The Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office (TCMEO), a division of Travis County Emergency Services, provides medicolegal death investigation for Travis County, Texas, and a number of surrounding counties. Travis County is part of the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area and covers 989 square miles of land and 33 square miles of water. The county seat is Austin, which is also the capital of Texas. In 2008, the population of Travis County was estimated at 974,365.
The TCMEO was established in 1977. It is located at 1213 Sabine Street, Austin and is a three story free-standing building. The first floor houses investigations, the morgue, and the body coolers. The second floor houses the toxicology department and histology laboratory. The third floor houses the administrative section, including doctor’s offices. There are five medical examiner positions at the TCMEO including the chief medical examiner, the deputy chief medical examiner, and three deputy medical examiners. The office is accredited by the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME).
The TCMEO is responsible for the investigation and certification of cause and manner of death of all sudden, unexpected, violent, suspicious, or unnatural deaths that occur in Travis County. The cause of death is a disease, injury, drug toxicity, or combination of factors that causes a physiologic derangement severe enough to result in death. The manner of death refers to the circumstances surrounding how the death came about and is divided into five categories: natural, accident, suicide, homicide, and undetermined.
Investigations may include an autopsy, if necessary, to support an official ruling on the cause and manner of death. In addition, the medical examiner's office provides forensic autopsy and laboratory services to other counties for a fee.