Docs: 4 suspected Detroit escorts were asphyxiated

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STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — Doctors say four suspected escorts found dead in car trunks in Detroit in 2011 likely died from asphyxiation.

Doctors who performed autopsies testified Wednesday at a court hearing to determine if James Brown of Sterling Heights will face trial for first-degree murder.

Dr. Francisco Diaz says he found no evidence of trauma but believes Renisha Landers and Demesha Hunt died of asphyxiation, a lack of oxygen to the brain. The bodies of Natasha Curtis and Vernithea McCrary were found in a burning car, six days later on Christmas 2011.

Dr. Carl Schmidt says those bodies were burned beyond recognition, but he also believes they were victims of asphyxiation before the fire. At least three of the four women promoted themselves as escorts-for-hire on Backpage.com, which carries classified and personal ads.

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