About the Author
Darren is a 30 year veteran of law enforcement and criminal investigations. He currently serves as an investigator for the Crawford County Missouri coroner’s office. He holds credentials as an instructor for the Missouri Sheriff’s Training Academy, has served as president of the Missouri Medical Examiners and Coroners Association, and is certified and credentialed in numerous fields of investigation. He holds the position of lead instructor and facilitator for the Coroner Talk™ community as he speaks and writes in the area of death investigation and scene management.

Headless Torso at Roadside Park | CT6

Roger Mauzy - torso foundA female torso was located on June 27, 2004 by a work crew trimming bushes at the I-70 (westbound) rest area near the 199 mile marker in Wright City, about 50 miles from St. Louis, MO.The rest area is the first Missouri rest area on the west bound side from Illinois. There is a back entrance to the rest area that is secured by a gate, which is often left open, and was probably left open on the night of this occurrence. The back gate is accessible from the north service road. The area in which the victim was found is a remote area of the rest stop, along a circle drive which is primarily used as a picnic area and is accessible to cars, vans and smaller trucks. It is unlikely that an over-the-road type vehicle would use this area due to limited access, although it is remotely possible. The victims body was found approximately 10′ from the edge of the pavement, down a slight hill. It appears as though the suspect(s) drove to the area, removed the victim from a vehicle and simply discarded her remains by throwing her down this hillside. The victim was not murdered at this location. It is estimated that her remains were discovered within 12 hours from the time she was discarded, probably sometime after 9p.m. on Sunday, 06-27-04. There is very little evidence of decomposition, therefore it is estimated that she was killed no more than just hours before being dumped at this location. It is probable that she was killed at a location not far from the scene of recovery – maybe no more than 50 to 100 miles. Her head, arms and legs were removed and have not been recovered.

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Coroner & Law Enforcement Scene Cooperation | CT4

Crime-scene-cooperation-coroner-policeIt is clear that coroners have crime scene jurisdiction. But what happens when a lay person gets elected to the office of coroner and had no crime scene training. What is local law enforcement supposed to do ?What are Coroners supposed to do when the local law enforcement won’t recognize their authority?

The Office of the Coroner is the oldest administrative office of government. The coroner is responsible for the investigation and certification of cause and manner of deathThe county coroner is notified when a death warrants investigation and works in conjunction with the police authorities to investigate deaths of a violent nature or unnatural cause (accident, homicide, suicide). Some states require coroners to be notified of all deaths, including natural. When the dead body of a person is found or lying within the county, the coroner will immediately go to the place where the body is and make a preliminary investigation. Read More

Getting To Close to Victim Families | CT3



By opening up lines of communication with the victim’s family, Greeley says he found himself inundated with keeping the family happy without jeopardizing the leads and evidence collected in the investigation.

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Aurora Theater Shooting Radio Traffic | CT2

Colorado ShootingOn July 20, 2012, a mass shooting occurred inside of a Century movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight screening of the film The Dark Knight Rises. A gunman, dressed in tactical clothing, set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others. The sole suspect, James Eagan Holmes, was arrested outside the cinema minutes later. It was the deadliest shooting in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre in 1999.

The shooting occurred in theater 9 at the Century 16 multiplex (operated by Cinemark), located at the Town Center at Aurora shopping mall at 14300 E. Alameda Avenue. Police said the shooter bought a ticket, entered the theater, and sat in the front row; about 20 minutes into the film, he left the building through an emergency exit door, which he propped open with a plastic tablecloth holder.

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Compassion Fatigue | CT1

On this podcast, Anita Brooks, author of Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over joins me to discuss an overlooked issue for twenty-first century coroners — Compassion Fatigue.

Compassion-Fatigue-coroner talkHelping others who have undergone a trauma from a natural disaster, accident, or sudden act of violence, can be highly satisfying work. But helping trauma victims can take a toll on even the most seasoned mental health professional. This is Compassion Fatigue. Ongoing exposure to the suffering of those you are helping can bring on a range of signs and symptoms — including anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability, and feelings of helplessness — that can interfere, sometimes significantly, with everyday life and work. In clinicians, including therapists, counselors, and social workers, this response is often referred to as “compassion fatigue” or “secondary post-traumatic stress. Read More

Mistaken for child abuse

Reposted with permission of original author.

xray-coroner talk-child abuseRecently I consulted on two cases of mistaken child abuse. I was contacted by two defense attorney’s in Texas who had clients facing charges on child abuse and other related charges. I always approach these cases with an open mind, but look at the facts of the case and what the issues with the child tell us. Both of these cases the children lived, thus this was a consult taking forensics and applying it to the living. What I found was shocking and upsetting.

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Baby Death – What Investigators Need To Know


baby-death-coroner talk

By Darren Dake

Every year in the United States, tens of thousands of children die from a variety of causes, including illnesses, diseases, accidents, suicides, and homicides. Each death is a heart­ breaking event for the child’s family and a tragic loss for society. When a child’s death is sudden and unexpected, the tragedy is compounded if law enforcement fails to conduct a proper investigation. If the investigation is flawed, two outcomes—neither acceptable—are very real possibilities.

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The Caution of Suicide Rulings

suicide hangingBy:  Darren Dake

Suicide by its very nature can cause a lot of trepidation to the death investigator. Family stigma, insurance issues, and privacy are all key  concerns in making a ruling of suicide. The investigator is called upon to provide factual information which will assist in deciding whether the death in question is murder, suicide, or accident. Since most injuries can be found in all three manners of death, the successful solution of the problem must depend largely on the investigator’s experience and the cache of information available.

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