Evaluation of Military Criminal Investigative Organizations Child Death Investigations
INSPECTOR GENERAL DEPT OF DEFENSE ARLINGTON VA
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The MCIOs are responsible to investigate unattended deaths of children within their jurisdiction.3 T he MCIOs also conduct inquiries when deaths involve a non-active duty decedent and occurs on a military installation within the United States and no other Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency assumes lead agency status to investigate the death.4 The MCIOs generally define unattended deaths as any death not resulting from combat or pre-existing and previously diagnosed medical conditions, which most often stem from natural causes, such as children in hospice care. MCIOs investigate attended deaths, generally defined as a death that occurs when a child is hospitalized, but normally do so only when foul play is suspected. The purpose of an unattended death investigation is to establish the cause, mechanism, and manner of death, as well as to collect evidence to support judicial proceedings when appropriate. In equivocal deaths5 investigators work as a team with other professionals, for example, a medical examiner, to resolve medico-legal investigations of death. See Appendix B, Table B-1 for a manner of death breakdown of the 82 child death cases evaluated. Although many elements of child death investigations are similar in any unattended death investigation, child death investigations require unique knowledge by the agents, such as childhood psychological and physical development, and skill sets, such as child interviews and examining family history, acquired through specialized training and experience, particularly when the manner of death is in question. DoDI 5505.10, Criminal Investigations of Noncombat Deaths paragraph E.1 January 10, 1996 and 4.a. August 15, 20136 requires the DoD IG establish policy and evaluate program performance related to criminal investigations. We initiated this project to determine whether MCIO child death investigations were investigated as required by guiding policies and standards.
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