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The Role of the Medical Examiner

The mission of the West Tennessee Regional Forensic Center (WTRFC) is to determine the cause and manner of sudden, unexpected, and/or violent deaths in Shelby County and to promote and improve health and safety of the community.

The Investigation Process

  • Investigators receive initial reports of death which include visiting the scene, collecting photographs, obtaining evidence, and gathering information from family and other witnesses.
  • The WTRFC investigators arrange to have the body transported from the scene to the Medical Examiner’s Office (MEO), located at 637 Poplar Avenue in Memphis.
  • Further investigation, such as the examination of the decedent’s body by a WTRFC physician, is performed. Such examinations are performed the same day or the following morning.
  • Examinations may or may not require an autopsy. Autopsies are often required to accurately determine a cause and manner of death and will be performed by a WTRFC board certified forensic pathologist
  • While an examination is being performed, it is suggested that the family choose a funeral home or crematory and provide this information to the WTRFC. Once the examination is complete, the decedent will be released to the requested funeral home or crematory.
  • You may contact the WTRFC at any time to inquire about the process or request findings regarding the investigation and/or examination.

Last Published: Mar 12, 2021