Identification of unidentified remains is a primary function of the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. In order to more efficiently accomplish this task, the office has created the Human Identification Laboratory. The laboratory consists of two full-time forensic anthropologists and a fingerprint examiner. Unidentified remains are examined systematically using fingerprints, dental records, anthropological studies and DNA technology making use of local, state and national databases in an effort to establish a positive identity for the decedent and provide closure to the their families.
Bones comprise the structural framework of the human body. Due to their properties, bones decompose more slowly than many other tissues and organs; thus, they are often capable of providing clues that assist examiners in determining the cause and manner of death. Skeletal remains can provide information such as population affinity, age at death, sex, and stature of the decedent, which may be used to provide leads for identification. Evidence of trauma or natural disease may also be identified. Radiograph (X-ray) comparisons can help establish a scientific identification of a decedent. Samples of DNA can also be obtained from bone in cases where decomposition is advanced significantly and DNA cannot be extracted from other tissues. Tarrant County established the first forensic anthropology laboratory in Texas attached to a medical examiner’s office, paving the way for medical examiner offices in Harris and Dallas counties.
County Telephone Operator 817-884-1111
Tarrant County provides the information contained in this web site as a public service. Every effort is made to ensure that information provided is correct. However, in any case where legal reliance on information contained in these pages is required, the official records of Tarrant County should be consulted. Tarrant County is not responsible for the content of, nor endorses any site which has a link from the Tarrant County web site.
This site is best experienced with supported browsers: Internet Explorer 9 and above, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari. If you use an older or unsupported browser, you might notice that some features do not function properly. Click the browser name above to learn more about the recommended browsers.