A. If, in the opinion of the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, it is advisable and in the public interest that an autopsy be made as part of the investigation of the death, or if an autopsy is requested by the attorney for the Commonwealth or by a judge of the circuit court of the county or city wherein such body is or where death occurred or wherein any injury contributing to or causing death was sustained, an autopsy shall be performed by the Chief Medical Examiner, an Assistant Chief Medical Examiner, or a pathologist with whom the Commissioner has entered into an agreement in accordance with § 32.1-281. Upon petition of a member of the immediate family or the spouse of the deceased in a case of death by injury, such circuit court may, for good cause shown, order an autopsy, after providing notice and an opportunity to be heard to the attorney for the Commonwealth for the jurisdiction wherein the injury contributing to or causing death was sustained or where death occurred. Further, in all cases of death suspected to be attributable to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), an autopsy shall be advisable and in the public interest and shall be performed as required by § 32.1-285.1. A full record and report of the facts developed by the autopsy and findings of the person making such autopsy shall be promptly made and filed with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and a copy furnished the judge or attorney for the Commonwealth requesting such autopsy. In the discretion of the Chief Medical Examiner or an Assistant Chief Medical Examiner, a copy of any autopsy report or findings may be furnished to any appropriate attorney for the Commonwealth and to the appropriate law-enforcement agency investigating the death.
B. In the case of a child death investigation that indicates child abuse or neglect contributed to the death, or that the child suffered from abuse and neglect, the case shall be immediately reported to the child protective services unit of the local Department of Social Services by the Chief Medical Examiner, an Assistant Chief Medical Examiner, or a medical examiner appointed pursuant to § 32.1-282.
Code 1950, § 32-31.19; 1952, c. 318; 1960, c. 366; 1975, c. 475; 1979, c. 711; 1989, c. 66; 1991, c. 644; 1993, c. 965; 2003, c. 368; 2014, c. 583.