Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $271,960)
The Medical Examiners (ME) conduct autopsies in the Juan F. Luis Hospital of St. Croix and the Roy Lester Schneider Hospital of St. Thomas. The Virgin Islands hospitals morgue/autopsy suites are not built to manage medical-legal death investigations, in that the design and capacity are not ideal for the processing of crime evidence.
The autopsy suites must be expanded to store more bodies, and provide spacing for the deceased loved ones to identify the bodies. Autopsy room equipment and tools must be upgraded. Forensic evidence collected during autopsies and investigations in many instances are transported off-island to the Federal Bureau of Investigations for final evaluation and results. This system of managing forensic evidence must be improved to ensure that the analysis and delivery of such evidence is secure, accurate and without delay. Backlogs with the processing of evidence delay crime scene investigations and hamper the prosecution of criminal cases.
After thorough review and collaboration with other stakeholders, it was determined that the Virgin Islands needed to create a forensic science lab with an autopsy suite. nca/ncf