Evidence confiscation authority is clearly defined. Any item that is on or attached to the decedent belongs to the medicolegal death investigator. Any item found at the scene (not on or attached to the decedent) is under the control of the law enforcement agency. Any weapon or other item possibly related to the death found at the scene should be made available to the pathologist. Often, substances are the causative agent in the death. Be sure to confiscate all medication and alcoholic beverage containers. Note the location where each item was found. Studies have shown that the fatal intoxicant is likely to be found in the same room or location as the decedent. Drug paraphernalia, notes, or any unusual item that might have been used by or written by the subject should be confiscated. All evidence should be appropriated during the initial investigation because the investigator may not return and recover any items without the permission of the owner once the scene has been relinquished.
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