Behind the scene with the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner
MILWAUKEE---It's up to the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's office to perform the morbid task of identifying the dead.
In their mission statement it says their goal is to promote and maintain the highest professional standards in the field of death investigation, as well as provide timely, accurate and legally defensible determinations as to the cause of death, and protect the interests of deceased individuals, their loved ones, and the communities they serve.
Forensic investigators can identify bodies in a number ways.
First they can have a family member ID the body, but when that isn't an option they resort other scientific methods.
The other methods can include using DNA, dental records, and finger prints.
Investigators said that finger prints are the easiest and most accessible way to make an identification.
Certain elements can make finger printing more difficult, like if a body becomes dried out.
If a body is frozen, an investigator must wait until the body is thawed so they can roll a print. If the body decomposed and then froze they may not be able to get a print.
In some cases, an identification can take anywhere from a day, weeks, even years to complete.
The M.E.'s office said that they want to make sure they can get an identification because they want these people get home to their families and have their choice of a proper burial.