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Death Investigation: The Basics

NCJ Number
B Randall
Date Published
168 pages
This step-by-step manual is intended to provide newly appointed and novice death investigators with guidance on the death investigation procedures used by coroners and medical examiners.
The text explains the role of death investigators, how to determine which deaths to investigate, how to conduct a scene investigation, visual and other methods of body identification, and how to establish a time of death. Additional sections discuss the notification of families, interactions with the media, the autopsy, how to fill out a death certificate, and how to diagnose sudden infant death syndrome. Further sections focus on how to identify basic gunshot wounds, how to find vital evidence, when to call a forensic pathologist, and the difference between cause and manner of death. The text emphasizes the teamwork required for a successful death investigation and explains the roles of the professionals involved, including coroners, medical examiners, physicians, emergency medical and law enforcement personnel, forensic specialists, nurses, funeral directors the press, and legal experts. Case examples, figures, photographs, sample forms, checklists, appended forms and additional guidelines, index, and 50 references