Who Killed Ellen Andros?

by longformphilly


Dan P. Lee | Philadelphia Magazine | October 2006

Here’s Elliot Gross. Sixty-six years old, short barrel-shaped body, big mostly bald head. A tiny, odd-looking man. Hunched over, dressed in a blood-splattered plastic apron and blue scrubs, white surgical gloves gone crimson, a clear plastic shield covering the huge glasses on his large face.

And there, on the metal table in front of him, her body splayed from skull to hips, lies 31-year-old Ellen Andros. It is — it will prove — a somewhat difficult case. But from the start, from the moment a few hours ago when he first approached her still-warm corpse at her home outside Atlantic City, Elliot Gross, the former chief medical examiner for New York City, a man who autopsied Tennessee Williams and John Lennon and many other noteworthies during a 40-year career, thought he was on to something.

What’s going on here isn’t just science. It’s something deeper, something stranger, something at the same time both terrifying and fascinating. With Ellen’s body reduced to parts — organs and tissues and arteries and veins, each one removed and given careful attention — Gross is attempting to communicate with her. He’s asking questions, asking each part of her body a question. And so far, this is all he’s hearing back:

Someone did this to me.

Writer bio: Dan P. Lee, a South Jersey native, wrote for The Press of Atlantic City and Philadelphia Magazine before joining New York Magazine as a contributing writer.

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