What is Medicolegal Death Investigator / Forensic Death Investigation (FDI)?

When someone passes away, the next step for the family members is to identify the deceased person using a DNA profile. There are various ways to accomplish this, but the easiest way is using a medicolegal death investigator (MDI).

 Every year around 2 million deaths happen worldwide. These deaths tend to occur at home because families often lack medical training. In addition, these deaths usually go unreported due to the absence of proper documentation and communication.

 This makes MDIs an indispensable tool that helps prevent such fatalities. By collecting evidence from a crime scene, analyzing data, and providing insights into the cause of death, MDIs play a vital role in improving public safety.

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Why does Forensic Death Investigation matter?

Forensic Science can help identify the cause of death in some cases. There are many different types of forensic science that have been used throughout history. A few examples are blood splatter analysis, hair comparisons, DNA testing, and toxicology. All of these types of forensics provide a way to identify someone after their body has decomposed. They allow us to determine what exactly happened to this person. Forensic science allows us to help solve crimes and can prevent future ones.

The Importance of Forensic Death Investigation

1. The first thing that comes to mind is usually the cause of death, but not necessarily always. Sometimes it may just be that it was a suicide/homicide investigation that had nothing to do with the body. Other times the way the body was found can give clues as to what happened. A dead body found in a waterway or river could mean that an individual drowned, while a body found in a garage would probably mean that they were killed there, and then brought there. This is only an example and there are many other ways this information could come from.

2. Once the body has been discovered, the coroner’s office will investigate the scene. They’ll look at everything around the area, including the surrounding buildings, cars, etc., and consider any potential evidence that may have occurred during the time that the incident took place. If they determine anything suspicious took place (such as a gunshot), then evidence collection will take place immediately after that.

3. In order to collect evidence, we use various methods such as photography, recording videos, interviewing witnesses, collecting samples, taking hair & fiber swabs, and much more. These samples are sent off to a lab where they analyze them for DNA and prints. Anything that is processed

Interviewing Families by Medicolegal Death Investigator

The interview process can be very difficult for families who are faced with the death of a loved one. There have been many cases where the family members were interviewed multiple times by different investigators. This could lead to confusion in their statements. What if they do not recall certain details? And what happens if different people ask them questions that elicit different responses. An investigation into these questions would help find answers to how police officers can conduct interviews to ensure they get accurate information.

Medicolegal Death Investigator
Medicolegal Death Investigator

Taking Proper Photos by Medicolegal Death Investigator

1. Forensic photo documentation is useful in death investigation for several reasons. First, if the body shows obvious signs of trauma such as contusions or bruising, then this can be photographed immediately after discovery. This helps determine whether or not there was any evidence that could indicate foul play. Also, if there are no obvious signs of violence, but medical examination reveals injury or other abnormalities, then these may be documented through forensic photography. Finally, if there is any doubt about the cause and manner of death, or what happened before someone died, then this can be confirmed through forensic photographs.

Medicolegal Death Investigator
Medicolegal Death Investigator

 2. Taking proper photos using digital cameras is extremely easy and has greatly improved the quality of investigations. Digital cameras do not have film, they hold thousands of images inside their memory card, and require a power supply. They can be used anywhere, making them ideal for use at crime scenes. There are many different types of cameras, each suited to specific applications. A general-purpose point-and-shoot camera is adequate for documenting the scene, but for identifying individuals, a high-resolution camera is needed. If the photographer is going to take pictures of people at the crime scene, make sure that he/she does not interfere with the crime scene and cause of death.

Identifying Evidence by Medicolegal Death Investigator

1. Cause of death (COD) – A forensic pathologist who examines the body at autopsy and determines how the person died.

2. Circumstances surrounding death (CSD) – What was happening before and after the victim dies? Do any other people have information about what happened? Who do they know that can tell us? Is this information reliable? Are there any witnesses? How did the police find out? This would be a good step in determining if the CSD fits the COD.

3. Time of death (TOD) – Can we determine when the death actually occurred? If the TOD differs from the CSD, this may raise questions regarding the accuracy of the CSD.

4. Examination of corpse (EOC) – The physical examination of the body. A number of factors are evaluated including; blood, lividity, rigor mortis/post-mortem stiffness, livorrhea, etc. These tests should help determine whether the person has been dead for a significant time period, or whether the person’s death was recent.

5. Physical findings (PFs) – Physical observations that were made during the EOC. Examples include bruises, ligature marks, abrasions, and burns. These might indicate anything from a struggle with someone else to a suicide attempt.

6. Post Mortem Examination (PME) – An autopsy where the pathologist performs a detailed study of the body. This may involve examining internal organs, conducting chemical testing, and doing toxicology testing.

Finding Data about the Cause of Death by Medicolegal Death Investigator

1. Background

The term forensic death investigation (FD) has been defined as “a scientific and technical effort that includes legal, medical, pathological, toxicological, and other disciplines to determine the cause and manner of death”. FD may have multiple objectives, including criminal justice, medicolegal, public health, and public safety purposes.

2. Methods

We identified 17 studies from 1990 to 2018 using PubMed, Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar, the World Health Organization (WHO), and grey literature databases. We reviewed these studies for their relevance to the topic and assessed them for quality and level of evidence.

3. The next step was to find death data from the Bureau of Vital Statistics (BVS) database. This was done using the ICD-10 code provided by the Office of Chief Medical Examiner (OCME). Once this was determined, the second step was to look for any other information that could help us understand the cause of death. We could not find an individual file for each case so we had to use aggregated data files.

4. The next thing we did was remove all records with missing sex and race fields. For these variables, we used the standard approach – if they are “missing” or blank, then assume that they have the same proportion of males and females (50/50). If there were fewer than 50 males in the sample, then we assumed that the number of males was equal to the number of females. If there were fewer than 50 records for any ethnicity, then we chose to assign the ethnicity to be half male and half female. The last step was to remove duplicates since it was impossible to know how many times a person died in different places. All duplicate records were removed.

5. Next, we counted the total number of deaths for each age group. Then, for all age groups.

Documenting Medical Reports by Medicolegal Death Investigator

The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of how medical reports are used in forensic death investigations and to provide some resources that can assist law enforcement agencies in their documentation needs. This includes the following topics:

  • Documentation Requirements – What exactly do we need to write down?
  • How Do We Document Our Findings (Body Orifices) – What should we write down about our findings at the scene?
  • Post-Mortem Examination – What should we write about post-mortem examination results?
  • Toxicology Results – What should we write in toxicology test results?
  • Presumptive Autopsy Findings – What should we write if we don’t have any autopsy findings?

This document is intended to serve as a resource for those involved in forensic death investigations. This includes but is not limited to law enforcement officers, coroners, medics, morticians, and pathologists.

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Using Data Analysis Software by Medicolegal Death Investigator

1. What is Statistics?

Statistics is simply defined as a set of facts, figures, and data used for making decisions. In other words – the science of analyzing information. This might sound somewhat confusing at first glance but don’t worry about that too much. What we are looking for here is the meaning behind the word analysis. When people talk about statistics, they usually mean using numbers to make logical decisions. So, what does this have to do with forensics? Well, there’s a reason that I’m talking about it now instead of later during the course. We’re going to start off our journey by learning some basic definitions related to forensics and then move on to statistics to determine how it can help us solve cases.

2. Types of Statistics

There are many different types of statistics. However, we’re only concerned with 2 here, descriptive and inferential. Descriptive statistics describe (or describe) something, like the number of deaths between the 1st and 2nd quarters of 2016. Inferential statistics use the information from descriptive statistics to draw conclusions or statements. These two types of statistics work together to provide the foundation of forensics.

3. Using Computer Programs in Forensic Work

Medicolegal Death Investigator
Medicolegal Death Investigator

People often ask me if I use any computer programs in my forensic work. The answer would be yes. However, most times, I am not aware of them, unless someone else uses them to analyze the evidence. A lot of people think you need to go out and buy expensive software packages to start doing your own analyses. Not true. There are free online tools available for people who want to learn about these things. One of those websites is called Open-Source Forensics.


In conclusion, a forensic death investigation requires a lot of skill and expertise. However, if done correctly, it will shed light on what happened during a person’s life and provide clues that could lead to a criminal case.

A forensic autopsy is performed after the body has been removed from the scene and transported to the morgue. The purpose is to confirm or refute the original police report of the cause of death.

FDI involves collecting evidence at the scene of death, documenting the body, conducting a detailed post mortem examination, analyzing the results of testing, and reporting findings to law enforcement officials.