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    About the Tarrant County Medical Examiner

     

     

    Whenever we are called upon to assist, even if it is outside the defined jurisdiction, out of scope of our duties, or otherwise removed from our responsibility under the law, it is our general policy to help the individual reach the appropriate person, agency or organization who can assist.

     - Nizam Peerwani

    Medical Examiner site


    In the United States of America, there are three systems of medicolegal death investigation including the Coroner system, Justice of the Peace system and Medical Examiner system.  Some states, such as Texas, have a hybrid system that includes both a coroner or the Justice of the Peace and Medical Examiner systems.
     

    Office of Medical Examiner badges

    Any system that deals with medicolegal death investigation, must apply the rule that -- as far as possible -- eyewitness accounts must be verified by evidentiary investigation in order to establish the truth.  Evidentiary investigation necessitates creating a systems-based approach that allows evidence to be analyzed scientifically.  The system should be free of external influences and must be empowered to conduct investigations independent of law enforcement agencies or other parties.  The application of a systems-based approach is influenced by laws, societal norms and, most of all, available resources.  Such a system must include a central facility with a secure place to preserve and examine human remains, and forensic laboratories to verify and reach a scientific conclusion worthy of admittance in a court of law.


    The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's District is an example of such a system.  Serving four counties (Tarrant, Parker, Denton and Johnson) in the state of Texas, with a combined population exceeding 2 million, it is governed and legislated by Section 49.25 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure.  The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's District attempts to identify and explain both the cause and manner of death in cases where the death has occurred unattended or unexplained, or where the death is due to unnatural causes.

    Mission Statement

    The primary purpose of the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office is to assist the public and law enforcement agencies to determine the cause of death due to unnatural causes, medically unattended or death due to violence, using state of the art laboratory and forensic science facilities.

     - Nizam Peerwani

     

    Historical Timeline

    1965

    Tarrant County Commissioners Court establishes the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. T.C. Terrell, M.D. is named Chief Medical Examiner.

    1969

    Feliks Gwozdz, M.D. is named Chief Medical Examiner.

    1979

    After Dr. Gwozdz’s unexpected death, Nizam Peerwani, M.D. is appointed Chief Medical Examiner.

    1980

    First county-wide central morgue is established on the campus of the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM), now known as the University of North Texas Health Science Center.

    1982

    Toxicology and histology laboratories are added; shortly afterwards, forensic dentistry is added to the office in order to assist in human identification.

    1986

    Parker County officially joins the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office, creating the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District.

    1989

    Denton County joins the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District.

    The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District moves into a new state-of-the-art facility located at 200 Feliks Gwozdz Place and renamed in honor of Dr. Gwozdz.  In addition to modern toxicology and histology laboratories, the new facility also includes a full-service crime laboratory offering forensic biology, trace evidence analysis, latent fingerprint examination, and both firearm and toolmark examinations.

    1993

    The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District provides the death scene investigation and medical examiner services for McLennan County in the aftermath of the Branch Davidian incident at Mt. Carmel, Texas.

    2003

    The position of Forensic Anthropologist, formerly a part-time position within the office, becomes a full-time position making the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District the only medical examiner’s office in Texas with a full-time forensic anthropologist.

    2007

    The Human Identification Laboratory is established, consisting of a Forensic Odontologist, Forensic Anthropologist, and Latent Fingerprint Examiner.

    2008

    Johnson County joins the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District.

    2011

    Construction is completed on the new bond-funded building expansion to accomodate new criminalistics, toxicology and chemistry laboratories.

        

    Table of Organization