Criminal Law/re informing relatives of homicide
If there has been a murder, please can you tell me the correct procedure for telling relatives. If someone goes missing at college and the police find the body while the parents are flying into the city, what do the police do? Do they tell the college? Also, this is a difficult task. How is it decided who will break the news? Is it common that psychologists/social workers are involved? But must a detective always be present? Also, does the body have to be identified, even if it obviously the missing person, before the police inform of death. Many thanks
The act of death notification by police is a heavy burden and a necessary but unwelcome task. If a body is found the police will notify the next of kin (NOK) and will notify the officials at the college or university where the student was enrolled. They will not share any valuable intelligence or evidence at this point so as to preserve the integrity of the investigation. Local news will pick up the feed that a body was found. All of the news agencies have police radio scanners, etc. and dispatch their reporters to the scenes like emergency services do. All bodies must be positively identified. If the police and coroner cannot find positive photograph ID such as a driver's license then someone in the line of NOK will have to identify the body.
Jeffrey Hauck, JD, CPO, CII, LPD
Licensed Private Detective