Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's Office

Regional Medical Examiner's Office, Southern Minnesota logo

The Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's Office (SMRMEO) performs autopsies and death investigation services for the following counties in Southern Minnesota:

  • Dodge
  • Fillmore
  • Goodhue
  • Houston
  • Olmsted
  • Winona
  • Wabasha

Our office performs autopsies on behalf of Mower and Steele counties.

All deaths that are sudden or unexpected or occur from other than natural causes must be reported to the Medical Examiner. Our office is mandated by Minnesota State Statute, 390.11.

For families

The Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's Office assists families, law enforcement agencies and the legal system by determining a scientifically unbiased and logical cause and manner of death.

The information gathered during a death investigation and subsequent autopsy can be critical in civil and criminal court cases. Even when the death is due to natural causes, this information may help surviving family members protect their own health.

Can a family refuse an autopsy?

Autopsies are done to answer medical and legal questions in the "public interest", to protect public health or to address a question of law.  However, we recognize that your family beliefs may be contrary to autopsy. According to Minnesota state statute 390.11, Subd. 2b, families have the right to refuse an autopsy for religious purposes. Although you may refuse, there are certain circumstances where a "compelling state interest" will supercede the religious beliefs of your loved one.

Our office requires a written affidavit to object an autopsy.  Contact the Medical Examiner’s Office for more information.

To help you better understand the autopsy process, you can view a Frequently asked questions brochure (PDF).

Death certificates

Your funeral home director can facilitate the process of obtaining a copy of the death certificate.

Certified copies of death certificates can also be obtained from vital records offices in:

For hospice

To assist licensed hospice agencies with the death investigation and autopsy processes, the following resources are available:

  • Preregistration. For people expected to die outside of a hospital or nursing home in Dodge, Fillmore, Goodhue, Houston and Olmsted counties, a preregistration form (PDF) is required.
  • Death notification. Upon the death of a person receiving hospice care, please send a notification of death form (PDF).
  • Death investigation. The Medical Examiner's Office needs to be contacted only when a person's death may be due to a medication error, fall or trauma, or any suspicious or unusual circumstances.

For funeral homes

The Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's Office approves cremation requests electronically through the Minnesota Department of Health (MR&C). If the primary care physician signing the death certificate is not registered with the MR&C, please fax the copy of the death certificate to the state of Minnesota for entry. We will promptly review the cremation request online.

Call 507-284-3040 with any questions regarding this process.

Contact information

Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's staff
Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dodge County Law Enforcement Center

Fillmore County Law Enforcement Center

Goodhue County Law Enforcement Center

Houston County Law Enforcement Center

Olmsted County Law Enforcement Center

Winona County Law Enforcement Center

Wabasha County Law Enforcement Center