Deaths can be reported to the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s office 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including weekends and holidays. To report a death, please contact our Investigations section at (210) 335-4011.
Below is a summary of which deaths occurring in Bexar County must be reported to the Medical Examiner’s Office per the Texas Code of Criminal Procedures, Chapter 49.25 Inquests on Dead Bodies:
When a person dies within 24 hours after admission to a hospital or institution
When any person is killed; or from any cause dies an unnatural death
When the body or a body part of a person is found, the cause or circumstances of death are unknown
When the circumstances of the death of any person are such as to lead to the suspicion that he came to his death by unlawful means
When any person commits suicide, or the circumstances of his death are such as to lead to the suspicion that he committed suicide
When a person dies without having been under the care of a licensed and practicing physician
When the person is a child who is younger than 6 years of age
When a person dies who has been immediately attended preceding his death by a duly licensed and practicing physician, and such physician is not certain as to the cause of death (note that this applies to cause of death and not the mechanism of death)
After a death is reported to the BCMEO, the BCMEO will determine whether or not the death falls under its jurisdiction. It is important to understand that just because a death needs to be reported does not mean the BCMEO will take jurisdiction and possession of the body. In cases of natural deaths, the BCMEO will often release certification of the death certificate to the attending physician, primary physician, associate physician, or other applicable medical officers to certify the death certificate per Texas Health and Safety Code 193 Death Records.
It is also important to understand that just because the Medical Examiner’s Office does take jurisdiction of a death investigation, it does not mean an autopsy will occur as autopsies are not always required to determine the cause and manner of death.