Press Releases

COVID-19 positive infant - 7/17/20

The cause of death of the 6-1/2 week infant who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, has been completed.  The death has been certified as: Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (unsafe sleep in bassinette with soft bedding, novel coronavirus (covid-19) respiratory infection).

Infants may die from unexplained causes (e.g., SIDS) or from compromised sleeping conditions.  Therefore, when there is no definitive cause of death at autopsy, these deaths are typically certified as "Undetermined" or "Sudden Unexpected/Unexplained Death in Infancy."  When there are intrinsic and/or extrinsic risk factors in such a death, the cause is certified as above and the risk factors are listed parenthetically. 

Lung tissue was sent to the CDC for additional testing and they confirmed the COVID-19 infection.  There currently is limited medical information on how COVID-19 infection affects infants.  Therefore, the contributory role of COVID-19 infection remains unclear as the typical microscopic lung findings currently described in adult COVID-19 infections were not seen.


Circus Fire Remains Press Release - 7/7/20

DNA analysis of the remains of both circus fire remains was unsuccessful.  Due to the condition of the remains, there was a high bacterial content that interfered with testing.  Samples will be retained in the event that future technics are developed that would be successful. 


2019 Accidental Drug Intoxications - 2/14/20

The fatal accidental drug intoxication totals for 2019 and the spreadsheet of deaths by town is on our website:

The total number of accidental intoxication deaths in 2019 has increased 18% compared to 2018.  There continues to be an increase in deaths with fentanyl (29% increase) and cocaine (34%).  Fentanyl continues to be the most common drug detected and has increased by 26% since 2018.  Overall, 94% of the accidental intoxication deaths involved an opioid.  Of the deaths with cocaine, 85% also involved fentanyl. 

The ages ranged from 17 to 74 years old (average 43) for deaths involving illicit opioids. 

Xylazine, a veterinary tranquilizer, was detected in 71 fentanyl deaths. This is likely being added locally as an adulterant. 


Circus Press Release - 2/10/20

The anthropology examination and dental comparisons of the remains of the unidentified circus fire victims have excluded Grace Dorothy (Smith) Fifield as either of the two exhumed remains. Mitochondrial DNA testing was successfully performed at the Connecticut Division of Scientific Services but the results have not, at this point, allowed for any further identifications. With the assistance of the DNA Doe Project, attempts at nuclear DNA extraction have begun. If nuclear DNA is recovered, an ancestry investigation will be done. This is anticipated to take several months.

Most likely, the remains of Grace Dorothy (Smith) Fifield were originally misidentified and released to the wrong next-of-kin. If the two exhumed women can be identified, it may help find what happened to Grace Dorothy (Smith) Fifield.

Anthropological examinations of the two exhumed remains determined:

One set of remains is consistent with a 25-45 year old African (Black) woman who stood approximately 5'7".

One set of remains is consistent with a 20-50 year old European (White) woman who stood approximately 5'4".


Circus Press Release - 10/7/19

The OCME in conjunction with the Hartford Police Department successfully exhumed the remains of two of the unidentified circus fire victims.  Both skeletonized remains were contained in buried cement vaults.  The next steps include dental and anthropological evaluation of the remains followed by DNA testing. The DNA testing is expected to take weeks to months depending on the condition of the DNA.  We hope this work will help put names to these victims for the benefit of their next of kin.  


Circus Press Release - 10/4/19

The exhumation will be on 10/7/2019 @ Northwood Cemetery @ 8:00 a.m.


Circus Press Release - 9/17/19 

When the date of the exhumation of the circus fire remains is determined, it will be posted here.

The location is the Northwood Cemetery (Bina Avenue in Windsor).


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