I put together a sequence of events for the procedure after a dead body is discovered.
1. The body is pronounced dead at the crime scene (or in the hospital, if they believe the body isn’t brain dead yet) by the appropriate authority, usually by a physician, but it can also be a nurse or a paramedic.
2. The body is delivered to the morgue, and identified by a family member or friend. The corpse is tagged.
3. The coroner or attending physician runs toxicology tests and determines the cause of death. If cause of death can’t be established, the physician will order an autopsy to be performed.
4. A medical-legal autopsy is performed by the physician to determine cause of death.
5. The physician fills out the death certificate, stating date, time and cause of death.
6. All of the documents obtained (toxicology test results, autopsy report, photographs, and opinion) are turned-over to law enforcement and become a part of the Corpus Deliciti, or the “body of evidence.”
7. The corpse is turned over to the next of kin, where it becomes their property and responsibility for cremation or burial.