Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation
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Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation A National Cooperative. “SUIDI” Training Academies. SUIDI Teams. One team per state Five members: Medical Examiner/Coroner (team leader) Medicolegal Death Investigator Law Enforcement Officer Child Protection Expert

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  • One team per state

  • Five members:

    • Medical Examiner/Coroner (team leader)

    • Medicolegal Death Investigator

    • Law Enforcement Officer

    • Child Protection Expert

    • Post-secondary Teaching Professional

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Delaware Office of the Chief Medical ExaminerForensic Sciences Laboratory

Deputy Director Hal G. Brown

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Delaware Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

Medical-Legal Death Investigator Brian McCarthy

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Det. Bonnie ShrinerNew Castle County Police

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Delaware Division of Family Services

Child Protective Worker Diana Milo

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Sudden Unexplained Infant Death

The sudden and unexpected death of an infant due to natural or unnatural causes.

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Well then Maam… what is SIDS? (just the facts)

Sudden death of an infant under one year of age, which remains unexplained after a thorough case investigation, including performance of a complete autopsy, examination of the death scene, and review of the clinical history.

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A national cooperative?

What do I have to do? Why?

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  • “WHY”?

  • SINCE SIDS is ONLY a type of SUIDI; We must establish a consistent RESEARCH BASED SCENE DATA COLLECTION & FOLLOW-UP

    • Currently, we lack consistency…








There must be a State Wide SUIDI

Procedure that addresses:





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Thoroughly know the “Top 25”…

  • Case Information

  • Asphyxia

  • Sharing sleep surfaces

  • Change in sleep conditions

  • Hyperthermia/hypothermia

  • Environmental hazards (CO, chemicals, etc)

  • Unsafe sleeping condition

  • Diet

  • Recent hospitalizations

  • Previous medical diagnosis

  • History of acute life threatening events

  • History of medical care without diagnosis

  • Recent fall or other injury

  • History of religious, cultural, or ethnic remedies

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  • Cause of death due to natural causes other than SIDS Prior sibling deaths

  • Previous encounters with police or social service agencies

  • Request for tissue or organ donation

  • Objection to autopsy

  • Pre-terminal resuscitative treatment

  • Death due to trauma (injury), poisoning, or intoxication

  • Suspicious circumstances

  • Other alerts for pathologist’s attention

  • Description of circumstances (what happened?)

  • Pathologist Information (name/agency/phone)

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Sleeping position (step-father) sibling deaths

Baby’s Crib

sleeping position (decedent)

  • Sharing sleep surfaces

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Asphyxia sibling deaths

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Yeah… the kid is sleeping in the trailer! sibling deaths

  • Unsafe sleeping conditions

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Environmental hazards sibling deaths

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Recent sibling deaths


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Family Information sibling deaths

  • Prior sibling deaths

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Suspicious circumstances sibling deaths

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Value of Education; sibling deaths

Presenting the CDC-SUIDI mission back home.

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Fundamental knowledge of sibling deaths

growth and development provides an understanding of;

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Interagency cooperation and sibling deaths

multi-disciplinary approach.

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Scene Investigation sibling deaths


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The Interview sibling deaths


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Reenactment sibling deaths

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Web-based Reporting sibling deaths

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Wait a minute… sibling deaths



is not consistent everywhere!

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Some jurisdictions… sibling deaths

  • Use the Medical-Legal Investigator

  • Use Police

  • Use both

  • Don’t do it at all!

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Police are taught that every death is a homicide until “ sibling deathsproven different” -- which mandates a search warrant to safeguard the admission of evidence:

Example (final point of affidavit)…

“Your affiant, Det. Bonnie Shriner hereby requests the honorable court authorize the New Castle County Police to enter the aforementioned residence with Joe Childbeater for the express purpose of performing a photographic and videographic scene reenactment”.

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THE RULES OF sibling deathsRE-ENACTMENT(they are different)Police Investigators typically seek a Search Warrant and videotape (to avoid evidence suppression).Medical-Legal Investigators do not seek a warrant (they do not need one).

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Don’t hit the brakes yet… sibling deaths

We have a lot of work to do!

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Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation sibling deaths

Is a National Cooperative.

Let’s make it work!