About the Medical Examiner's Office

Administration Division

The administration personnel of the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office are responsible for the forensic administrative functions of the office. Our staff prepares payroll, maintain accounts payable and receivable, and handles the release of information to families, agencies and hospitals.

The transcriptionist types the autopsy reports for forensic pathologists, fellows, and residents. Administrative personnel also fulfill requests for autopsy and other reports by law enforcement agencies, media requests, families and attorneys, and perform filing and other receptionist duties.

Complete & Accurate Files
Administrative personnel enter data into the computer from the death certificate, autopsy and toxicology findings on each case. All case files pass through this office several times during processing, and the administrative staff ensures the files are complete and accurate.

The receptionist provides information to callers or visitors regarding office policies and procedures, death certificates, and burial handling. Additional duties include notary duties and making notification to Kansas City Health Department on heat- and cold-\ related deaths.

Prerequisites for forensic administration include forensic and medical terminology, clerical typing skills and ability to handle distraught families with compassion and empathy. 


Autopsy Division

A forensic autopsy is a series of lab tests and examinations performed on a body to identify injuries or medical conditions that may have caused or contributed to death. The autopsy includes a thorough external and internal examination of the body. It is done by a forensic pathologist – a medical doctor who has been specially trained to recognize patterns of injury, collect evidence, and investigate the circumstances surrounding a death.

A forensic autopsy involves a thorough examination of the body as well as internal structures and organs. Additionally, lab tests are performed to check for infectious diseases, alcohol, and/or drugs. Learn more here


Investigation Division

The Investigations Unit of the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office is a 24/7 operation and consists of 8 full time Investigators, a Deputy Chief Investigator and the Chief of Forensic Operations and Investigations. The scope of work in this unit is to investigate the scene and circumstances surrounding deaths coming under the jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner’s Office.


  • Respond promptly to death scenes and conduct an independent and thorough investigation into circumstances of death
  • Interviews witnesses, relatives and other persons to obtain pertinent information regarding the decedent’s past history to assist the Medical Examiner with determining the manner and cause of death
  • Photographs and documents death scenes as required and obtain detailed medical history and follow-up information as needed including but not limited to medical records and police reports
  • Gather additional data as requested by the Medical Examiner and are skilled and knowledgeable in performing external body examinations and collection of evidence
  • May be called upon to testify in court proceedings
  • Familiar and utilize personal protection equipment during hazardous environments and work during inclement weather and stressful circumstances
  • Exposed to decomposed bodies, contagious diseases, and other hazards
  • Trained to assist in mass fatalities in scene investigation, morgue operations, administration, and the family assistance center
  • Knowledge of medical terminology, anatomy may also assist with autopsies when called upon by the Pathologist

Investigators also stay current on state and local laws regarding deaths and handling of human remains. The Investigation Unit also works closely with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies concerning deaths that occur under the jurisdiction of the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office.


Operations Division

The Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office (JCMEO) is the only National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) Accredited Medical Examiner’s Office in the State of Missouri and staffed with Board Certified Forensic Pathologists, Board Certified or Registered Medicolegal Death Investigators, Forensic Technicians and trained Administrative Staff who handle transcription, death certificates, case files and medical records. The JCMEO works closely with the local organ procurement organization MTN and assists families with the recovery of organ and tissue donations.

The JCMEO also tracks all Hospice and Nursing Home deaths that occur in Jackson County. The JCMEO also has 24/7 telephone coverage by trained death investigators with prompt contract transportation services, and death scene investigation. Completion of autopsy reports and death certificates are within a timely manner.

Handling of Mass Fatalities that occur in Jackson County is yet another one of Jackson County Medical Examiner’s many responsibilities. A Mass Fatality Incident is described as any occurrence of multiple deaths that overwhelms the usual routine capacity of the Medical Examiner or Coroner. Recent events and the emergent threat of continued terrorist activity emphasize the need for public-sector agencies to plan for a coordinated response to a mass fatality event.

Agencies small and large, urban and rural, need to be prepared for an event that will exceed their operations capacity. Medical Examiners are responsible for processing and identifying the victims of the incident at a temporary morgue site if needed, locating and corresponding with family members of the victims through the family assistance center, assisting with recovery of bodies at the incident site, and participating in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to update information regarding recovery efforts. (For additional information see the Mass Fatality Management and KCRMORG page).

JCMEO is a state-of- the-art resource for the Kansas City, MO Metro area and also provides referral autopsy service to assist multiple counties in Missouri.


Pathology Division

The pathology division includes four board-certified forensic pathologists. The division is directed by the Chief Medical Examiner who oversees the general operation of the office, in addition to the clinical forensic training program. Learn more about their roles and responsibilities here.