Medicolegal Death Investigation Seminar
This three and a half-day program is designed for law enforcement officers, detectives, firefighters, medical examiners and other forensic investigators desiring additional knowledge of principles in forensic science and related fields.
The Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office, one of the busiest in the nation, has instructors who will cover topics such as crime scene investigation, examination and evaluation of evidence, time of death, firearm injury, death by fire, blunt force injury, knife wounds, child abuse, suffocation, mass disaster management, drug-related deaths, forensic odontology, forensic anthropology and court testimony.
Visit the Medicolegal Death Investigation Course website for information about upcoming courses here.
Upon your Arrival
You will be asked to complete a questionnaire regarding the person you are about to identify. It will consist of some basic personal questions such as name, age and your relationship with the deceased. You will be required to produce a picture ID, such as a driver's license or other state ID. Included in the process will be a form to sign regarding the release of the decendent's medical records.
An Investigator of the Medical Examiner's Office will assist you in making a visual identification of your family member or friend through a monitor in the viewing room. After positive identification has been made, arrangements for burial may be made through the funeral home of your choice. The funeral home will ask the legal next of kin to sign a body release form. This form is needed by the Medical Examiner's Office for proper and expedient release of the body to the funeral home.
How Long Does an Autopsy Take?
An autopsy is usually completed within 24 hours of receipt of the body at the Medical Examiner's Office. You may request a Medical Examiner Investigator to explain what procedures will be performed on the body and when it can be released to you for final disposition. Testing on tissue or body fluids is done after the autopsy is completed and does not interfere with the family in making final arrangements with the funeral home.
How and When Will Personal Property Be Returned?
Personal property may be retrieved by the legal next of kin after the identification process has taken place. If property is being retrieved by someone other than the legal next of kin, then authorization - such as a power of attorney - must be provided by the legal next of kin for that person to retrieve personal property. If there is personal property that requires special handling, such as a weapon or objects considered as evidence by law enforcement authorities, we will instruct the family as to how this will be done. If another agency, such as law enforcement, has taken custody of weapons or personal belongings, we will provide you with the name of the agency and a contact person to assist you with any questions.
How to Obtain a Death Certificate
We issue one death certificate with the date, time, cause and manner of death listed on it. The death certificate accompanies the decedent's body to the funeral home chosen by the family where the necessary information will be added to complete the death certificate. Copies of the death certificate may be obtained through the funeral home once the necessary information has been updated and has been filed with the Health Department.
How to Obtain a Medical Examiner's [Autopsy] Report
An autopsy report may be obtained from the Medical Examiner's Office. The cost is $50 payable by certified check made out to "Wayne County Medical Examiner." The report may be reviewed on the premises, free of charge. This report is generally ready within two  weeks after the autopsy has been completed, unless the case was initially "pending." A "pending" status may be indicated on a death certificate immediately following the autopsy. This simply means that other tests are being performed which may include the study of tissue and testing for drugs, chemicals or toxic substances. Other information, such as medical records, may also be required to arrive at a cause of death. The Death Certificate will be amended when the cause of death is known. The funeral director will be notified by this office when the death certificate is complete with a cause of death.