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Tienci
01-21-2007, 10:58 AM
A sixty-year old man is found dead at home by his wife who calls 911. Ambulance arrives, coroner pronounces man dead at scene but there is no visibly obvious cause of death (e.g. no physical trauma).

(I'm going off guesses/assumptions so correct me if I'm wrong anywhere).
1. Would the police then be called by the medics, and if so, do they take a statement from the wife there or does she have to "go downtown" (which I currently have her doing)?

Also, my main question: when is a preliminary autopsy report ready? A suicide/foul play is suspected since it does not appear to merely be a heart attack or stroke or something, and a toxicology report is planned but I think that would take a month or so to come back.

In the meantime, is the preliminary autopsy report only given to the police or will the wife be informed as well and if so, how (ie, does she have to go down or is over the phone ok)?

I hope this made sense- it's 2am and I'm 98% asleep...

kristie911
01-21-2007, 04:34 PM
Of course, everywhere is different, so take this with a grain of salt.

Here, the coroner (we call them M.E.'s or Medical Examiners) would be called and he would pronounce him dead. Police would be called if they weren't already there (sometimes they go just to assist) and the wife would be questioned. Though she wouldn't be questioned as if she were guilty of something, only to get an idea of what had happened to assist the ME. If there was no obvious trauma, there would be no reason for her to be taken in for questioning...it would be assumed he had a heart attack, stroke or something similiar, even if he was in good health.

As for the second question, I'm only guessing on this one because I'm not positive, it's an educated guess nonetheless. Because we're not a busy area, the autopsy would be ready within a day or two. If foul play was then suspected, and the wife was the only one with recent access to the victim, she would be questioned further at the police station. And, no, she wouldn't be given the autopsy report in full until she was cleared as a suspect. And, yes, the tox report would take at least 4-6 weeks to come back.

Hope this helps!

FireMedic 105
01-21-2007, 05:04 PM
A sixty-year old man is found dead at home by his wife who calls 911. Ambulance arrives, coroner pronounces man dead at scene but there is no visibly obvious cause of death (e.g. no physical trauma).
Ambulance usually arrives with police or just after police. There would be no cornoner present unless requested by the police. First arriving responders would note anything suspicious or not. Paramedics can and do pronounce death.
(I'm going off guesses/assumptions so correct me if I'm wrong anywhere).
1. Would the police then be called by the medics, and if so, do they take a statement from the wife there or does she have to "go downtown" (which I currently have her doing)?
Paramedics would talk to the wife to ascertain what happened, medical history and so forth. At the same time the police maybe listening for their information. Unless it is 100% obvious....i.e. she is holding an instrument of death, she will stay and not go "downtown".
Also, my main question: when is a preliminary autopsy report ready? A suicide/foul play is suspected since it does not appear to merely be a heart attack or stroke or something, and a toxicology report is planned but I think that would take a month or so to come back.
A prelim report can be done in about 48 to 72 hours....again, in the obvious scenario. Toxicology takes 6 - 8 weeks if not longer.
In the meantime, is the preliminary autopsy report only given to the police or will the wife be informed as well and if so, how (ie, does she have to go down or is over the phone ok)?
Prelim report is just that......the police may be told if the death is suspicious or not. The family is not informed until there is a definitive result. They may advise over the phone but, they mail or deliver by courier an official report with the official cause of death.
I hope this made sense- it's 2am and I'm 98% asleep...

I hope this helps!

Vanatru
01-21-2007, 06:29 PM
Ok ::::cracks fingures:::: I can let you know how we generally do it back home in Seminole County. :) I cannot speak for other areas or agencies.


A sixty-year old man is found dead at home by his wife who calls 911. Ambulance arrives, coroner pronounces man dead at scene but there is no visibly obvious cause of death (e.g. no physical trauma).

(I'm going off guesses/assumptions so correct me if I'm wrong anywhere).
1. Would the police then be called by the medics, and if so, do they take a statement from the wife there or does she have to "go downtown" (which I currently have her doing)?...

For any death, whether it's accidental or not, law enforcement is called. That's due to the policy that the police or deputies have to assess the indicident to determine if it is an accident or not.

So, if this lady calls 911 and Fire/Rescue get on scene, either an LEO will already be there, or be on the way. If they know ahead of time the person is dead. No code/no vitals.

Sometimes if they don't know the person is dead already and they find out when they get on scene, they will have dispatch contact LE and have them respond.

Also, in our county, there is no Coroner. So, once the crime science kids are done, the body is either transported to the hospital and held, or everyone waits on scene for the neighboring counties Coroner to come over.



Also, my main question: when is a preliminary autopsy report ready? A suicide/foul play is suspected since it does not appear to merely be a heart attack or stroke or something, and a toxicology report is planned but I think that would take a month or so to come back. ...

I've generally waited no more than a week to get reports back. Of course, it'll depend on how much business the ME is getting/how many agencies they service/etc.



In the meantime, is the preliminary autopsy report only given to the police or will the wife be informed as well and if so, how (ie, does she have to go down or is over the phone ok)?

I hope this made sense- it's 2am and I'm 98% asleep...

Depends on the nature of the investigation and nature of death. If it's an un natural death/something hinky is going on, then the detectives may or maynot share all the info with the next of kin. They might be suspects, after all.

Hope that helps a wee bit.

-Bill

P.S.
If anyone is in the area, and needing a job of this type.

Volusia County is looking for a new Associate Medical Examiner
Seminole County is taking apps for Forensic Service Interns.

Julie Worth
01-21-2007, 06:45 PM
Okay, now reverse the genders: dead wife, no apparent cause of death, husband calls it in. Is this more suspicious?

Vanatru
01-21-2007, 06:55 PM
Oooh, I like what FireMedic wrote. That's good stuff, and compariable to our County EMS way. The paramagics would talk to the kinfolk, and exchange info with our deputies. I think his answer is a good one.

-Bill

Rabe
01-21-2007, 07:18 PM
Okay, now reverse the genders: dead wife, no apparent cause of death, husband calls it in. Is this more suspicious?

Everything else being equal?

No.

Unless you're dealing with extremely outmoded and sexist people.

But why would a husband be more apt to be considered a suspect in an immediately non-suspiscious death then a wife?

I know when I arrived on either scene, I wouldn't automatically pursue either gender as a suspect until there was some *reason* to do so.

Rabe...

Julie Worth
01-21-2007, 07:26 PM
But why would a husband be more apt to be considered a suspect in an immediately non-suspiscious death then a wife?.

Maybe because husbands kill wives with much greater frequency than the reverse. And sudden death at the age of 60 is rather more common for men.

greglondon
01-21-2007, 07:46 PM
In fiction, I'd say readers expect foul play and will consider either surviving spouse as a possible suspect. When I watch CSI or some crime show, I'm always noting the characters and keeping a list of suspects in my mind. To avoid deus ex machina endings, shows usually introduce the guilty person in the first half or so.

Tienci
01-21-2007, 09:44 PM
Thank you all for your input! All responses have been helpful one way or another! :Clap: