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Decedent personal effects

Decedent personal effects

During a death scene investigation, it is not uncommon for death investigators to collect personal effects from a decedent and return them to KCMEO for inventory and storage. If the decedent died in a hospital or nursing home setting, any property items are generally held by the specific facility in which the death occurred.

In cases that require further law enforcement investigation (such as a homicide investigation), any retained property will be released to the investigating law enforcement agency as evidence. It is against the policy of KCMEO to release weapons or other items of evidence a family. Please contact the investigating law enforcement agency if such evidence is requested.

Notice to funeral homes and MEO families

Beginning January 1, 2020, the KCMEO will begin releasing all personal effects collected at the scene of a death investigation to the funeral home designated by the legal next of kin to pick up the decedent.

Additionally, those with a date of death in 2019 but being released to a funeral home in 2020 will also have any stored personal effects released at the same time as the decedent.

Beginning January 1, 2020, personal effects collected during a Medical Examiner investigation will be released to the family's designated Funeral Home. Families are to select a funeral home within 3 days to coordinate the release of their loved one and any personal effects.

Decedent clothing

All clothing items worn by the decedent at the time of death (unless otherwise designated as evidence by law enforcement) are stored in a separate bag that is released with the decedent and sent to the funeral home. It is recommended you contact your funeral home agency prior to them picking up your loved one if you wish to retain the clothing items.

Release of weapons / evidence

The Medical Examiner's Office does not release any evidence that contributed to the death to the family, such as guns or knives. All evidence (including firearms) are released to the investigating law enforcement agency. Retention and or disposal of said evidence is dependent on the specific law enforcement agencies policies and procedures. Contact the law enforcement agency of record to discuss evidence materials retained by them.

For funeral homes

On November 18, 2019, KCMEO sent a letter to funeral homes in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties. As noted in the letter, written permission is no longer required from the decedent's legal next of kin to retrieve personal effects. If it is your desire to have the next of kin authorize the pick-up of cash value items, you may request the next of kin to sign this Cash Release Form. This form does not need to be returned to KCMEO.