What type of cases is the Medical Examiner’s Office required to investigate?

  • 8 August 2023

State statute dictates the types of cases in which the medical examiner will become involved. The specific statute reads as follows:406.11 Examinations, investigations, and autopsies. In any of the following circumstances involving the death of a human being, the medical examiner of the district in which the death occurred or the body was found shall determine the cause of death and shall make or have performed such examinations, investigations, and autopsies as he shall deem necessary or as shall be requested by the state attorney when any person dies in the state:

  • Of criminal violence. By accident. By suicide.
  • Suddenly, when in apparent good health.
  • Unattended by a practicing physician or other recognized practitioner.
  • In any prison or penal institution.
  • In police custody.
  • In any suspicious or unusual circumstance.
  • By criminal abortion.
  • By poison.
  • By disease constituting a threat to public health.
  • By disease, injury, or toxic agent resulting from employment.
  • When a dead body is brought into the state without proper medical certification.
  • When a body is to be cremated, dissected, or buried at sea.

The district medical examiner shall have the authority in any case coming under any of the above categories to perform, or have performed, whatever autopsies or laboratory examinations he deems necessary in the public interest.