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thisiskortny5
12-28-2016, 06:01 PM
If someone is murdered, how long after the incident is the body released to the family for burial? Do they always do an autopsy on murder victims? Does the murderer have to be caught before the body is released or do they just get all evidence and then release the body?

DrDoc
12-28-2016, 07:06 PM
Some of this depends on the needs and beliefs of the family. Especially as to when and how burial takes place. Autopsies are generally required if the age of the dead person is less than 75 years of age (the median death age, some variation between the sexes, no exact number here). Younger persons are autopsied (again if religion allows it). Forensics will gather only as much evidence as they deem required to establish the cause of death. But watch out, these are physicians who tend to use "clinical" diagnoses (read: statistical diagnoses) rather than hard facts as to the actual cause of death for THIS person. Subtle poisons can appear to be simple heart attacks & etc., and the physician, unless very curious, will go for the easy, clinical diagnosis option, just like regular MD's in the clinics: they tell you what they THINK you have (based on statistics) and not what you REALLY have (based on evidence).

If the body is cremated there is little potential for a re-examination, unless the ashes remain, in which case it would be possible to look for heavy metals, but not for any organic molecules.

Good luck in your story!

DrDoc

thisiskortny5
12-28-2016, 07:12 PM
Some of this depends on the needs and beliefs of the family. Especially as to when and how burial takes place. Autopsies are generally required if the age of the dead person is less than 75 years of age (the median death age, some variation between the sexes, no exact number here). Younger persons are autopsied (again if religion allows it). Forensics will gather only as much evidence as they deem required to establish the cause of death. But watch out, these are physicians who tend to use "clinical" diagnoses (read: statistical diagnoses) rather than hard facts as to the actual cause of death for THIS person. Subtle poisons can appear to be simple heart attacks & etc., and the physician, unless very curious, will go for the easy, clinical diagnosis option, just like regular MD's in the clinics: they tell you what they THINK you have (based on statistics) and not what you REALLY have (based on evidence).

If the body is cremated there is little potential for a re-examination, unless the ashes remain, in which case it would be possible to look for heavy metals, but not for any organic molecules.

Good luck in your story!

DrDoc

Thanks!

mrsmig
12-28-2016, 07:37 PM
If someone is murdered, how long after the incident is the body released to the family for burial? Do they always do an autopsy on murder victims? Does the murderer have to be caught before the body is released or do they just get all evidence and then release the body?

The answer is going to vary according to the practices of the country/state/county in which the crime occurred. There's no one answer.

shakeysix
12-28-2016, 07:59 PM
My neighbor, Tony Guzman, was murdered in November. He, his girlfriend and 7 year old daughter have lived next door to me for 8 years. Tony and his girlfriend split up in October and he moved to Sedgewick County. He was at a party and someone shot him. (Lots of drinking, lots of guns. That old 3 Dog Night Song "My mama told me not to come.." keeps running through my head.)

Tony had a reputation around town for having a bad temper when drinking. He was always a good neighbor to me: kept my drive shoveled in the winter; mowed for me when my yard guy didn't show up and would take no pay. He and his girlfriend fought a lot. He went to jail almost yearly but when he wasn't in jail he worked hard and long hours to support her and his daughter. The guy who shot him is claiming self defense but is in jail in Wichita while the crime is under investigation. The last I heard there will be a trial but we don't hear a lot. There was an autopsy. The body, personal effects, official reports went to his mother in Texas. The local police officer knocked on my neighbor's door and told her the news the morning that it happened. She has not had any other notification. The local police also tell her what they know about the investigation but she gets nothing official. They were never married and he was living apart so that makes sense. Te death certificate only came to her because they owned property together.

The funeral was in Texas, in a week or so after the murder. There is friction between the families so the ex and little daughter did not go. The ex-girlfriend is dim and a high school drop out. Somehow the Texas grandmother convinced her that her daughter was not eligible for Social Security Survivor Benefits. She told her that only Tony's two daughters from his marriage are eligible--which is crazy as they are both over 18. I drove the ex-girlfriend and the daughter--a bright little girl who reads better than her mother--to the nearest Social Security office and straightened that out. She will rec a monthly survivor payment. All three girls will split the death benefit--$255. Social Security is not a reward for outstanding social behavior--it is the right of the deceased parent to provide for his or her under age dependent. Tony might not have been a model citizen but when he was not in jail he worked hard for his daughter. He did not dodge his responsibility to pay into the system by taking under the counter pay.

As for the trial? We used to hear about it on the news and the local police kept the ex-girlfriend informed but it is old news now, so not as much info. The autopsy seemed to dispute the self defense claim. --s6

jclarkdawe
12-28-2016, 09:56 PM
There's a lot of variables here, and your lack of description makes this a lot more difficult to answer.

The body can be released in a very few hours if there are religious/cultural needs and the autopsy is relatively simple. For example, let's say we've got a witnessed shooting with videotape, where the victim dropped dead, and the police arrived within minutes. Victim is Jewish or Muslim. What we're mainly going to look for in the autopsy is angle of bullets (consistent with video?), number of bullets that actually hit, toxicology reports (organs removed and not returned to body), rule out underlying medical conditions, and that's going to be it. Autopsy will run maybe three hours. Body needs to be buried within 24 hours of death because of religious and cultural beliefs.

A more complex situation, such as a body undiscovered for two weeks, with no visible cause of death, might be held onto for several weeks or months if murder is suspected.

All bodies with no known cause of death will be autopsied. Suspicious deaths will be autopsied. All autopsies have many pictures, lab results, and are now often videotaped. Bodies are not held until the murderer is caught or trial.

Jim Clark-Dawe

thisiskortny5
12-28-2016, 10:42 PM
The answer is going to vary according to the practices of the country/state/county in which the crime occurred. There's no one answer.

I understand that now, in my head it all seems like a simple answer lol. I'll attempt to do some research for the specific area, but I'm the worst googler and can never find anything useful.

The victim is a young woman stabbed to death, body discovered by friends. Location: America, Indiana

- - - Updated - - -


There's a lot of variables here, and your lack of description makes this a lot more difficult to answer.

The body can be released in a very few hours if there are religious/cultural needs and the autopsy is relatively simple. For example, let's say we've got a witnessed shooting with videotape, where the victim dropped dead, and the police arrived within minutes. Victim is Jewish or Muslim. What we're mainly going to look for in the autopsy is angle of bullets (consistent with video?), number of bullets that actually hit, toxicology reports (organs removed and not returned to body), rule out underlying medical conditions, and that's going to be it. Autopsy will run maybe three hours. Body needs to be buried within 24 hours of death because of religious and cultural beliefs.

A more complex situation, such as a body undiscovered for two weeks, with no visible cause of death, might be held onto for several weeks or months if murder is suspected.

All bodies with no known cause of death will be autopsied. Suspicious deaths will be autopsied. All autopsies have many pictures, lab results, and are now often videotaped. Bodies are not held until the murderer is caught or trial.

Jim Clark-Dawe

Thanks, seems I have a lot of options to consider

ironmikezero
12-28-2016, 11:09 PM
As a few have correctly stated, it depends upon the laws of the appropriate jurisdiction. Generally speaking any suspicious and/or unattended (by medical professionals) death is subject an autopsy typically performed by a forensic pathologist. For the circumstances you've cited, see the below link.

http://codes.findlaw.com/in/title-36-local-government/in-code-sect-36-2-14-6.html

jclarkdawe
12-29-2016, 05:33 AM
Wabash County has a coroner with no medical degree, but no medical examiner. The coroner would examine the body at the scene, but my guess is that the body would then be shipped to Fort Wayne. Again, a guess, but I would assume the autopsy would occur within 2 to 5 days, and the body would probably be held onto a couple of days longer. If the victim is a Mennonite or Amish, I'm not sure how that would impact this.

With her friends finding her, I'm assuming she hasn't been dead more than 24 hours. Knife wounds require some expertise because its critical in determining the knife used, and the elasticity of the skin can interfere with that assessment.

Jim Clark-Dawe