They learn from the dead

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Do you have questions about what it’s like to be a medical examiner? Ask Roberta Geiselhart and Owen Middleton, and keep your eyes on Science Buzz for the answer!

“We try to make the dead tell their story, and support the living in understanding a death.”

Photo courtesy Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office

Roberta Geiselhart and Owen Middleton work for the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office. They help solve crimes, but not with a gun and a badge—they investigate dead bodies.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office deals with hundreds of deaths every year. Many are quickly determined to be natural, accidental, or suicides, but some aren’t so clear. You have to be a “what’s wrong with this picture” sort of person when examining a body or a crime scene, says Roberta Geiselhart. A medical examiner looks for what might not fit with an obvious explanation for a death, and meticulously searches for forensic evidence.