A forensic autopsy is a medical examination of a deceased person's body performed to determine the cause of death for legal and investigative purposes.
A forensic autopsy may be required by state law if the death was unexpected and is usually performed by a forensic pathologist, a medical doctor who specializes in investigating deaths.
This is in contrast to a Clinical Autopsy, which is conducted if the death was expected.
During a forensic autopsy, the body is examined in detail, both externally and internally, to gather evidence about the cause of death. This may involve taking samples of blood, tissue, or other bodily fluids for testing in a laboratory. A pathologist may also take photographs and notes documenting injuries or other abnormalities.
Forensic autopsies are often used in cases of suspicious or violent deaths, such as homicides, suicides, or accidental deaths. The information gathered during the autopsy can be used to help law enforcement agencies investigate the circumstances surrounding the death and to help prosecutors build a case if charges are filed.