Death Investigation

1st Edition

An Introduction to Forensic Pathology for the Nonscientist

Authors: Ann Bucholtz
Paperback ISBN: 9781455774371
Imprint: Anderson
Published Date: 31st January 2014
Page Count: 386


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Death Investigation: An Introduction to Forensic Pathology for the Nonscientist provides students and law enforcement professionals with an accurate, clear overview of forensic pathology. It presents death investigation at the scene and autopsy, providing readers with a broad understanding of forensic pathology and giving them a clear picture of what happens after the examination of the scene. Readers learn what first responders should (and should not) do at the scene, and get a forensic pathologist's perspective on the importance of preserving evidence. Death Investigation methodically explains what happens during autopsy to determine cause and manner of death — including particulars of blunt force trauma, sharp force injuries, asphyxia, and gunshot wounds — and how findings are presented in court.

Written for a criminal justice audience by a practicing forensic pathologist and educator, Death Investigation makes challenging forensics concepts accessible to nonscientists.

Key Features

  • Presents the principles of death investigation in clear language and for the non-scientist
  • Covers all types of death investigations beyond just homicide
  • Explains the difference between coroner and medical examiner systems
  • Includes detailed photographs, key terms, learning objectives, and checklists


Courses in death investigation and forensic science taught in criminal justice programs, investigation courses taught in sociology/criminology programs, and law enforcement training programs.

Table of Contents

  1. Overview of Death Investigation
  2. Death Scene Investigation
  3. Death Certification
  4. Time of Death
  5. Autopsy Procedure
  6. Identification
  7. Blunt Force Trauma
  8. Gunshot Wounds
  9. Sharp Force Injuries
  10. Sudden Death in Adults
  11. Sudden Death in Children
  12. Asphyxia
  13. Special circumstances

Appendix: Courtroom testimony


No. of pages:
© Anderson 2014
Paperback ISBN:

About the Author

Ann Bucholtz

Dr. Ann Bucholtz has served as the Chief Medical Examiner for Nashville, Tennessee, and as an Associate Medical Examiner for Cochise, Pima, and Maricopa Counties, Arizona. She served on the faculties of AT Still University, National University, Paradise Valley Community College, and Kaplan University. She is American Board of Pathology certified in Anatomic, Clinical and Forensic Pathology and is an active member of the National Association of Medical Examiners and American Academy of Forensic Sciences. She currently practices as a Forensic Pathologist with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Alberta, Canada. She is the author of Forensic Studies: CSI for the Nonscientist from Crime Scene to Crime Lab, and Biological Evidence.

Affiliations and Expertise

Forensic Pathologist, Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office, Ventura, CA, USA


"… introduces the principles of death investigation to nonscientists, including students and law enforcement professionals…details the history of death investigation, professional roles, death scene investigation, death certification, time of death, autopsy procedures, identification, and the investigation of blunt-force trauma, gunshot wounds,…", April 2014