In our “business” much has been written about how to investigate a crime, the murder scene, the suicide. You are trained (or being trained) what pieces of evidence you should document, record, and collect. The keys, the diet coke can, the fibers, the half smoked cigarette butt. You are trained to collect and preserve the evidence. Unlike the CSI shows of today (it cracks me up the crime scene investigators can stroll into the interrogation room and fire those crime solving questions at the suspects), your “people” interaction is limited to those who belong to the same team, the crime scene investigation team. Yes, you are aware of victim or victims, the family left behind, and perhaps the suspects. Now add a body into your crime scene and it’s a whole new ball game!
A victim’s body is an important crime scene piece of evidence. When investigators scan the crime scene for evidence, their search centers around one crucial piece of evidence to the crime – the victim’s body. The condition of the crime victim can provide many pieces of information that led to the victim’s death and that information is crucial during investigation. The dead victim’s body is a silent witness to the crime and qualifies as physical evidence.
But what about the surviving family? Who answers their “why” questions? And why should you be concerned about those questions? Dean Beers, a Certified Legal Investigator, and Karen Beers, a Certified Criminal Defense Investigator, have written a book, A Survivors’ Guide to Understanding Death Investigations, which will help answer these questions. The book provides a basic background of the steps the coroner takes during death investigations, the history of the coroner’s office, and how the process of notification is done.
This book is more than a guide for the family. It will provide you a better understanding of the role of the coroner, the modes and manner of death, and the duties of the coroner. So why is this important? The more you know, the more you’re trained, the closer you are to your position, and the less likely you are to forget who you’re serving—the victim and their survivors.
As Dean Beers, wrote to me: “To the living, we owe Respect. To the dead, we owe the Truth”. Enough Said.