An autopsy is an intricate post-mortem medical procedure often requiring complex laboratory tests. It includes examination of all major organs to document injury and/or disease. State law gives the Office of State Medical Examiners the authority to perform an autopsy in the case of sudden, unexpected or violent death and other instances when an autopsy is a compelling public necessity. Autopsies do not affect funeral arrangements, and viewing of the body at the funeral home will still be possible.

Autopsy Reports

To ensure the highest professional standards, a final autopsy report is issued only after all necessary tests have been completed and records thoroughly checked for accuracy. To ensure accuracy, many tests take several weeks, or even months to complete. It is the duty of the State Center for the Office of Medical Examiners to correctly identify and document the cause of death.


If the autopsy is performed by the State Center for the Office of Medical Examiners, there is no charge for the autopsy procedure to the family. It is absorbed through operations of the Department of Health, funded through tax dollars. Autopsy reports do cost $40 per copy and are available upon request to the next of kin. To obtain a copy of an autopsy report, the next of kin must submit a letter in writing or an autopsy request form.