Cause Manner of Death

Cause of Death vs. Manner of Death

An Integral Piece of Information in Death Investigations

Is there a difference between the Cause and Manner of Death? Yes, there is a big difference. Investigators should appear at the Medical Examiner’s Office for the autopsy on any homicide, child fatality and suspicious death – no exceptions. If the case investigator can’t make it due to the nature of the investigation, i.e. lineups, interrogations, etc., then a suitable replacement with knowledge of the case must attend.

In any death investigation, investigators must know the Cause of Death (COD) and the Manner of Death (MOD). There is actually a third piece of information that investigators must have and that is the Mechanism of Death.

The Medical Examiner / Coroner, is the only individual that will classify deaths and provide the COD and the MOD. Why is this information so important? Without out it, investigators don’t have a case, reporters, journalists and crime writers don’t have a story, and if you are a lawyer, you don’t have a client. Both the Cause and Manner of Death will appear on the death certificate.

I am trying something new. For a few select future posts I will prepare a short video that will explain the investigative technique or concept. The first try will be on the difference between Cause of Death, Manner of Death and Mechanism of Death. It is a short clip (2m 31s) and I’m looking for feedback if you enjoy this method.

Here is a copy of an Autopsy Worksheet

Quiz time to test what you learned:

After watching the video, see if you can answer this question: (Answer in the comments section)

A man was shot in the head, which led to exsanguination and brain death. What is the cause, mechanism and manner of death?