The Medical Examiner’s Office has several roles: 1) To establish the cause and manner of death of decedents that fall under its jurisdiction. 2) To positively identify all unknown decedents 3) To notify the next of kin
In most cases decedents are positively identified visually on scene by police or family members. If your loved one is the victim of a Homicide the decedent’s family will have to come in person to the DCMEO to do the Identification interview.
To ensure security and public safety, it is not possible to view bodies at the DCMEO. Families are encouraged to view the decedent at their designated funeral home.
In most cases, some of the findings may be available within 24 hours after examination. If a case is pended it may take approximately 6-8 weeks before toxicological analysis is complete and the case can be amended. Unfortunately, due to the large case load, investigators are not able to contact each individual family after the examination. The legal next-of-kin is able to contact DCMEO in order to inquire about findings.
The DCMEO certifies all deaths via the Electronic Death Registry System (EDRS). The funeral home is provided the EDRS case ID # when the decedent is picked up. The family should work closely with the funeral home to obtain a copy of the death certificate.
In most cases, the clothing and decedent’s property will be turned over to the funeral home when the decedent is picked up from our office. Clothing will not be returned to funeral home if it poses a biohazard or if the clothing has been turned over to law enforcement for additional testing or investigation.
There is no fee for any examination or tests performed during the investigation of a decedent’s death by the DCMEO, however there is a nominal charge for reports compiled by this office pursuant to Pennsylvania Statute Act of 154 of 2018, Article XII-B (Subarticle A) Section 1252B (Fees for Reports). To see a list of fees please CLICK HERE.
There are multiple ways to request records: Online: www.delcopa.gov/meo, click on the link at the bottom of the page records, or via email to the Office Manager Riccardo Goodlet: Goodletr@co.delaware.pa.us
Yes: DCMEO will release investigation and examination findings and reports only to:
1. The decedent’s legal next of kin
2. A physician who was involved in the decedent’s care; and
3. An investigating public agency (e.g. law enforcement, labor and industries, etc.) Please be aware, that the decedent’s identity and cause and manner of death are public record.
Designate a primary contact person for your family
Provide your contact’s information to the Medical Examiner’s Office
Select a funeral home or crematory
Work with your funeral home to obtain a copy of the Electronic Death Certificate