Atlas of Forensic Pathology

CHAPTER 3 Basics of Death Scene Investigation 13

Figure 3.1. Defleshed cranium on stairs. This defleshed cranium was brought to this house by a dog. The death scene was at another location. This photo illustrates how death investigation can easily involve more than one scene investigation.

not all features of importance is gone with the repeat. That said, if the autopsy or further information obtained uncovers a finding that needs investigation at the scene, a repeat visit can easily be performed (eg, if autopsy revealed an exit site for a gunshot wound that was not identified at the scene, a return to the scene might help identify the projectile).

CHECKLIST for Death Scene Investigation 1 The National Institute of Justice has a publication, “Every Scene, Every Time” that describes the steps each death investigation should have. These steps are divided into five categories: arriving at the scene, evaluating and documenting the scene, evaluating and documenting the body, developing decedent profile, and completing scene investigation. The steps in each of the five categories are listed below. Arriving at the Scene □ Introduce and identify self and role □ Exercise scene safety

□ Confirm or pronounce death □ Participate in scene briefing □ Conduct scene walk-through □ Establish chain of custody □ Follow laws related to evidence collection Evaluating and Documenting the Scene □ Photograph the scene □ Record findings at scene (ie, description of scene) □ Determine probable location of injury or illness □ Collect, inventory, and ensure security of evidence □ Interview witnesses at the scene Evaluating and Documenting the Body □ Photograph the body □ Perform external examination of body □ Collect and preserve evidence on the body □ Determine identification of the decedent

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