kauffman’s time of death so early in the morning.
That is more than three hours before her husband, Dr. James Kauffman, is said to have left their home on Woodstock Drive in Linwood.
Kauffman left the house routinely at about 5:30 a.m. every weekday for the two-mile drive to Shore Medical Center, the hospital in Somers Point where he routinely saw patients.
Lou Barbone, Kauffman’s attorney, said he never received the letter and was unaware the office had reached out to Baden.
But more critically, Baden’s timeline for April Kauffman’s death is sharply at odds with the timeline presented by Atlantic County Prosecutor Damon Tyner on Jan. 9, 2018, when he announced arrests and unveiled the state’s theory of the murder case.
Tyner was not prosecutor when the letter was received.
According to the prosecution, Dr. Kauffman and Ferdinand “Miserable” Augello, a former Pagans chapter president in Cape May County, hired a hit man, Francis “Frank” Mulholland, to shoot April Kauffman.
Augello later plotted to murder Kauffman while the doctor was jailed on related weapons charges, according to another charge in the case.
A drug addict from the Villas in Cape May County, Frank Mulholland died in his home of an overdose on October 8, 2013, Lower Township public safety records show.
Joseph “Irish” Mulholland, another Villas resident, was with Frank Mulholland at the time of his death, the township records also show. While Joe Mulholland has told others in the Villas he was a cousin of Frank Mulholland, his lawyer and the Prosecutor’s Office have both said the Mulhollands are not related.
Joe Mulholland, however, is a member of the Shore Dawgz, a support bikers club for the Pagans Motorcycle Club, according to a member of the outlaw motorcycle community. Irish Joe Mulholland is facing drug charges in the Kauffman case.
In addition to Augello, Kauffman and Joe Mulholland, Atlantic County has also charged five others in a related drug distribution ring.
The allegation is that April Kauffman was murdered to silence her about an oxycodone distribution scheme allegedly masterminded by her husband and Augello and run out of the doctor’s office in Egg Harbor Township.
A search warrant executed last June for Kauffman’s medical records also shows the county was investigating other allegations of illegal activities by the doctor.
They include: prescribing unnecessary drug compounding creams for kickbacks through a Louisiana pharmacy, taking kickbacks from a blood testing lab; and taking kickbacks from a heart testing company.
To date no charges have resulted from those additional alleged schemes.
Complicating the case, James Kauffman, the former endocrinologist at the heart of the overlapping investigations, apparently committed suicide on Jan. 26, while jailed in Hudson County.
But the April Kauffman murder charges, as well as the planned murder of Dr. Kauffman while jailed, continue against Augello, as do the opioid drug cases against Augello and others.
Baden told Atlantic County he had determined the time of death for April Kauffman based on body’s stiffness and blood pooling, a body temperature of just 86 degrees when initially examined at 1:10 p.m. on May 10, 2012, plus an elevated potassium level in her eye fluids and an empty stomach and bladder at autopsy later in the afternoon.
Baden sent his opinion to John Maher, then the chief assistant prosecutor overseeing the investigation. Maher has since left the Prosecutor’s Office and could not be reached for comment.
He wrote in an affidavit that Baden’s “findings clearly contradict Mr. Kauffman’s statement that he saw April sleeping as he left their home around 5:30 a.m. on May 10, 2012.”
Baden was reached briefly Thursday morning, but has not yet commented.
In response to an Open Public Records Act request, an assistant county prosecutor this week acknowledged the Baden letter.
But he also said no related financial document was discovered, meaning it appears Baden was never officially retained by the county.
Tyner did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Neither did the lawyer for Augello, who remains jailed. While Kauffman is dead, the county is attempting to seize assets from his third wife, Carole Weintraub, including a nearly $1 million condo in Philadelphia.
Augello and the other living defendants have trial status hearings scheduled for June.