Pa. Teacher's Death Was Ruled Suicide — But Parents, Citing 20 Stab Wounds, Say She Was Murdered

Medical examiners at first ruled Ellen Greenberg's death a homicide, but later, and with no explanation, amended it to a suicide

Ellen Greenberg
Ellen Greenberg. Photo: Facebook

The parents of a Pennsylvania woman whose stabbing death was initially ruled a homicide before being changed to suicide have sued the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office and the pathologist who performed her autopsy, asking that her death be changed to “undetermined” or back to homicide.

PEOPLE obtained court papers provided by Joseph Podraza, Jr., the attorney representing the parents of 27-year-old teacher Ellen Greenberg, who suffered 20 stab wounds in early 2011.

Greenberg was found by her fiancé in the kitchen of their residence in the Manayunk neighborhood with a 10-inch knife in her chest.

The suit argues the original homicide ruling was accurate and suggests more than one knife may have been used in her death.

It also alleges the ruling on her manner of death was changed by the medical examiner under pressure from local police.

Philadelphia police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. The medical examiner’s office said the office, as a rule, doesn’t respond to ongoing litigation in which it is involved.

According to police, the door to the apartment had been locked from the inside; the fiancé forced it open. Police also said Greenberg’s body showed no signs of defensive wounds that would indicate she fought for her life.

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She was stabbed 10 time to the back of her neck, eight times in the chest, and once in the stomach. She also had a substantial gash across her scalp.

The medical examiner’s office has never provided a reason for why they switched the cause of death for Greenberg.

The civil filing contends a second knife may have been used. If a second knife were used, the suit claims, someone else would have had to been involved to dispose of it because it wasn’t found.

The lawsuit also questions whether some of the injuries Greenberg suffered to her neck were deep enough to incapacitate her, therefore proving she was not responsible for that final knife wound into her chest.

The suit was filed on Tuesday.

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