From Murders to Suicides: A Coroner Finds 'Lessons in Investigating Death'

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Bodies are stored in the 600 series long-term crypt at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office April 16, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo: David McNew/Getty Images)

In his 36 years as a Marin County coroner, Ken Holmes saw everyone from murder victims to people who committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Over the years, he learned how to interview witnesses, search crime scenes for clues and how to be the first person to notify families of their loved one’s death. He also learned to identify a wide array of guns and drugs, and other lesser known ways people die. Holmes left the coroner’s office in 2010, but his story is the subject of author John Bateson’s book “The Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating Death.” Both men join Forum to talk about the dead, and what can be learned from the clues they leave behind.


Ken Holmes, former coroner, Marin County Coroner’s Office

John Bateson, author, "The Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating Death"