The Pinal County Medical Examiner's Office investigates sudden, violent, unexpected, and suspicious deaths that occur within the geographical boundaries of Pinal County. The Office of the Medical Examiner certifies death after an investigation, and in most cases, a postmortem examination is completed. The PCMEO is charged with issuing the cause and manner of death as required by law. Complete findings of the death investigation are distributed to families and law enforcement agencies as appropriate.
The main duties of the Office of the Medical Examiner are to confirm identification of the deceased, determine the cause and manner of death, and certify deaths that fall under the jurisdiction of the medical examiner. The cause of death is the disease process or injury that resulted in death. There are thousands of diseases and injuries that may result in death. The manner of death is a classification as to how the death occurred (natural causes, homicide, suicide, or an accident). On occasion, the manner of death is classified as undetermined. Under the authority of Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 11-593
- How do I request a Medical Examiner report?
Medical Examiner reports should be requested via our online submission form visit page. The Medical Examiner report will include toxicology findings when applicable.
- What if my family objects to an autopsy or wants an autopsy?
While the final decision on whether or not to perform an autopsy is determined by the County Medical Examiner, family wishes are taken into consideration whenever possible. Please make your wishes known, but understand that the Medical Examiner must determine what to do using their experience and following the legal requirements of the State and Federal government. Not everyone who is examined is autopsied.
- How long will it take to get the Medical Examiner report?
A Medical Examiner report is typically available 90 days after an investigation takes place. If you are requesting a report for a death that occurred more than three months prior to your request, the report is typically provided within 1-2 weeks of your report request submission.
- Where are my loved one’s belongings?
The Medical Examiner documents the articles of clothing, jewelry, and items that were contained in the pockets of the clothing (money, credit cards, etc.) and releases these items to the funeral home at the time your loved one’s care is transferred. In some cases, the belongings are released to law enforcement as evidence.
- What if an agency calls to report a death?
There is a 24/7 phone number for law enforcement agencies only to report deaths to the Medical Examiner’s Office. If anyone other than a law enforcement agency calls to report a death, they must report it to their local law enforcement agency.
- My loved one passed away and was taken to the Medical Examiner’s facility. What do I do now?
Choose a mortuary and let them know that your loved one is at our facility. The mortuary will contact our office, and arrangements will be made to transfer your loved one’s care to them after our examination is complete. They will make you aware of the timeframe, as arrangements for each case are unique.
Visit the Information for Families page for a full list of mortuaries in Gila and Pinal County.
- What if I cannot afford to bury or cremate my loved one?
The Pinal County Public Fiduciary's Office manages Indigent Burials. For further information and qualification requirements, please call the Public Fiduciary at 520-866-7252 and ask to speak to someone about the Indigent Burials.
- Is it necessary for me to identify my family member at the Medical Examiner’s Office (MEO)?
No. In the vast majority of cases, identification is confirmed prior to the arrival of the deceased at MEO. An immediate family member may make a written or electronic request for an identification meeting, at which will be conducted the viewing of photographs of the decedent or any distinguishing marks of the decedent or any information that may assist the immediate family in establishing or confirming identity. Identification meetings will occur within 48 hours, excluding weekends and legal holidays. (ARS 11-597.01)