Benton County, Oregon

Making Benton County a Better Place to Live
Printed on Sep 01, 2015 @ 5:17 PM

Benton County Medical Examiner

Medical Examiner's Function

Oregon State Law mandates that, in each county, there shall be a medical examiner for the purpose of investigating and certifying the cause and manner of deaths requiring investigation. The District Attorney shares in these duties and responsibilities.

The outcome of any death investigation may ultimately impact personal liberty and well-being, public health and safety, research capabilities, and governmental approaches to legislation and programs.

The Law

146.090 Deaths requiring investigation

(1) The medical examiner shall investigate and certify the cause and manner of all human deaths:

(a) Apparently homicidal, suicidal or occurring under suspicious or unknown circumstances;

(b) Resulting from the unlawful use of controlled substances or the use or abuse of chemicals or toxic agents;

(c) Occurring while incarcerated in any jail, correction facility or in police custody;

(d) Apparently accidental or following an injury;

(e) By disease, injury or toxic agent during or arising from employment;

(f) While not under the care of a physician during the period immediately previous to death;

(g) Related to disease which might constitute a threat to the public health.

How the System Works

Benton County deaths are investigated by a medicolegal death investigator with an extensive medical background and the highest level of state and national certification. The Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office provides autopsy and toxicology services and signs all associated death certificates for Benton County.


The primary mission of the Benton County Medical Examiner's office is to gather information necessary to accurately certify manner and cause of death.

Manner of Death

Based on cause and circumstance:

    •  Natural
    •  Accidental
    •  Suicide
    •  Homicide
    •  Undetermined

Cause of Death

Based on mechanism; the specific disease or injury which led to death

Additional duties of the Medical Examiner include:

  • Assistance with accurate identification of deceased
  • Assistance with location and notification of next of kin
  • Documentation and preservation of evidence related to death
  • Provide training medical and criminal justice professionals