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Public Health - Seattle & King County

King County Medical Examiner's Office

Phone: 206-731-3232
Fax: 206-731-8555
Hours: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday

Physical location (use this address if you are visiting us in person):
908 Jefferson St, 2nd Floor
Seattle, WA
Metered street parking is available in the area as well as the parking garage in the 9th & Jefferson Building (first half hour in the garage is free.)

Mailing address (use this address only if you are mailing us a document. We are not physically located at 325 9th Ave.):
Box 359792
325 Ninth Ave
Seattle, WA 98104-2499

Overview of the King County Medical Examiner's Office

The purpose of the Medical Examiner's Office is to bring trained medical evaluation to the investigation of deaths that are of concern to the public health, safety, and welfare of the community.

The Medical Examiner's Office investigates sudden, violent, unexpected, and suspicious deaths that occur in King County. Of the 13,046 deaths in King County in 2007, the Medical Examiner's Office took jurisdiction in 2,072 cases, and performed autopsies for 66% of them (1,367).

Deaths that come under the jurisdiction of the Medical Examiner's Office include, but are not limited to, the following circumstances:

  • Persons who die suddenly when in apparent good health and without medical attendance within thirty-six hours preceding death.
  • Circumstances which indicate death was caused in part or entirely by unnatural or unlawful means.
  • Suspicious circumstances.
  • Unknown or obscure causes.
  • Deaths caused by any violence whatsoever, whether the primary cause or any contributory factor in the death.
  • Contagious disease.
  • Unclaimed bodies.

In addition to determining the cause and manner of death, the office works to provide accurate identification of decedents under their jurisdiction, and to notify the next of kin. Each decedent is treated with dignity and respect, and families are supported with compassion, courtesy, and honest information to help them with their grief and to make appropriate arrangements.

The Medical Examiner's Office's professional staff of over 30 includes medical examiners (who are medical doctors specializing in the science of forensic pathology), medical investigators, autopsy assistants and administrative support staff. The Medical Examiner's Office has been continually accredited with the National Association of Medical Examiners since 1978.

How to get a copy of autopsy and investigator reports
  • An autopsy report is the medical finding (cause and manner of death): $50/each
  • An investigator report is the field report (investigator's finding at the scene): $20/each

Instructions:

  1. To obtain an autopsy report, you must be a family member of the deceased.

  2. Write to the King County Medical Examiner and indicate in writing (one sentence), your relationship with the deceased.

  3. Indicate on the same letter, the name of the deceased and date of death.

  4. Indicate that you are requesting the autopsy report and would like one copy.

  5. Include the mailing address of where the autopsy report should be sent.

  6. Sign and date the letter.

  7. Submit the $50.00 fee for the report. (Make checks payable to: Medical Examiner's Office.) Checks and money orders by mail only. Cash is accepted in person.

  8. Separate Investigator Reports are $20.00. NOTE: You do not need to be a family member of the deceased to obtain an Investigator's Report however non-family members will get a report redacting any private information of the individual. Family members will get the full report.

  9. Mail your letter and payment to the following street address (You may also hand deliver the letter in person):

    King County Medical Examiner's Office
    Harborview Medical Center, Box 359792
    325 - 9th Ave
    Seattle, WA 98104-2499
King County Indigent Remains Program

The King County Indigent Remains program provides cremation and a proper burial for individuals who are indigent and who have died in King County. This program serves people whose families either could not be located or could not provide for the proper disposition of remains.

The King County Medical Examiner's Indigent Remains program will hold a ceremony to bury the remains of 137 individuals in a ceremony at Mt. Olivet Cemetery in Renton on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Details...

Unidentified remains:

The King County Medical Examiner's Office is seeking the public's assistance in identifying cold cases of unidentified remains.


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