This page will provide some basic information and attempt to answer some specific questions. You may also call the Medical Examiner's Office at (512) 854-9599 at any time with any additional questions.

Your loved one will be taken to the Medical Examiner's Office, which is located at 1213 Sabine Street, Austin, TX 78701.

Article 49.25 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures authorizes the Medical Examiner to investigate deaths that fall into the following categories:

  • Unattended deaths
  • Deaths occurring less than 24 hours after admission to a hospital, nursing home, prison, jail or any other institution
  • Where the cause of death is not known
  • Deaths due to unnatural causes
  • Suspicious deaths
  • Suicide
  • Children under the age of six

No. Our facility is not designed to accommodate viewings. Please contact the designated funeral home to schedule a time to view your family member or friend.

The Medical Examiner will determine whether an autopsy will be performed. In some cases, the Medical Examiner may be able to determine the cause of death by performing an external examination and reviewing medical records.

If you are interested in making a donation, please contact the Tissue Center of Central Texas at (800) 489-8027.

You should select a funeral home and notify the Funeral Director that the death is being handled by the Medical Examiner’s Office. You must also sign a Release Form at the funeral home authorizing our office to release the body to the funeral home you have selected.

No. According to Texas law, only the legal next-of-kin may do so. If the legal next-of-kin is out of town, he or she may send an email or a fax to the Medical Examiner’s Office authorizing the release.

Release form

It generally takes 12 to 24 hours to complete our examination. In certain cases, however, it may take longer.

Yes. For the convenience of the family, they are usually released to the funeral home. However, the legal next-of-kin may request on the release form not to release the personal effects to the funeral home. The personal effects will then be maintained at the Medical Examiner’s Office for safekeeping and released to the legal next-of-kin upon providing proper identification.

In most cases, the cause and manner of death will be listed on the death certificate. You may also submit a written request to obtain the cause and manner of death either by fax to (512) 854-9044 or by email to merequests@traviscountytx.gov.

You may obtain a copy of the Autopsy Report by sending a written request (include the deceased's name and date of death) along with a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

Travis County
Medical Examiner's Office
PO Box 1748
Austin, TX 78767

OR

You can e-mail your request with the same information listed above to:

merequests@traviscountytx.gov

According to the Texas Public Information Act, an autopsy report is public information and may be released to anyone who requests a copy unless there is an exception under the law.

The Medical Examiner’s Office will work with the designated funeral home to complete a death certificate within 10 working days. The Medical Examiner’s Office does not provide copies of Death Certificates. The funeral homes will file the death certificate with the Bureau of Vital Statistics.

On occasion, an exact cause or manner of death is not determined until additional laboratory tests or investigative work is completed. Depending upon the complexity of such tests or investigations, it may take up to 90 days for the autopsy report to be finalized. During this time, a death certificate will be issued with the cause of death listed as “pending.” This will be replaced by the final death certificate when the cause of death is determined.

Death Certificates may be obtained from the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the city where the death occurred, from the Justice of the Peace, or from your funeral home.

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J. Keith Pinckard, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief Medical Examiner

1213 Sabine Street
Austin, TX 78701 (Map)
Phone: (512) 854-9599
Fax: (512) 854-9044