Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office
A death investigation is initiated when the Medical Examiner’s Office is notified by law enforcement agencies, funeral homes, health providers or loved ones, and the death is deemed to fall under the jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner. It is then our duty to identify deceased individuals, notify relatives of deaths, protect the immediate property on or about a body, determine the cause, manner and circumstances of deaths, initiate the death certificate and provide forensic consultative services concerning investigated deaths.
California law requires investigation of deaths that occur from unknown causes or under suspicious circumstances. The following categories of deaths are immediately reportable to the Medical Examiner Office:
- Suspected or known homicides, suicides and accidents
- Deaths involving suspected or known criminal activity
- Deaths involving suspected poisonings
- Deaths related to substance abuse
- Deaths occurring in jail or in police custody
- Deaths occurring at state mental hospitals
- Deaths related to occupational diseases or hazards
- Deaths in which the deceased was not attended to by a physician for the 20 days prior to dying.
- Deaths in which a physician cannot reasonably give the cause of death
- Deaths involving suspected contagious diseases constituting a public hazard
- Deaths of unidentified persons
- Deaths occurring within 24 hours of hospital admission
- Deaths suspected to be from sudden infant death syndrome
Immediate reporting of the above listed deaths assures compliance with the statutory provisions of California Government Code 27491 and Health and Safety Code 102850 and Code 103000.