Death Investigation Training: Basics of Forensic Pathology

This course covers major types of traumatic deaths in forensic pathology, relating these to death investigation.


  • Recognize and interpret post mortem changes of livor, rigor and decomposition, relating them to position movement of body after death, timing of death and documentation needed at death investigation.
  • Cite types of asphyxia deaths, mechanisms and relationship to scene findings in common asphyxia deaths such as hanging, smothering, airway obstruction, mechanical asphyxia.
  • Distinguish between sharp and blunt force injury and findings in these deaths, including scene and investigative clues, potential evidence and documentation needed for a death investigation.
  • Recognize types and scene findings in electrical related deaths.
  • Identify findings, common circumstances and risk factors in hyperthermic and hypothermic deaths. Relate these to necessary scene documentation and investigation.
  • Specify findings in transportation fatalities and relate to investigation documentation and interpretation in motor vehicle, recreational vehicles, bicycles and non-motorized vehicles, pedestrian, and mass-transit (rail, airplane, bus). Recognize patterns of driver vs. passenger, restrained vs. non-restrained victims.
  • Identify delayed complications of traumatic deaths.
  • Distinguish findings in gunshot and shot gun injury including range of fire, type/class of weapon, entrance, exit and re-entrance or ricochet wounds.
  • Identify common toxicology testing, suitable fluids for testing and possible interpretive challenges in post-mortem toxicology.
  • Identify steps and challenges in child death investigation.
  • List findings and scene documentation in drowning and water-recreational deaths.

Please view the list of certificate options below and select any that are applicable to you.

 Session Details

Schedule: Once the course is paid in full, access is typically granted within 3-5 business days after payment is processed. You will have up to 6 months to complete your course. Work at your own pace.

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Cancellation Policy

No refund is available after registration.

Instructor or Facilitator

Name Additional Resources
Patricia Young