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Dr. Justin M. Uku, chief medical examiner May 19, 1921 -- July 16, 2007

As Erie County's chief medical examiner, Dr. Justin M. Uku was involved in many of the area's high-profile cases and contributed his expertise to nationally publicized investigations.

Dr. Uku died Monday in Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Town of Tonawanda. He was 86.

Born in Nigeria, Dr. Uku attended Glasgow University in Scotland. In an interview years ago with The Buffalo News, he said he was inspired by an uncle who was a doctor and professor of surgery at the University of Lagos in Nigeria.

Dr. Uku worked in Nigeria before emigrating to the United States. He had lived in New York City before moving to Buffalo in 1973.

He worked for the Erie County medical examiner's office from 1973 until 2000, serving as chief medical examiner since 1981. He also had served as a coroner for Cattaraugus and Niagara counties.

In the Erie County medical examiner's office, Dr. Uku worked on some of the most sensational and controversial homicide investigations, including the deaths of suspects in police custody and the murder of a North Tonawanda man whose body was entombed in concrete in the basement of a home.

He is survived by his wife, the former Elaine Szuperski; three sons, John, David and Justin P.; four daughters, Ayo Bryant, Barbara A. Ojeme, Leslie and MelissaUku; five brothers, Vivian, Raymond, Reginald, Conrad and Eustace; and a sister, Julie Ikomi.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:15 a.m. Saturday in St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, 885 Sweet Home Road, Amherst, after prayers at 8:30 in Amigone Funeral Home, 5200 Sheridan Drive, Amherst.


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