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This can be answered by looking at identification found on the deceased or through verification by family members or friends. When identification of an individual is unable to be determined, DNA can be tested to determine identity. Dental records can also be compared to the deceased when possible.
This question can be answered by determining the circumstances of death. This is different than why a person died in that it does not provide the medical explanation for death. For example, an accident may be how a person died, but head trauma would explain the reason why death occurred.
This question can be answered by the person who found the deceased or by officers called to the scene. It is important to know the location and position of the body as well as the condition of the surrounding area.
While the answer to this question will typically be the same as the answer to the above question, a difference will exist in cases where the deceased has been moved. It is important to know the location of death in order to look for evidence of how, why, or when death occurred.
This may be answered by determining when the deceased was last seen and how much time has passed since that time. This provides a frame within which death must have occurred. Determining the actual time of death, however, is very difficult to do. As a result, while an approximate time of death can be determined by asking the previous questions, the time of death as recorded by the Coroner’s Office is the time at which death is confirmed upon responding to a call.
This question asks why a person died in a given situation. As explained in the question of how above, the answer to why a person died will be the particular medical reason for death. In an accident, for example, head trauma would explain the reason why death occurred. In other words, the question of why can be answered by determining the particular cause of death. Determining the medical history of the deceased can also provide insight into why a person died. It is also important to know what medications were in the possession of the deceased at the time of death. Why a person died may, but not always, be determined through autopsy and toxicology tests and further investigation.
While the Coroner’s Office does not investigate legal matters concerning death, the manner of death may be apparent through determining why a person has died. Based on autopsy or toxicology findings, it may be determined that a person died by homicide, suicide, accidental death, natural death, or an undetermined manner of death.