Employment Opportunity

Medicolegal Death Investigator/Technologist

Washoe County Medical Examiner's Office, Reno, Nevada

Salary: $64,896.00 - $84,448.00 Annually

Final Filing Date: September 27, 2021

Under general supervision, responds to calls and performs death scene investigations; assumes legal custody of remains; performs gross dissection, assisting pathologist with autopsies; maintains examination room, equipment, and supplies; and performs related work as required.

Incumbents are primarily responsible for investigating death scenes, identifying human and non-human remains, locating and notifying the next-of-kin; performing gross dissection under the direction of a pathologist and the documentation of autopsy findings, using x-rays and photographs; specimen collection; and chain of custody.

Duties and Requirements Click to read more


EXAMPLES OF DUTIES (The following is used as a partial description and is not restrictive as to duties required.)
  • Examine bodies and death scenes which includes taking photographs, examining bodies, recording observation, taking fingerprints, collecting/preserving biohazardous/infectious specimens, interviewing witnesses, and collecting/preserving evidence and personal effects in response to calls from hospitals, nursing homes, citizens, law enforcement agencies, or other sources, to assist in determining probable cause and manner of death and necessity for autopsy or further examination.
  • Independently conduct death investigations and perform autopsies under the general direction of a forensic pathologist for a wide variety of cases including, but not limited to, severe traumas, children and infants, multiple fatality incidents, decomposed bodies, skeletal remains, violent crimes, infectious and biohazardous exposures, etc.; this includes responding to and investigating multiple death scenes and conducting multiple autopsies during a single shift.
  • Assume legal custody of remains and arrange for transport to either a mortuary or the Medical Examiner’s Office, as appropriate; escort transport of remains to the Medical Examiner’s Office to maintain chain of custody on evidence, personal effects and remains.
  • Responsible for coordinating city, county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, medical, nursing personnel, families, friends, witnesses, and regulatory agencies (i.e. Bureau of Mines, FAA etc.).
  • Analyze collected evidence and personal effects; examine and interpret medical records, interview family members, neighbors, medical personnel, witnesses, public agency staff and others who had contact with or knowledge of the deceased, to establish identity and history of the deceased.
  • Search for, locate, and notify next-of-kin or responsible party to communicate circumstances of death, legal, and other required procedures and to arrange for the subsequent examination and disposition of remains, as well as personal effects.
  • Write clear and accurate reports which thoroughly detail the circumstances of death, findings, and actions taken; this includes proper spelling and grammar, medical terminology, and accuracy of details, dates, and times.
  • Schedule autopsies and medical examinations; coordinate the attendance of requisite agencies.
  • Train physicians, nurses, medical students, paramedics and law enforcement personnel in different aspects of death scene investigation.
  • Aspirate blood, urine and vitreous samples in those instances where timeliness of samples is mandated by statute or chemical decomposition (e.g., DUI, diabetes).
  • Collect biohazardous/infectious specimens from death scenes and dead bodies.
  • Safely handle and collect/preserve dangerous substances such as chemicals, poisons, and drugs.
  • Organize daily autopsy schedules and documentation and notify proper agencies of time.
  • Inspect bodies, making external examinations of clothing and personal effects, noting findings; remove and inventory clothing and personal effects, preserving them for transfer to the forensic laboratory or return to the next-of-kin.
  • Visually examine bodies prior to autopsy, taking photographs and x-rays to make a permanent record for case files of traumas and other medical abnormalities; communicate findings to pathologist prior to and during autopsy.
  • Perform anatomical dissections of bodies during autopsy, including, but not limited to, severe traumas, children and infants, decomposed bodies, skeletal remains, violent crimes, and infectious and biohazardous exposures, using established medical protocols under the direction of a pathologist; measure and weigh organs as they are removed, noting any abnormalities discovered; replace organs in chest cavities after autopsy, suture and clean bodies in preparation for release to correct authorities.
  • Secure a variety of specimens from bodies, including tissue, hair, nail clippings, biohazardous/infectious swabs, bodily fluids, chemicals/poisons, vitreous, urine, and blood samples for further analysis or storage for future reference; write evidence record receipts for each sample taken, maintain accurate chain of custody.
  • Maintain examination areas in an orderly and sanitary condition, keeping equipment sharpened and disinfected; maintain an inventory of adequate supplies to ensure efficient operations.
  • Maintain case related data including property and attendance sheets, worksheets, photographs, x-rays, tissue blocks and slides, or other specimens for easy retrieval and reference.
  • Meet with families of deceased to explain complete death investigation findings, cause of death, funeral processes, and jurisdictional requirements.
  • May testify in court proceedings, citing involvement in a particular case, including actions performed and maintaining a chain of evidence custody.


Minimum Qualifications
  • Sixty (60) semester units from an accredited college or university which included courses in at least two of the following areas: anatomy, physiology, pathology and dissection, medical terminology, or a closely related field;
  • AND
  • One year of full-time experience as a technician in pathology, histology, surgery, or repeated exposure to catastrophic injury or death (e.g., paramedic, nursing, emergency room, forensic investigation);
  • OR
  • An equivalent combination of training and experience.
License or Certificate
  • A valid driver’s license is required at time of appointment.
  • American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigation (ABMDI) Diplomate Registration or Certification is required within one year of time of appointment.

Do you have the Education Required? See available on-line and campus-based degree programs now!

How to apply: Apply online

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Posted: September 13, 2021

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