The Psychology of Death Investigation

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In order to determine the direction of an investigation and to prioritize leads, if necessary, death investigators must establish the manner of a death: natural, accident, homicide or suicide. The most overlooked aspect of death investigation is the psychological dimension, which can provide unique leads, correct false assumptions, enhance investigative awareness, and solve cases in surprising ways. In an estimated 10–20% of cases, the manner of death cannot be determined, or worse, has been erroneously categorized.

In this episode, I spoke to Dr. Katherin Ramsland about the Psychology of Death Investigations. Both from the investigators perspective as well as the decedent and victim.


The Psychology of Death Investigations outlines definitively how behavioral evidence can often provide the necessary components and “missing pieces” to complement physical evidence as an essential tool for incident reconstruction. In order to determine the direction of an investigation and to prioritize leads, if necessary, death investigators must establish the manner of a death: natural, accident, homicide or suicide. The most overlooked aspect of death investigation is the psychological dimension, which can provide unique leads, correct false assumptions, enhance investigative awareness, and solve cases in surprising ways.

In an estimated 10–20% of cases, the manner of death cannot be determined, or worse, has been erroneously categorized. Since many jurisdictions can’t afford behavioral consultants, this book has been written to provide practical information for a basic psychological analysis. If the circumstances surrounding a death are equivocal, psychological consultants can compile information retrospectively about a deceased person’s mental state and possible motive to assist with unraveling ambiguity about the manner of death. This is the primary function of a psychological autopsy, and, as such, this is the first book of its kind dedicated solely to the topic. In the event that the manner of death is determined to be a homicide, behavioral profiling can help to focus the potential pool of suspects.

Professionals and students alike will benefit from the exercise of cognitive awareness and the application of psychological logic presented. Psychologists, medical examiners, coroners, attorneys, fraud examiners, law enforcement personnel, death and homicide investigators, and students enrolled in criminal profiling, forensic psychology, and criminal justice programs will find this text to be a compelling and insightful reference to add to their professional toolkit.


Dr. Katherine Ramsland PhD

Dr. Katherine Ramsland is a consultant, professor of forensic psychology, and the author of 62 books. She teaches a course called Psychological Sleuthing, which focuses on the psychological aspects of death investigation, specifically behavioral profiling and psychological autopsy. She wrote a textbook for the course, The Psychology of Death Investigations.

 

www.katherineramsland.com

 

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Medicolegal Death Investigation – Online Academy 

Coroners, Medical Examiner Investigators, Police, and Forensic students. This hybrid course looks at death investigation from a combined perspective of law enforcement and medicolegal death investigations.

MLDI online Academy is a Nationally Accredited online training designed to teach all aspects of death investigation and scene management. Unlike any other coroner training today,  this course offers a blended learning style combining online self-paced video training, along with opportunities for live interaction with instructors several times throughout the program, and a unique private Facebook group open only to students of Coroner School™ where everyone can interact and ask questions.

MLDI online Academy is a six-week guided course with certified instructors. However, at the end of the six weeks, you still have access to all videos, downloadable material, and the private Facebook group. You can return to the online school anytime to finish up the courses or as a refresher in certain topic areas.


 

 

Medicolegal Death Investigation Scene Kit

This exclusive first of its kind Medicolegal Death Investigation (MLDI) kit contains all the items you need to document and collect evidence from the most important piece of evidence at any death scene – The Body. Designed for Coroners, Medical Examiner Investigators, and anyone responsible to investigate and process a death.

This kit is equipped to collect fragile evidence such as DNA and fibers, take post-mortem temperatures, document the scene through photography and sketching, as well as properly collect transport, and store material evidence.

This MLDI Kit can be used in large agencies for multiple MDI’s or one single kit for smaller agencies. Packaged in a sturdy Pelican carry case with custom dividers and a pocketed pouch system. Built strong to withstand the demands from scene to scene.

Click HERE for more information

 


 

 

The Death Investigation Training Academy was founded to play an integral role in the death investigation community.  The need for quality accredited training is in short supply and high demand. Using a combination of classroom training, live on site scenario exercises,  and web-based training, the Death Investigation Training Academy is filling the need of 21st-century investigators.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

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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.

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