Family Comes Forward with New Evidence, Questions about Cree Erwin’s Fatal Botched Abortion at Planned Parenthood

An unredacted autopsy report surfaces that shows a 4 cm perforation and internal hemorrhaging as the result of a botched abortion

By Cheryl Sullenger

Kalamazoo, MI — At a press conference with pro-life leaders held yesterday outside the Calhoun County Medical Examiner’s office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Tyler Sheppard, the brother of Cree Erwin-Sheppard produced new evidence to show his sister suffered an incomplete abortion in addition to a large uterine perforation.

Sheppard, who lives in Florida, traveled to Michigan specifically to participate in the press conference, so he could call attention not only to what happened to his sister, but also to what goes on at Planned Parenthood.

“They are ravaging these women . . . I want to know what happened. I want to know why my sister’s life wasn’t good enough to save,” he said.

Sheppard displayed a copy of Cree’s medical record obtained by another family member from Bronson Hospital in Battle Creek where she had sought help for severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting two days after having a 12-week abortion at Planned Parenthood in Kalamazoo.

At the hospital, records show that an ultrasound discovered “products of conception” inside the uterus consistent with an “incomplete miscarriage,” the hospital’s term for an incomplete abortion.

“They saw baby parts still inside of my sister and they still sent her home . . . I want to know what happened,” Sheppard said, questioning why she was not treated at this hospital.

Instead, the Bronson Emergency Department prescribed a pain killer and an anti-nausea medication to Cree and told her to report to her doctor or Planned Parenthood after the long July 4th weekend.

However, the hospital pharmacy was closed for the weekend and Cree was in too much pain to get those prescriptions filled. She died just hours later.

Cree’s death certificate noted mysteriously that her “injury” took place because of “unprescribed drug use,” but Sheppard insisted that his sister did not use illegal drugs. Methadone was found in Cree’s system but Sheppard said he believes that she took the methadone because she was in excruciating pain and she could not fill the prescription for pain medication prescribed by the hospital.

The press conference, led by Michigan pro-life activists Lynn Mills of Pro-Life Detroit and Monica Miller of Citizens for a Pro-Life Society, also spurred the local news media to conduct their own research. As a result, the Kalamazoo Gazette requested and received public records from the City of Battle Creek that contained a final police death investigation report and an unredacted autopsy report.

Pro-life groups, including Operation Rescue, which has worked with Lynn Mills and Catherine Davis, Founding Core Member for the National Black Pro-Life Coalition to investigate Cree’s death, were given heavily redacted copies of the autopsy report that covered any mention of Cree’s abortion and injuries she suffered because of it.

However, the unredacted autopsy, now in the hands of Operation Rescue thanks to the Kalamazoo Gazette, sheds new light on exactly what Cree’s botched abortion did to her.

The coroner reported a four-centimeter long full-thickness perforation that ran through the lower back side of her uterus. The autopsy also discovered 250 cc’s (or 8 ½ ounces) of blood that had hemorrhaged internally into the space behind her uterus. Her womb was also filled with “clot material,” in which the Bronson Emergency Department identified parts of the aborted baby.

As for the redactions found in the copies provided to pro-life groups, the Kalamazoo Gazette confronted Calhoun County Jim Dyer, who admits he made the decision to omit the abortion related information from only certain copies.

Dyer admitted that he withheld critical information from those he determined to be “curiosity seekers,” in order to “protect the family.” However, Dyer’s poor judgement in deciding who deserved access to public information only hurt the family – and helped cover up for Planned Parenthood.

“I want those responsible for my sister’s death to take accountability for it, be responsible. Giving us the information they gave us is insulting our intelligence,” Sheppard stated, referring to the redactions in Cree’s autopsy report.

“I have a message for Mr. Dyer and any other city official who thinks he or she can dole out public information to whomever they deem worthy,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “We are not ‘curiosity seekers.’ We are members of the public who happen to be serious pro-life investigators and journalists that have a keen interest in truth and justice. The law says we’re are entitled to public information such as autopsy reports. You have no right to violate the public records laws simply because you do not like those who are seeking public information. Mr. Dyer should resign and issue Cree Erwin-Sheppard’s family a public apology.”

The Kalamazoo Gazette also learned that after the Battle Creek Police referred Cree Erwin-Sheppard’s death investigation information to the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, it was determined that Cree’s death warranted no investigation, and the case was closed on September 9, 2016.

However, Mills learned last week that a complaint filed by Cheryl Sullenger of Operation Rescue against Laura Castleman is still open. Castleman is the abortionist whose name was on a Kalamazoo Planned Parenthood prescription slip made out to Cree Erwin on the day of her fatal abortion.

“In our attempts to hold Castleman accountable, we pray for an unbiased investigation that does not assume, as so many investigators do, that everything possible was done for Cree. It wasn’t. It was unconscionable for Planned Parenthood to kick Cree down the road with an incomplete abortion and a big hole torn in her uterus,” said Newman. “It may have been a mistake, but people are forced to pay for their mistakes all the time. Abortionists should be no different, especially when the mistake is a fatal one.”

Tyler Sheppard wants the world to know that before she died, his sister acknowledged that she regretted her abortion decision.

“She was very sorrowful. She was regretting it. Not just because she was in agonizing pain. She was bawling. She was crying her eyes out. She didn’t like that she did that,” Tyler Sheppard told reporters.

Read Erwin-Sheppard’s Bronson Hospital Records
Read Erwin-Sheppard’s Unredated Autopsy Report
Read Battle Creek Police Final Death Investigation Report

Perforated Uterus Led to Death of Michigan Planned Parenthood Abortion Patient


By Cheryl Sullenger

Kalamazoo, MI – The death of a young mother, Cree Erwin-Sheppard, just three days after receiving a surgical abortion at a Planned Parenthood facility in Kalamazoo, Michigan, has turned into a mystery worthy of the fictional Sherlock Holmes. Questions of why she died and who was responsible remain covered up under heavy redactions in her recently released autopsy report.

After a delay of over eight months, the Calhoun County Medical Examiner’s autopsy report is filled with strategic redactions that obscure the most pertinent parts of the report, including most of the cause of death determination.

In fact, just reading the redacted autopsy report, submitted by Elizabeth A. Douglas, MD, one would never know that an abortion was involved, much less Planned Parenthood.

While important information in the autopsy report was blacked out to remove any mention of an abortion, the toxicology reports noting trace amounts of Methadone and other pain/anti-convulsant drugs was left completely unredacted.

“It is my opinion that there is an effort on the part of the Calhoun County Medical Examiner’s office to protect Planned Parenthood while wrongly blaming Erwin-Sheppard for her own death,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “The way the autopsy report is censored, it falsely leads one to believe that unprescribed drugs caused her death, while the fact that her uterus was perforated is completely expunged from the record. Planned Parenthood corruption appears to have infiltrated the Medical Examiner’s office.”

If it was not for other bits of documentation obtained by Operation Rescue and its team, the cause of Cree Erwin-Sheppard’s death would be a complete mystery.

First, Operation Rescue obtained an unfilled prescription slip that was provided to Erwin-Sheppard by abortionist Laura Castleman at Planned Parenthood in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on June 30, 2016, the day of her abortion. That script directly placed Erwin-Sheppard at Planned Parenthood.

Operation Rescue partnered with long-time Michigan pro-life activist Lynn Mills to get to the bottom of what really caused the death of this young mother. Mills obtained Erwin-Sheppard’s unredacted death certificate that shows the full cause of death, much of which was omitted from the autopsy report. Yet, even that document contributes its own mysteries.

The manner of Erwin-Sheppard’s death was listed as “Accident,” although that does not rule out negligence. The determination of “Accidental” death is the default setting for coroners who examine abortion death cases. Most never look further into conditions and practices at the abortion facilities that may have contributed to the death.

[Redactions to this document were done by Operation Rescue.]

Cree Erwin Sheppard Amended DC v2_Redacted by Cheryl Sullenger on Scribd

The cause of death listed on Cree Erwin-Sheppard’s amended death certificate is as follows:

Complications of intrauterine pregnancy, including pulmonary emboli related to uterine vein thrombosis and uterine perforation status post early vacuum aspiration and intrauterine contraceptive device placement.

The autopsy report noted the only area of vein clotting in Erwin-Sheppard’s body was found in the uterine vein. This lends itself to the conclusion that trauma to the vein caused the clots, which later broke away and traveled to her lungs.

The only source of trauma or injury in Cree’s body was the uterine perforation, which could well have resulted in damage to her uterine vein.

Uterine perforation is a common complication to surgical abortion and is a known complication to IUD placement. However, the death certificate curiously notes that the perforation somehow happened after the suction aspiration abortion and IUD placement at some unknown place and time.

To further muddy the waters, in Box 41c of the death certificate, the medical examiner is asked to “Describe how the injury occurred.” The puzzling answer? “Use of unprescribed drugs.”

“That answer is completely ridiculous,” said Newman. “Drugs don’t cause the uterus to put a hole in itself. It’s hard to believe this is the best the medical examiner could come up with after eight months.”

The death certificate also contains other inconsistencies. Methadone use is noted in a box that asks for “Other significant conditions contributing to death but not resulting in the underlying cause given in Part 1.”

If the methadone did not result in the underlying cause of death, why is it listed as the “injury” that led to Erwin-Sheppard’s death?

Based on the information available at this time, it is logical to reach the following conclusions:

1. Cree Erwin-Sheppard received a surgical suction aspiration abortion on June 30, 2016, at Planned Parenthood in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
2. During that abortion or subsequent IUD insertion, her uterus was perforated and her uterine artery was injured.
3. On July 2, suffering from intense abdominal pain, Erwin-Sheppard was taken by her mother to Bronson Battle Creek Hospital’s emergency room, according to a police report. There, Cree was supposedly given pain medication and told to see her family physician the next day.
4. In so much pain that she was afraid to go home, Erwin-Sheppard was taken to her mother’s house and put to bed. She slept through the day.
5. While at her mother’s home and desperate to ease the pain, Cree somehow accessed a dose of methadone.
6. In the early morning hours of July 4, 2016, Erwin-Sheppard’s mother found her daughter dead in her bed.
7. An autopsy was performed by Elizabeth A. Douglas, MD, on July 4, 2016 at 8:25 a.m. A uterine perforation was discovered. Blood clots were found in her uterine artery and lungs, which caused her death. Blood and urine was sent for toxicology screening.
8. When the autopsy was finally released on March 9, 2017, all mention of the abortion, uterine perforation, and IUD insertion were redacted along with the salient portions of the cause of death while other sensitive information was left intact.

“This autopsy report and inconsistent entries in the death certificate just don’t pass the smell test,” said Newman. “It is more than a little suspicious that the one that benefits from the cover up of information is Planned Parenthood. Politics and personal ideology have no place in the investigation of Cree’s death. A full and honest investigation must be conducted by the Michigan medical board to determine who is responsible for this abortion-related death before tragedy strikes another Planned Parenthood patient.”

This is a mystery that deserves to be solved for the sake of other women who may seek services at Planned Parenthood’s Kalamazoo office. Operation Rescue will continue to seek transparency and justice on behalf of Cree Erwin-Sheppard and her family until those responsible for her needless death are brought to justice.

[All redactions in this document were done by the Calhoun County Medical Examiner’s Office.]

Erwin-Sheppard Autopsy Report – Redacted by Medical Examiner by Cheryl Sullenger on Scribd

Chilling 911 Call: Mom Finds Daughter “Cold as Ice” After Abortion

By Cheryl Sullenger

Battle Creek, MI – Usually an anticipated time of fun-filled family festivities, the Fourth of July was anything but a day of celebration for the family of Cree Erwin. In the early morning hours, Cree’s mother, Tanya, made a gruesome discovery. Her daughter, Cree, lay dead in Tanya’s own bed, cold as ice.

While important questions remain, 911 records just obtained by Operation Rescue, along with a police report provided by long-time Michigan pro-life activist Lynn Mills, shed a bit more light on what happened to 24-year old Cree Erwin in her final hours of life as she struggled with complications to an abortion she had less than four days earlier.

The records also reveal a mother’s unspeakable grief at discovering her daughter’s body – gut-wrenching grief that no mother should have to experience – the cruel loss was compounded by the fact that this young lady’s death was avoidable.

The grief in this mother’s voice is reflective of the true toll abortion takes on families, especially when something goes wrong.

“Listening to this 911 call, it becomes clear that we cannot continue to allow abortion to take such a devastating toll on families, communities, and society. The loss of this young lady’s life must not be written off as the cost of ‘choice.’ This price has been paid by far too many families, and we, as a people, cannot afford the bill,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.

Cree Erwin

It began when Cree reported to a still unknown abortion facility on June 30, 2016, for an abortion. But something obviously went wrong. Cree began to experience intolerable abdominal pain. On the night of July 2, Tanya took her suffering daughter to the emergency room at Bronson Battle Creek Hospital. There, Cree was supposedly given pain medication and told to see her family physician the next day. She was discharged just after midnight on the morning of July 3.

Tragically, she didn’t live long enough to get to her own doctor.

Still in severe pain and afraid to go home where there was no one to help her, Cree decided to stay at her mother’s house, which was just blocks away from the hospital. Tanya had Cree sleep in her bed with her in her basement bedroom, but Cree was in so much pain that she crawled into bed crossways and did not want to move any further. When Tanya got up in the morning, she thought Cree was still sleeping.

In the afternoon of July 3, Tanya checked on her on her daughter once again. She appeared to be sleeping but her breathing seemed labored, like someone with sleep apnea.

Officer T.M. Wirebaugh, who responded later to Tanya’s frantic call for help noted in his report that he believed that Cree could have been experiencing agonal breathing.

Recognizing agonal breathing can be difficult, because it resembles normal respiration, according to the website EMSBasics.com. Agonal breathing is short gasps that are inadequate to maintain proper oxygenation and is a sign of severe physiological distress requiring immediate emergency medical treatment. It sometimes accompanies a heart attack and is a sign that death is eminent.

Cree’s mother had no way to know that. With Cree still appearing to be asleep, Tanya let her rest.

Tanya decided to turn in shortly after midnight on July 4, and found her daughter still laying across the bed on her side. She tried to get Cree to move, but she couldn’t get her to wake up. She began “shaking and yelling at” her daughter, trying to rouse her, but nothing worked. She realized Cree wasn’t breathing and was cold to the touch.

Distraught and crying, Tanya phoned 911, which began recording her sounds of grief even before the dispatcher answered the call.

According to the partially-redacted and very emotional 911 recording, a desperate Tanya sobbed, “My daughter is cold…I think she’s dead.”

“What’s going on?” the dispatcher demanded.

“She’s been sick. She was sick –,” the mother cried. While the recording was redacted at that point, the unredacted police report with an attachment from the Battle Creek Fire Department filled in the blanks. [Personal information redacted by Operation Rescue.]

fire narrative-cap

The Battle Creek Fire Department dispatch narrative read, “According to the female caller, the patient had an abortion a couple of days ago and has been sleeping all day.”

The dispatcher tried to get Tanya to roll Cree over on her back and begin chest compressions, but Tanya could not push Cree onto her back. She began wailing, “She’s too heavy!…I’m trying! I’m trying! I need help!”

The dispatcher continued to ask Tanya to push her daughter over and begin chest compressions, but the wailing mother could only sob, “She’s cold as ice.”

With that, the dispatcher assured the grieving mother that help was on the way. Within moments, paramedics and police arrived. According to the police report, it only took the medics about 15 seconds to determine that Cree Erwin was deceased.

“That 911 call was the most heart-wrenching I have ever heard,” said Newman. “This is what abortion does. The sorrow is deep, it is raw, and it is very, very ugly. No mother should ever have to face the loss of her child, especially when that death was so avoidable and unnecessary. Our prayers continue to go out for the family.”

With their difficult job done, the medics left the scene and police contacted the medical examiner’s office. The police were provided with Medical Examiner Case Number 0704-16-JC-207-CC. A Crime Scene Tech was dispatched to the scene, which he photographed, but no evidence was collected. Later, an autopsy was performed.

The police inquired about several bottles of prescription drugs that were found in the bedroom, which were prescribed to either Tanya or her husband. There was no mention of the pain drugs that were supposedly given Cree Erwin by emergency room staff.

“While drug overdose remains a possibility, the fact that Cree was incapable of even adjusting herself on the bed makes it appear unlikely that she got up and took drugs,” said Newman.

Cree’s one-year old son was left in the custody of Tanya and police advised her to go to court to get legal custody of the boy.

Cree’s grief-stricken family and friends gathered for her funeral ten days later.

Questions that remain to be answered include:

• Where did Cree Erwin obtain her abortion?
• Did she have a surgical abortion or was she given the abortion pill?
• Who was the abortionist responsible for the abortion?
• What was the official cause of death?
• How culpable is the hospital that discharged Erwin, who was just hours from death?
• What was the result of the homicide investigation first reported by a local news station?

Operation Rescue was told last week by the Battle Creek Medical Examiner’s office that neither the autopsy report nor Erwin’s cause and manner of death would be available for 30-60 more days. In the meantime, a death certificate obtained by Lynn Mills notes that her cause of death is pending an investigation.

The nearest abortion facility is the Planned Parenthood in Kalamazoo, just about a half hour away from Battle Creek. Operation Rescue has confirmed that it conducts both surgical and medication abortions on Thursdays, the day Erwin had her abortion.

Another facility that is an hour and 20 minutes driving time from Battle Creek is the Planned Parenthood in Ann Arbor. That facility also conducts surgical and medication abortions on Thursday, Operation Rescue has confirmed.

“While we must wait for more information, it is obvious that if Cree Erwin had not walked into an abortion facility, she would still be alive today. Those responsible should be held accountable by authorities for her senseless death and for the horrific and completely unnecessary heartache it has caused her friends and loved ones,” said Newman. “We have seen so many women die from negligent abortions that we must try to ensure that this kind of tragedy never happens again. But the truth is, these tragedies will continue to happen over and over again as long as abortion is allowed. To stop the heartbreak and loss of innocent life, we must stop the barbaric practice of abortion.”

Read the police report.
View the death certificate.