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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 704-358-5027.
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