100 episodes

We are a community of professionals in the field of death investigation. Whether you’re a coroner, a member of local police or county law enforcement, an EMS professional, or medical examiner – or frankly, anyone in between, Coroner Talk™ is the right community for you. We provide training and resources to coroners and death investigators by and from professionals around the world, a peer to peer training environment. I recognized that the training available for coroners and small department investigators was limited by resources such as time away from department and expense. So, I developed Coroner Talk™.



Darren is a 30 year veteran of law enforcement and criminal investigations. He currently serves as an investigator for the Crawford County Missouri coroner’s office. He holds credentials as an instructor for the Missouri Sheriff’s Training Academy (MSA), Law Enforcement Training Institute (LETI). Has served as president of the Missouri Medical Examiners and Coroners Association, and is certified and credentialed in numerous fields of investigation.

He holds the position of lead instructor and facilitator for the Death Investigation Training Academy (DITA) and for the Coroner Talk™ community as he speaks and writes in the area of death investigation and scene management.

Coroner Talk™ | Death Investigation Training | Police and Law Enforcement Darren Dake

    • Courses

We are a community of professionals in the field of death investigation. Whether you’re a coroner, a member of local police or county law enforcement, an EMS professional, or medical examiner – or frankly, anyone in between, Coroner Talk™ is the right community for you. We provide training and resources to coroners and death investigators by and from professionals around the world, a peer to peer training environment. I recognized that the training available for coroners and small department investigators was limited by resources such as time away from department and expense. So, I developed Coroner Talk™.



Darren is a 30 year veteran of law enforcement and criminal investigations. He currently serves as an investigator for the Crawford County Missouri coroner’s office. He holds credentials as an instructor for the Missouri Sheriff’s Training Academy (MSA), Law Enforcement Training Institute (LETI). Has served as president of the Missouri Medical Examiners and Coroners Association, and is certified and credentialed in numerous fields of investigation.

He holds the position of lead instructor and facilitator for the Death Investigation Training Academy (DITA) and for the Coroner Talk™ community as he speaks and writes in the area of death investigation and scene management.

    Evidence in Infant Death Investigation

    Evidence in Infant Death Investigation

    Evidence in infant and child death cases is many times very different than in older children and adult deaths, infants die differently than adults, in most cases; so the evidence surrounding their death will be different. Understanding what potential evidence is is critical as well as knowing how and what to collect. Remember – If you think it might be evidence or lead you to a reason for the death – take it, you can always give it back.
    Personal Property v. Evidence
    Personal Property Is the property on or near the body that belongs to the baby (or decedent) and can be returned to next-of-kin.
    Evidence Is any material that may contribute to the cause and manner of death and is considered important in supporting facts of the case. What is determined evidence depends on the type and manner of death being investigated.
    Chain of Custody 
    Every item secured from the scene, whether it is personal property or evidence to be processed – must be accounted for at every moment while in the custody of the investigative agency.  Until such time that it is returned to the family or destroyed following court order when the evidence is no longer needed. Use a property log and ensure that every person handling or receiving the item(s) signs for it and can testify as to its integrity or secured storage.
    Photograph – EVERYTHING  FIRST!
    Be sure that you have photographed and documented in your notes, anything you might be taking as evidence.  Its placement will become critical in your final report.If the items had been moved by police, EMS, or family document the place you found it and note the move is you know it.
    Collecting Evidence
    Every item and material of evidence collected;  must be identified, collect, and stored using proper methods. Different evidence has different containers it is important to store and transport correctly. Not doing so can cause evidence to become contaminated, chain of custody to be broken, or samples to be degraded beyond use
    Some Evidence in Infants Deaths  to Consider
    Bedding, Bed, and Sleeping area Any OTC or Rx  Medications for baby – Or in the baby area Bottles – those with milk and those in sink or floor empty Baby food  – or whatever the child has been eating Diapers – toxicology testing Clothing – recent, might have changed child after finding Items used as weapons Anything that looks like it could be involved- in and around the infant area – you can always  give it back later These topics and more are discussed in this week’s episode.
     
    Check out online eLearning options by 
    https://www.ditacademyonline.org
    Death Investigation is all we do !  Many training agencies are well rounded and can fulfill the training needs in nearly every category of public policing and investigation.  At DITA we concentrate on death investigation and everything surrounding those investigations.  By becoming hyper-focused in this field we are better able to provide intense and specific training you and your investigators need.
     
     

    • 37 min
    SUDI Standards with Kathleen Hargrave

    SUDI Standards with Kathleen Hargrave

    All infant and child deaths need to be investigated in a systematic and standardized method.  The SUDI forms provided by the CDC is the national standard approach to investigating these deaths. Frequently, a cause of death is determined after a thorough investigation and autopsy by a medical examiner and coroner. The deaths that remain unexplained are defined as SIDS. Therefore, SIDS is a type of Sudden Unexpected Infant Death.

    Infant Death Scene Investigation
    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has developed the Sudden and Unexplained Infant Death (SUID) Investigation Reporting Form. The Reporting Form, a guide for its use and a training curriculum for infant death scene investigation are available online. The form will guide and standardize the work and practices of EMS professionals, law enforcement, death scene investigators, medical examiners and coroners, death certifiers and child death review (CDR) team members.  Information obtained by using the form in infant death investigations can also be used to guide the development of strategies for the prevention of infant deaths.

    All infant and child deaths need to be investigated in a systematic and standardized method.  The SUDI forms provided by the CDC is the national standard approach to investigating these deaths.

    What is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome? (SIDS)
    Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is the sudden death of an infant under 1 year of age, which remains unexplained after a thorough investigation including a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene and review of the clinical history.

    In the United States, SIDS is the major cause of death in infants from 1 month to 1 year. Most deaths occur between 2-4 months of age. Typically, a seemingly healthy infant dies suddenly and unexpectedly, usually during a period of sleep. A diagnosis is made after all the possible causes of death have been excluded. SIDS can occur in families of any race, socio-economic status, religion or nationality.

    Causes of SIDS remain unexplained. However, SIDS is not caused by suffocation, child abuse, immunizations, vomiting, choking or by minor illnesses such as a cold or infection. SIDS is not contagious.

    Placed - Found Photos
    As talked about in this episode all child death investigations need to include scene reenactment photos of the position and place the child was last seen alive and the position and place they were found unresponsive.  Using placed/found signs will help everyone viewing the photos to understand the reenactment.






    Today's Guest


    Kathleen Hargrave
    kadie@slu.edu

    Chief Forensic Investigator

    St Louis Medical Examiner's Office

    • 55 min
    Infant Investigation - Where to Start

    Infant Investigation - Where to Start

    Law enforcement, first responders, death scene investigators, medical examiners, coroners, and forensic pathologists all play a role in carrying out the case investigation.

    • 46 min
    After the Police Leave

    After the Police Leave

    In August 1997, sixteen-year-old William Jenkins was on his second day of work at a fast-food restaurant in suburban Richmond, Virginia when the restaurant was robbed at closing time.

    While cooperating fully with the robber, William was shot and died instantly. His father, Bill Jenkins, quickly found that there were virtually no readily available resources that could answer his many questions as a survivor of a traumatic loss.

    He began looking for help and found it, after a fashion, scattered in the bookstores, on the

    Internet, and in support groups and agencies. But nowhere was there a single, concise, practical, and eminently useful resource for bereaved families written by victims for victims containing the advice and guidance that he and his family needed following their loss. Several months later, using the information he had collected for his own personal well-being, this experienced teacher and speaker sat down to write the book that he should have received the night he was notified of his son’s death, What to do When the Police Leave: A Guide to the First Days of Traumatic Loss.

    This landmark book on grief and bereavement quickly became an important resource for families dealing with the sudden or traumatic death of a loved one and the caregivers who work with them. Now, a recognized expert on victims and trauma, Bill has served on the boards of directors for Murder Victims for Human Rights, the National Coalition of Victims in Action, and is the founder, along with his wife, Jennifer Bishop, of IllinoisVictims.org, a statewide victim rights watchdog group. He is also active in many other victims’ rights and support activities and organizations, has been an instructor with the Virginia Institute of Forensic Science and Medicine, leads seminars on victims’ perspectives for national organizations such as the National Center for Victims of Crime, the National Organization of Victim Assistance, and Parents of Murdered Children and also addresses local and regional conferences for law enforcement and victim advocates. He and his wife also speak at victim impact panels for youthful offenders and in support of funding for programs for children and young

    people that are proven to decrease crime.

    In 2006, Bill received the Edith Surgan Victim Activist of the Year award from the National

    Organization of Victim Assistance, a singular honor that recognizes to his expertise in the field and his commitment to making society more sensitive to victims’ rights and needs. In 2019, he was awarded the prestigious John Gillis Leadership Award by Parents of Murdered Children.

    Bill has also written a full-length play, Hearts Full of Tears, that has been produced by two

    professional theatre companies so far. It deals with the emotional struggle of a family dealing with the shooting death of their teen-aged son. Critical and audience reviews have been very positive.

    Returning to his educational roots and love of biology, his latest research is in the

    neurobiology of trauma and stress, how our brains respond to traumatic experiences, and what

    treatments are most helpful to victims and their families. He hopes that his own personal perspective and unique voice using the latest authoritative scientific discoveries will help victims understand how their brains respond to crisis and inform caregivers how best to help trauma victims in their work. Bill is a professional artist and educator at the college level for over 25 years, he currently teaches and designs for the theatre program at Dominican University near Chicago, IL.




    You can buy the book What to do When the Police Leave: A Guide to the First Days of Traumatic Loss. By clicking on the title link.

    • 58 min
    Humanizing Grief

    Humanizing Grief

    In this episode, I have a conversation with Anita Brooks about the real human side of grief and death notification. As investigators, we can become hardened and not see the real grief associated with the news we are delivering. We try to sound like we care and have compassion, but is it really coming out the way it should?
    The 5 stages of grief and loss are: 1. Denial and isolation; 2. Anger; 3. Bargaining; 4. Depression; 5. Acceptance. People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them
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    Learn more about online and classroom training at the links below.
    https://ditacademy.org/

    • 56 min
    They told me my son died

    They told me my son died

    Her son died in a car accident. The highway patrol came to her house to notify her and her husband of the accident and the death of their child. She states, "I remember them telling me like it was yesterday, but it has been 16 years".

    In this episode, I speak to a mother about the night her son died and what went right and what went wrong with the notification process. This conversation gets very real and raw at times and this mother has some great advice for you as to how best to make notification to a loved one.

    • 31 min

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