What a medical examiner does during a criminal investigation

  • Forensic pathologists are often involved in criminal investigations, including those where dead bodies have been found.
  • A&E will arrive at the scene to examine a body from the outside and help law enforcement uncover evidence.
  • Next, an autopsy is usually performed, where the ME will closely examine the internal structures to confirm the cause of death.

Forensic pathologists are often called to crime scenes to observe a person’s remains to determine how they died.

Forensic pathologists – also known as MEs – are doctors specially trained to perform autopsies and help with death investigations.

Once an MO arrives at the scene, they begin by assessing the remains and the circumstances that led to that person’s death, according to the District 12 Examiner’s Office website – who recently helped out in a Florida park where possible human remains were found in the Brian Laundrie search.

The MOE examines the entire exterior of the body, including clothing and personal items. In a criminal case, the MOE also works closely with law enforcement to collect evidence.

After the initial examination, an autopsy is usually performed. This is when the medical examiner examines the inside of the body to determine the cause of death. Toxicology reports are run and bodily tissues and fluids are tested.

Once the autopsy is complete, the bodies are usually ready for release the same day, according to the District 12 office. In some cases, as if the body has not yet been identified, the body would be detained by the office of the medical examiner until the identity of the person can be determined.


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