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The Mysterious Death of Vickie Bertram 1976


Todd Matthews and Deputy Ryan Allred, brother of deceased, exhume body for new autopsy.

BERTRAM CASE STILL LEAVES MANY WITH
UNANSWERED QUESTIONS


November 22, 2000-gretchen hollars/staff writer
Livingston Enterprise

More than 24 years have come and gone since
the death of Vickie Robin Bertram, but many
people in the community are still wondering how
she died.

The death of Bertram was first ruled an accident.
But many people still speculate that foul play
might have been involved.

"I still believe there might be more to it," Todd
Matthews said. "I feel that it could have
been a sexual assault or possible drug
overdose."

The initial story of Bertram's death appeared in
the Thursday Oct. 7, 1976 edition of the
Livingston Enterprise. According to the article,
on September 10, 1976, the 16 year old girl fell
100 feet to her death from the rock quarry on
Rock Crusher Mountain.

Bertram's body was found face down
spread-eagle almost 4 weeks later at the foot of
the cliff by Terry Melton, Jackie Murphy and Bob
Terry, Jr. At the time the body was found, it was
already badly decomposed.

The body was then sent to Crossville where an
autopsy was performed by the late Dr. Michael
Jackson. The autopsy said that Bertram did not
have any broken bones or signs of trauma.
According to Jackson, the cause of death could
not be determined.

Foul play was ruled out in the Bertram case by
Terry Mitchell, who was sheriff of Overton
County at the time.

Even though the case is officially closed, for the
family members and friends too many questions
remain to close the case entirely.

A newer autopsy now has been perfomed, and
the one conducted by Jackson has since been
invalidated.

On April 27 of this year, a court order was
issued, and Bertram's body was exhumed from
Good Hope Cemetary.

Her remains were then taken to the University of
Tennessee "Body Farm" where an autpsy was
performed by Dr. Lee Jantz and Dr. Murray
Marks. the body farm is a research facilty with
staff who specialize in forensic scinece.
Results from the second autopsy revealed that
Bertram's body had multiple bone fractures. The
new autopsy , unlike the findings of the 1976
autopsy, indicated Bertram's body had suffered
fractures at the time of her death as well as after
her death. Segments of this case were featured on
the Discovery Channel who happened to be filming
at the Body Farm.

"Most of the injury was sustained in the hip
area,' Matthews said. "this suggests that if she
did fall she landed on her hip, not face down as
suggested by the original autopsy. I can clearly
see why the family and others in the community
have wondered about the case for so many years."

"I have spoken to several doctors and most
suggest that if Vickie did fall from the cliff she
would have sustained far greater injuries, " said
Matthews. "One theory suggests that Vickie
might have come over the cliff unconcious. But
could it have been possible that Vickie's body
was thrown from the top to conceal another
cause of death?"

Matthews along with Sheriff's Department
Deputy Ryan Allred, who is Bertram's brother,
have received new information about a possible
witness to the incident. the potential witness is
in another state, so the matter of questioning has
been handed to officials in that state, according
to Matthews.

"We will continue (with the investigation) and
hope to receive more information from the public.
If anyone has any information that could be of
help, please contact us through the web-site or
the Sheriff's Department," Matthews said.

The web-site address for information regarding
the Bertram case is,
www.angelfire.com/biz5/VickieBertram/index.html




Excerpt from Livingston Enterprise article April, 2003

by Ben Garrett

The original autopsy had concluded that Bertram died as the result of a fall from Rock
Crusher Mountain. She had landed spread-eagle, face-down, causing her heart to burst
and result in her death. Foul play was ruled out and the case considered closed. Matthews
was skeptical of the autopsyís findings, however. In April, 2000, he was able to persuade
an exhumation order to be issued, and a second autopsy of the body was performed at the
University of Tennesseeís Body Farm. The findings from the second autopsy showed that
Bertram had suffered injuries not shown on the original autopsy.

"A lot of the injuries were in her tail-bone area," Matthews said. "There was a high-speed
injury, but to determine whether it was from a fall from a cliff or a strike from a car, thatís
hard to tell for sure."

The second autopsy, Matthews said, helped Bertramís family find some closure. However,
he still isnít entirely convinced that the case should be closed.

"It would be hard to go past this point without local law enforcement or TBI picking it back
up," he said. "They are people who maybe should force the question."



For more detailed case information, visit the original Vickie Bertram web-site in the links listed below.



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