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Understand forensic examinations

What happens when a body is sent for a forensic exam.


Case forwarded to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) investigates cases where someone does not die of natural causes. These include people who died:

  • Of homicide
  • By suicide
  • From an accident
  • In an industrial-related death
  • Without an attending physician
  • Are unidentified
  • And other cases determined to be under the jurisdiction of the OCME
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Forensic examination


1 to 2 days

Body fluids, tissues, or organs may be collected to diagnose what the person might have died of.

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Released to funeral director


1 day

Contact a funeral director of your choice and make disposition arrangements.

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Death certificate filed


Within 8 days of death

If the investigation is not finished, the cause and manner of death may be listed as “Pending Investigation.” We will update the certificate when the investigation is done.

You can get a death certificate for deaths that occurred:

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Last updated October 4, 2022