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Database of death investigations

North Carolina medical examiners investigate thousands of suspicious and violent deaths each year. Sometimes they close cases without viewing the body – which violates state guidelines – or ordering an autopsy, which is recommended in some death investigations.

Without such steps, experts say, crimes can go undetected or families may have unanswered questions about what happened to loved ones.

Through an open-records request, the Charlotte Observer has compiled a database that contains information for deaths from 2005 through mid-2011 where medical examiners did not view the body and did not order an autopsy.

The Observer excluded some specific information contained in records from the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to protect families’ privacy.

Go to charlotteobserver.com to search the database. You will need to enter the first and last names of the deceased. If you have questions or information about a specific case, please email reporter Fred Clasen-Kelly at frkelly@charlotteobserver.com or call him at 704-358-5027.

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The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

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