Death investigation at the Orleans Parish Coroners Office is conducted by a group of highly trained professionals including forensic pathologists, medicolegal death investigators, and morgue technicians whose primary function is to determine cause and manner of death. Under Louisiana law, certain deaths are deemed to be “Coroner’s Cases” and must be investigated. Medicolegal Death Investigators perform field investigations and in certain cases refer the death to the forensic pathologist for autopsy to investigate cause and manner of death. In addition to other deaths specified in Louisiana law (RS 13:7513), deaths that require investigation are homicide, suicide, deaths that are result of an accident, sudden or and unexplained deaths.
Death investigations can be complex in nature and require collaboration between pathologists, investigators and toxicology lab as well as crime scene technicians and homicide detectives. Due to the complexity of this type of work, a determination of cause and manner of death may take several months to complete.