I am a Death Investigator

The hardest part of this blog is, obviously, getting it started. So, I’ll start at the beginning. I am a medicolegal death investigator and I have been working in this field for almost four years now. I have truly enjoyed working in this field and I can say honestly that I have seen things I couldn’t make up. I have been witness to awful and painful situations but I have also been a witness to families that pull together in their most trying times. But sometimes, after a really long day, where, for example, I have had to work with a family who has just lost a child, I come home at night and ask myself, “How in the hell did I get here”?

I’ve spent some time recently and I think I’ve narrowed it down to a few childhood memories. For the most part, I was a typical child. I didn’t run around the neighborhood torturing animals or pronouncing random objects dead. I played with Barbie Dolls and had imaginary parties with my stuffed animals. But there are memories that make me wonder if those particular experiences played a factor in how I became a medicolegal death investigator.

I grew up in a small town in Ohio, not far from Kirtland, OH. This first memory is a reminder that no matter how small a town you may live in, it does not make you safe from crime or danger. During the time that I lived there there was a mass murder that took place in Kirtland that centered around a deranged religious leader, Jeffrey Lundgren. He murdered a family that had been part of his “group” and buried them in a barn. It’s one thing to learn about crimes like this on the news but my father took my sister and I to see this barn.

I wish I could tell you that when I saw this barn it was an overcast day with lots of fog and an ominous feeling surrounded the area. In all honesty, I don’t remember what kind of day it was or if it was ominous. I can tell you that I remember him driving us near the barn and pointing it out to us from the car, but that’s it. That’s all I remember. Still, I have to wonder what my father was thinking when he drove us past that barn.

The other memory I have is of the discussion my parents had with my sister and I on the importance of working in the fast food industry while we were in high school. They wanted us to know what it was like to in a job where we got dirty, came home covered in grease, tired with sore backs so that when we went off to college we would work hard and achieve employment in a career where we both had nice, clean office jobs. I can’t speak for my sister, but in my case, that logic and reasoning seriously back fired. Sometimes I would give anything to stink like hamburger grease. It would be an upgrade from what I smell like now.

Of course, given my field, my father is more obsessed with death scenes and murder than he was in the past. I’m not saying he’s a serial killer. I think he’s just trying to bond with me. For example, he recently went to Florida with his girlfriend, and while there, emailed me photographs of the general location where Caylee Anthony was found. I sent him a response that went something like this:

“Dad, you’re in Florida. Go golfing! Do something normal! FYI I see enough crime scenes at work…next time send me a picture of the ocean!

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