Death Investigation: A Guide for the Scene Investigator

National Institute of Justice

   See also the instructional video "Processing the Crime Scene"

Introduction to the 2024 Technical Update

Medicolegal death investigation has evolved greatly in the years since the 2011 release of the first technical update to Death Investigation: A Guide for the Scene Investigator. A few of these changes are advances in communication, photography, and documentation technology; procedural advances in drug, child, and infant death investigations; and an elevated awareness of the importance of the medicolegal death investigator (MDI) among professional partners, families, and the media. With the everchanging advances in DNA technology, the MDI must also possess an increased understanding of the potential value of evidence associated with the body. Lastly, it has become clear with regard to death investigations that the MDI must be allowed to perform an independent, yet collaborative, investigation with law enforcement. This model ensures the best possible outcome for both death and criminal investigations.

This revised and updated edition is the result of a collaborative effort to present the most up-to-date information about the issues confronting MDIs today.

A multidisciplinary group was brought together for reviewing and bringing the content up to contemporary standards. The group was broken into section groups, each with a chair and co-chair. Once the section groups finished their edited sections, the document was combined, and comments were collected. A final editorial group met in person in Washington D.C. for a final review session followed by two subsequent virtual meetings. ABMDI, IACME, and NAME were all represented.

Death investigators are the foundation of a medicolegal death investigation and make crucial decisions about the involvement of not only the office, but also of a forensic pathologist, in which case they are the eyes and ears of that forensic pathologist at the scene.

 Earn a Degree in Crime Scene Investigation, Forensic Science, Computer Forensics or Forensic Psychology

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