Due to a sustained increase in our case load, the current average time for a Medical Examiner's case to close, or for causes to be determined on a pending case is 4 to 6 months. For more information, please click here

How to Obtain Copies

Medical Examiner Reports

In cases where the cause and manner of death are not determined at the time of the autopsy (in other words, pending further investigation), copies of the autopsy, investigative and toxicology reports will usually be available a few weeks after the cause of death is determined and a death certificate is filed. This can be as long as 90 days after the death, but it is usually sooner.  

In cases where the cause and manner of death are certified at the time of the autopsy, the autopsy, investigative, and toxicology reports can take several weeks to complete  (generally between 4 and 8 weeks, but it may take longer).  

Reports are released only after all the reports (autopsy, investigative, and toxicology) and the death certificate have been completed.  We do not prepare preliminary reports.  

If you desire these reports, please write, email  (records.mx@sdcounty.ca.gov), or telephone this office with your request. If emailing your request, please provide your relationship to the decedent, your return address (if requesting hard copies), and your phone number in case we have questions.  


Unsigned copies of reports can be provided via e-mail at no charge. Hard (signed) copies of reports are provided at a rate of $1.20 per page, plus the cost of postage. There is no charge for the first copy provided to the legal next-of-kin. Full description of Fees.

If when you receive the reports you have questions, please call our office at (858) 694-2895.


Death Certificates

Although we fill out information on the death certificate, our office does not provide copies of the death certificate.

You may request certified copies of the death certificate from the Vital Records and Statistics Office of the County's Health and Human Services Agency. Their phone number is (619) 692-5733. However, before contacting Vital Records, contact your mortuary.  Many mortuaries provide copies of the death certificate when it is ready. Be sure to check if the mortuary you are working with provides this service.

If the death certificate is more than 2 years old, you should contact the San Diego County Recorders Office at (619) 237-0502.