County, medical examiner work as crime-fighting team


The last thing anyone in the area of law enforcement wants to deal with is a murder. But, as Wright County continues to grow, the odds of having murders in the county rise as well. In the last four years, there have been two murders, both taking place in Annandale.
When law enforcement comes upon a crime scene, the call goes out to Dr. Quinn Strobl and her staff at the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office. Based in Ramsey, Strobl and her associates bring the latest technological advancements to the art of explaining what happened at a crime scene – a far cry from the old days when the county coroner was an on-call doctor at the Buffalo Hospital and couldn’t always leave the hospital to investigate a crime scene with a dead body. More than 20 years ago, it was determined that the county needed something more. Since then, the county has employed a forensic pathologist.
Strobl or one her assistants isn’t called in for all death scenes, but those that have some questions surrounding them.
“For all cases not considered ‘suspicious’ or known homicides, a trained death investigator responds,” Strobl said. “Only in cases of suspicious death, a known homicide, or law enforcement request, does a pathologist attend a scene. We are fortunate to have an excellent working relationship amongst the three major entities – medical examiner, county attorney and sheriff’s office. There is mutual respect as professionals, as we understand our distinct roles and responsibilities. The M.E.’s role is to establish cause and manner of the death for the purposes of justice and/or public health.”
Wright County Attorney Tom Kelly has believed in a team approach to the handling of death scenes since he became the head of the county’s criminal division in 1990. While some counties have “turf wars” between law enforcement and the county attorney’s office, Wright County has developed and maintained a strong team approach between the county attorney’s office, sheriff’s office and medical examiner.
More information appears in this week's Messenger.