It should be carried out either region by region or by systems.
- Describe each organ in great detail.
- Look for evidence of any natural disease, surgical procedures, injuries, anomalies and any fractures.
- Take sections from normal and abnormal areas and send for HPE.
- Take a sample of any fractured bones for radiology or M/E.
- Describe any fluid present in pleural/peritoneal cavities.
- Describe stomach contents.
- Internal genitalia.
- Laryngeal cartilages and related structures.
- Viscera for chemical analysis.
- All foreign objects.
- All clothes and personal effects of the deceased.
- Sections of all organs – normal and abnormal for HPE, in cases where you do not get any satisfactory cause of death.
- Fractured bones.
- Oral, vaginal, rectal fluid – in cases of suspected sexual assault.
- Replace all unretained organs in the body.
- Prepare a detailed report, seal it, hand it over to the magistrate/district collector after taking a due receipt from him.
In case of buried and exhumed bodies or skeletal remains
Only the important topics are highlighted here
- While exhumation, look for any bullet or metal jewelry in the grave (metal detector may be useful).
- Collect soil samples of the grave – send for laboratory analysis.
- Photograph the burial site and at every stage of the examination.
- Photograph the skeletal remains in site – entirely – specific details (close–ups) and all associated material e.g. clothes, hair, coffin, artifacts etc.
- Before displacing anything
- Measure the length of the remains.
- If the skeleton is fragile, measure as much of it as possible.
- Remove the body/all documents and place them in a bag/boxes.
- Radiograph all skeletal remains.
- Lay out the entire skeleton in a systemic way.
- Record condition of remains: Fully intact, friable, charred etc.
- Determine age/sex/stature/trauma/developmental anomalies etc.
- Give reasons for such conclusions and photograph all evidence supporting the conclusions.
- The remaining body may be reburied or sent for further anatomical examination.
If remains are to be reburied, retain following samples
- A mid shaft cross section from either femur, 2 cm or more in height,
- A mid shaft cross section from either fibula, 2 cm or more in height,
- A 4 cm section from the sternal end of a rib (sixth, if possible),
- A tooth (preferably a mandibular incisor) that was vital at the time of death,
- Sever molar teeth for possible later DNA fingerprinting for identification,
- A cast of the skull for possible facial reconstruction,
- Record what samples have been saved and label all samples with the identification number, date and time and also the name of the person who removed the sample.
This discussion is not complete as far as custodial deaths are concerned, as variations in the technique of autopsy and interpretation are to be made based on available history of facts and circumstances found.