MEDICAL EXAMINER’S OFFICE
The Medical Examiner falls under Missouri State Law RSMO 58.720
The Medical Examiner’s office is under the direction of the County Commission.
The Buchanan County Medical Examiner is appointed by the County Commission, RSMO 58.700.
Medical Examiner's Department
411 Jules – Room 101A St. Joseph, MO 64501
Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday
Adam L. Wineinger, MD
Buchanan County Medical Examiner
Bodies of deceased persons are brought to this office because Missouri State statutes require that the Medical Examiner investigate deaths of persons dying from “violence, or suddenly when in apparent health, or in any suspicious, unusual, or unnatural manner”. The Medical Examiner is responsible for determining the cause and manner of their death. A body may also be brought to the office if the identity of the deceased or next of kin is unknown.
An autopsy is a systematic examination of the body of a deceased person by a qualified pathologist. The body is examined for the presence of disease or injury, and specimens of the vital organs and/or body fluids may be taken for microscopic, chemical, or other testing. These tests are conducted following completion of the examination and do not delay the release of the body to the next of kin. Having an autopsy does not in any way interfere with viewing the body at the funeral. Buchanan County autopsies are performed by a forensic pathologist at the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s office in Kansas City, Missouri.
The legal next of kin should inform our office if they object to an autopsy being performed. The Medical Examiner’s office is sensitive to the needs of the family and will seriously consider their objection. However, in many cases an autopsy is required by law and we will be unable to comply with the family’s request.
The Medical Examiner’s Office supports the community efforts to promote organ and tissue donation whenever possible. This office will coordinate with the personnel of the organ bank to maximize the chance of organ and tissue recovery.
Nearly all cases are completed within 24-48 hrs. Bodies may need to be held longer if special forensic testing is required or to confirm the identity of the deceased.
Any property that is transported with the body to the Medical Examiner’s Office will be inventoried, stored, and released to the funeral director at the time of the release of the body.
The Buchanan County Medical Examiner office is open Monday – Friday, 8:00 am. to 4:30 pm. for calls. The Medicolegal Death Investigator is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to accept reports of death. There is no viewing of decedents. All viewing must be arranged with the funeral home to which the decedent is released.
No. The cost for an autopsy performed under the Medical Examiner System is paid for by our tax dollars.
You should contact the funeral home for death certificates. You may also contact the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, P.O. Box 570, Jefferson City, MO 65102, 573.526.0348 for copies of death certificates.
Hospice companies report via paper reports all deaths that fall under hospice care. Determinations of whether the Medical Examiner will take jurisdiction on a hospice case is determined after receiving their report.
The family can request a copy of the autopsy report by submitting a written request via email, mail or fax. Please include the following:
• Decedent’s full name
• Decedent’s date of death
• Decedent’s date of birth
• Your relationship to the decedent
• State that you are requesting a copy of the autopsy report
• Include your return address and contact number
Note: If requesting by mail, a self-addressed, stamped envelope will need to be provided with the request. Email request to: [email protected]. Please note that no reports will be released if an ongoing criminal case exists. Only after a criminal case is adjudicated or dismissed will an autopsy report be released.
To have a body released from the Medical Examiner’s office, the legal next of kin will need to call the Medical Examiner’s office at 816.271.1433 andinform their office of the funeral home that has been selected. Please leave a voicemail and your call will be returned.