For those wondering about autopsies today, here’s the Texas statute.
Art. 49.04. DEATHS REQUIRING AN INQUEST. (a) A justice of the peace shall conduct an inquest into the death of a person who dies in the county served by the justice if:
(1) the person dies in prison under circumstances other than those described by Section 501.055(b), Government Code, or in jail;
(2) the person dies an unnatural death from a cause other than a legal execution;
(3) the body or a body part of a person is found, the cause or circumstances of death are unknown, and:
(A) the person is identified; or
(B) the person is unidentified;
(4) the circumstances of the death indicate that the death may have been caused by unlawful means;
(5) the person commits suicide or the circumstances of the death indicate that the death may have been caused by suicide;
(6) the person dies without having been attended by a physician;
(7) the person dies while attended by a physician who is unable to certify the cause of death and who requests the justice of the peace to conduct an inquest; or
(8) the person is a child younger than six years of age and an inquest is required by Chapter 264, Family Code.
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c) of this section, a physician who attends the death of a person and who is unable to certify the cause of death shall report the death to the justice of the peace of the precinct where the death occurred and request that the justice conduct an inquest.
(c) If a person dies in a hospital or other institution and an attending physician is unable to certify the cause of death, the superintendent or general manager of the hospital or institution shall report the death to the justice of the peace of the precinct where the hospital or institution is located.
(d) A justice of the peace investigating a death described by Subsection (a)(3)(B) shall report the death to the missing children and missing persons information clearinghouse of the Department of Public Safety and the national crime information center not later than the 10th working day after the date the investigation began.
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