The Office of the District One Medical Examiner conducts forensic examinations and investigations for the 1st Judicial District of Florida.  The district encompasses Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Where will my loved one be taken?

He/She will be taken to the Office of the Medical Examiner serving the county where the decedent’s death occurred.

Okaloosa & Walton Counties - 206 Staff Drive N.E., Fort Walton Beach

Escambia & Santa Rosa Counties - 5151 North Ninth Ave, Pensacola

Q. Is it necessary for me to come to the Medical Examiner's Office to identify the body?

No. In the majority of cases, visual identification by family, friends or acquaintances is not necessary. 

Q. Is viewing allowed?

No. Our facilities are not service-oriented. Viewing is prohibited at our offices due to biological hazards, therefore bodies will only be available for viewing at the selected funeral home.

Q. Will an autopsy be performed?

An autopsy will only be performed when there is a need to establish the cause of death or in cases where criminal/civil proceedings may follow. The Medical Examiner will not perform an autopsy if the cause of death can be determined from outside medical informants, review of records or other qualified means.  Family objections to autopsies are evaluated on a case by case basis, therefore families may be requested to complete an autopsy wavier form.

Q. Will it be possible to donate organs or tissue?

Yes. It is the policy of this office to cooperate with organ and tissue procurement agencies.  This office rarely refuses authorization except in cases where "criminal evidence" may be damaged.

Q. What is the first thing I should do?

A funeral home should be selected and the Funeral Director must be notified the death is being handled by the Medical Examiner's Office.  A "Release Form" must be signed by the legally authorized person in order for the decedent's body to be released. 

Q. Can anyone sign a Release Form authorizing the release of the body?

No. According to the State Law, only “Legally Authorized Persons” may give permission for burial or cremation. 

Q. How do I obtain personal effects?

For the convenience of the family, personal effects are released to the funeral home at the time of the decedents release, however, the next-of-kin may pickup personal effects (in emergency situations) at the Medical Examiner's Office during normal business hours if the property has not been retained as evidence. 


Q. Will an autopsy report be available?

Yes.  When the medical examiner finalizes the autopsy report it becomes public record unless it is still under investigation by a law enforcement agency.  Autopsy reports can be requested in person, by telephone, fax, mail or email. 

Q. When will a Death Certificate be issued?

In accordance with the state law, a death certificate shall be issued by a funeral home within 72 hours unless an extension is requested.  The Medical Examiner's Office does not issue or provide copies of death certificates. Death Certificates are mailed or delivered directly to the funeral director who has the responsibility of filing it with the Office of Vital Statistics in the county of death.  Note - Frequently our office must conduct  further specialized testing or investigations to determine the exact cause and manner of death. Depending upon the complexity of such tests or investigations, it may take up to 20 weeks or more for the final cause and manner of death.  A pending death certificate will be issued until final certification.

Q. Where can I obtain a copy of the Death Certificate?

Death Certificates may be obtained from the Office of Vital Statistics in the county where the death occurred or from your selected funeral home.

In a continued effort to provide quality service, The Office of the Medical Examiner – District One – Florida welcomes any comments, suggestions, or complaints. These may be directed to the Director at (850) 416-7200 or jmartin@fldme.com.