Chief ME Adel Shaker arrested Tuesday

Adel Shaker web.png
Nueces County medical examiner's office.jpg
Posted at 4:01 PM, Apr 12, 2022

UPDATE (5:25 p.m. Wednesday): Shaker bonded out Wednesday afternoon.


Nueces County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Adel Shaker was arrested on Tuesday afternoon, charged with 17 violations of the Texas Occupations Code.

The arrest was confirmed by district attorney Mark A. Gonzalez and county judge Barbara Canales Tuesday afternoon.

"The Human Resources Department has not been able to discuss Dr. Shaker's status with him yet," Canales stated in a text message to KRIS 6 News evening co-anchor Pat Simon. "We are aware that Dr. Shaker was arrested."

Each charge is a third-degree felony, and carries a $50,000 bond.

Physicians and other health care professionals bound are bound by the Texas Occupations Code. The charges allege that Shaker has violated the code in numerous ways, stemming from Dr. Sandra Lyden's hiring as Nueces County deputy chief medical examiner in December 2021.

  • Warrant #22FE-0103-JP11 accuses him of delegating "professional medical responsibility or acts to a person if the delegating physician knows or has reason to know that the person is not qualified by training, experience, or licensure to perform the responsibility or acts."
  • Warrant #22FE-0104-JP11 pertains to a section in which the medical examiner "delegates" authority to subordinates such as Lyden by hiring them. The charge applies to Shaker because Lyden acted as deputy chief medical examiner without being properly certified or licensed in Texas, possibly violating the statute that says "the person to whom the delegation is made does not represent to the public that the person is authorized to practice medicine."

He currently is in the Nueces County Jail.

Law enforcement was at the medical examiner's office Monday carrying out a search warrant — one of several executed recently.

The Texas Rangers and the Nueces County District Attorney’s office also have been investigating Shaker after he reportedly offered to change the findings of an autopsy in order to avoid a homicide investigation.

Shaker was also the subject of a 2020 Texas Rangers investigation in which several former ME's office employees allege Shaker recorded weights of organs that hadn’t been yet removed from bodies.

Lyden was arrested and charged with tampering with a government record in March.

Shaker is accused of hiring Lyden with the knowledge she did not have a valid temporary emergency license to practice in Texas and had not yet applied for one.

During the Texas Rangers’ and Nueces County District Attorney’s Office’s investigations, it was discovered a medical examiner's office employee had written to Lyden and copied Shaker, stating Shaker told the employee Lyden had been granted a temporary license to practice medicine in Texas.

But in October 2021, Shaker sent Lyden an email noting an "emergency form" was ready for submission to the Texas Medical Board, indicating she had not received the temporary emergency license referenced in the August email. This email contradicts the earlier one.

Lyden was hired Dec. 6, 2021. When KRIS 6 Investigates broke this story in January, Lyden still had not been granted a valid Texas medical license or emergency certification.

On Jan. 14, the district attorney's office served a warrant and seized documents from the ME's office. By the end of the day, Lyden's employment with the county had been terminated after only working for the county for a little more than a month.

This is a developing story. Stay with KRIS 6 News for updates.