The opioid crisis that has rocked the nation has been specifically harsh on the city of Philadelphia. Recently, this epidemic claimed thirty lives in the city by way of an overdose in just 30 days.
Seth Ditizio, a nine-year veteran forensic investigator with the medical examiner’s office in Philadelphia is well acquainted with death. In his previous career, Ditizio worked as a United States Army infantryman fighting serving in Iraq. And the 36-year-old bushy-bearded ex-soldier perfectly understands the role he plays in the crisis that has devastated the city of Philadelphia.
All too often Ditizio has found himself to be the voice on the other end of the phone informing a heartbroken family of the worst news they could possibly hear. He is a bridge of sorts from one source of pain to one that is worse as families that have suffered because of a loved one’s addiction are now informed that the addiction has claimed his or her life.
Many times, the dead arrive at Ditizio’s office with only a name that is told to him. One example is a man whose case came across Ditizio’s death in November. Almost immediately, Ditizio had a hunch that the man had not long been in the city of Philadelphia. The investigator’s hunch proved correct as it was later determined that the deceased was from Delaware County.
The John Doe cases are even more difficult for Ditizio and these types of cases have increased in frequency in recent months. Recently a man was discovered in a breezeway with no identification and not wearing shoes. The only thing Ditizio had to go on was the 10th Army Mountain Division insignia that had been tattooed on the man’s back. Ditizio has said that cases like this one are often times difficult to leave behind at the office.
The investigator’s present case was a man named Christian. This he knew because it was shouted by an onlooker to a paramedic that responded to the 911 distress call. Many times that is ‘all that you can ask for,’