What is the normal process of a forensic death investigation?

  • 8 August 2023

In many cases when there is a death, at least two jurisdictions are involved. The police or law enforcement agencies involved have jurisdiction over the scene and its associated physical evidence. The medical examiner is responsible for the body of the deceased and any physical evidence/property in direct contact with the body. With the exception of life-saving efforts that may be attempted by fire / rescue and law enforcement officials, the body may not be touched or moved by anyone (including law enforcement officials) without permission of the medical examiner or his representative. Therefore, forensic death investigators from the Medical Examiner’s Office respond to most non-natural death scenes before the decedent is removed from the scene. Forensic Investigators will document the pertinent details and collect information about the circumstances of death. The decedent will then be transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office, where he / she will be placed in refrigeration until examination.