Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's Office
Service area for Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's Office (PDF)
The Southern Minnesota Regional Medical Examiner's Office (SMRMEO) performs autopsies and death investigation services for the following counties in Southern Minnesota:
Our office performs autopsies on behalf of La Crosse 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.
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).
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:
The Medical Examiner's Office is mandated to review all nonphysician-attended deaths (Minnesota State Statute 390.11, Subd. 1b). Nursing home residents are an exception to this rule, as they are all considered physician-attended deaths, and thus do not have to be registered in the system.
The preregistration and death reporting process has changed, effective Feb. 1, 2016. The process is now condensed into a single form to capture both preregistration and death reporting. Note the additional criteria on the form below for additional resources on when a death is considered to be under medical examiner jurisdiction, which would require the medical examiner to sign the death certificate.
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.
- 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
- Mower County Law Enforcement Center
- Olmsted County Law Enforcement Center
- Winona County Law Enforcement Center
- Wabasha County Law Enforcement Center