Forensic Pathology

Cecilia Petricone

The Death Detectives

People who specialize in forensic pathology are forensic pathologists, otherwise known as medical examiners. Their job is to examine the bodies (conduct autopsies) of people who died sudden, unexpected or violent deaths. Their goal is to determine the victim's identity (if unknown), the cause of death and the time of death.

To do their job, forensic pathologists also have to :

  • Study victims' medical history
  • Examine crime scene evidence and witness statements
  • Collect trace evidence from the victims' bodies

They also have to know about:

  • Toxicology
  • Firearms/ballistics
  • DNA
  • Blood analysis

What does it take to be a forensic pathologist?

Lot's of schooling and training! Forensic pathologists are medical doctors. On top of 4 years of undergraduate school and 4 years of medical school they have to complete another 3 years of training in anatomical or clinical pathology AS WELL AS a one year fellowship where they are expected to perform 200-300 autopsies as part of their accreditation. Most forensic pathologists have in total an additional 13 years of schooling beyond high school In order to be board certified, they also have to pass a written and practical exam every 10 years.

Dr. Henry Lee - One of the most famous forensic pathologists is from Connecticut.

Dr. Lee has participated in some of our country's most high profile investigations including:

The REINVESTIGATION of the assasination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.

O.J. Simpson Murder Trial - 1995 criminal trial of O. J. Simpson for the murders of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in Brentwood, California.


"Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science." The Henry C Lee Institute of Forensic Science. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2015.

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"Famous Trials - UMKC School of Law - Prof. Douglas Linder." Famous Trials - UMKC School of Law - Prof. Douglas Linder. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2015.

"A Day in the Life: Forensic Pathologist." 21Alive. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2015.