Rumford woman awaits word on brother’s cause of death

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RUMFORD — Gina Cormier Child waits every day for her phone to ring.

She hopes it’s the Los Angeles police or the Los Angeles coroner’s office calling her in Rumford to say whether her brother Michael A. Cormier was murdered last month or died of natural causes.

Cormier, also a Rumford native, was a well-respected crime-scene photographer and forensic technician for the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, his sister said.

He worked on Michael Jackson’s autopsy, a friend said.

Cormier also ran a small business out of his home: MAC Autopsy Services.

According to an April 30 story in the Los Angeles Times, Cormier appeared to have died from poisoning on the night of April 20. He was taken from his North Hollywood home to a Burbank hospital where he died.

Los Angeles police told the Times that investigators haven’t ruled out foul play. An officer and a coroner’s official told the Sun Journal on Friday the investigation continues and they had nothing else to release.

“I want to know what happened,” Child said Sunday afternoon. “He worked there 10 years and we didn’t know about the arsenic poisoning until we saw it online. I was quite upset because they hadn’t notified the family.”

The news came as a shock. Twenty-two days before Cormier died, their brother Gary Anthony Cormier, 57, died on March 29 of cancer, Child said. Gary, of Palmdale, Calif., was also a Rumford native and former well-known radio personality.

Child, 53, said Michael, their oldest brother, called her on April 17 — three days before he died.

She said he was excited about returning to Rumford next month to perform songs at Gary’s funeral service at 2 p.m. June 30 in the Dixfield Congregational Church. Now the service is for both brothers.

“Unbelievable,” Child said. “We are still grieving for Gary, and then to have Michael pass away, this can’t be real.”

She said she flew to California to be there when Gary passed away, and spent a week with Michael.

“It was nice,” Child said. “I blew him a kiss and said, ‘I love you and I’ll see you in June,’ because I thought he was coming home for Gary’s funeral.”

Michael had already bought his plane ticket and had an itinerary planned.

“He just wanted to walk every single street in Rumford, starting with Spruce Street, and to come back and pay his respects and meet with family and sing at Gary’s funeral,” Child said.

She said Michael was the first-born son of the late Arthur J. Cormier Jr. and Charlene D. Thompson Cormier of the Brick Park neighborhood.

They had five boys and three girls. Michael was born June 7, 1950, and Gary, May 25, 1954. Both attended Rumford schools and graduated from the high school; Michael in 1968 and Gary in 1972.

Child described Michael as “kind, softhearted, a good guy with a great sense of humor, a good singer who loved animals, especially dogs, and just a sweetheart.”

From 1966-67, Mike performed across Maine in the rock band Corvells. It featured Mike on rhythm guitar and keyboard, Tony Belskis on lead guitar, Gerald Arsenault on bass guitar, and Jim Murphy on drums. They all did vocals.

“Mike’s dad was very good to us,” Belskis, a professional musician, said Friday at his home in Lakeland, Fla.

“I hung out at their home many nights, practicing and coaching the younger Cormier boys in their band called the Jolly Green Giants.”

He said the Corvells won the local Vox Battle of the Bands in 1967, performing before 1,500 people at the Rumford Armory.

The group disbanded in 1968 due to the draft, Belskis said. Mike Cormier joined the Marines and became a field radio operator.

“I’ll always remember Mike Cormier as the perfect band member, never an argument from him,” Belskis said. “Just a true, down-to-Earth musician and friend. We were and are still like brothers.”

Belskis said the last time he called Mike “was after he worked on Michael Jackson in the coroner’s office.”

Child said her brother helped to identify the cause of death for several celebrities, but wouldn’t discuss details.

Now, it’s the details of Mike Cormier’s death that Child and Belskis want to know.

“I’m waiting like everyone else to hear the final report on Mike,” Belskis said.

“I know one thing, he was way too young to die and someone may have had something to do with that.”

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