The medical investigators in our office have advanced training in forensic death investigation including witness interviews, accident reconstruction, evidence collection, and fingerprinting. Investigators secure and evaluate hospital and office records and perform profiles necessary in suicide determinations. They have a knowledge of ballistics and ammunition and their effects on the human body. They determine time of death based on techniques such as cooling patterns and insect life cycles. The investigative staff maintains continuing education in forensic sciences by regularly attending seminars and lectures and staying current with the latest literature in the field. They may also be called to testify in the courtroom.
When a death under our jurisdiction is reported to the Medical Examiner's office, an investigation surrounding the death is initiated. The investigation may be done by phone or the medical investigator may travel to investigate the death scene and determine if the body should be brought back to our facility for further examination. Our investigation may include interviewing family and friends of the decedent as well as witnesses, law enforcement, and health care providers. A thorough investigation of the death scene may include collection and preservation of evidence to be examined by the crime lab. Photographs of the scene are taken and personal property on the body will be collected as well as necessary documentation to locate and notify the next of kin. Any and all personal property that accompanies the deceased to the medical examiner's office will be released to the next-of-kin, unless such property is to be used as evidence in a criminal proceeding.
During the investigation, the medical investigator will consult with the forensic pathologist on call and may request his presence at the scene. A complete investigative report is then prepared and filed.