One of the primary purposes of the Medical Examiner’s Office is to conduct inquests or investigations into the cause and manner of deaths occurring within Tarrant, Denton, Johnson and Parker Counties. The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s District staffs an around-the-clock investigative division responsible for initiating a formal response to all reportable cases.
Investigators within the district made inquiries into approximately 12,632 deaths in 2018. Forensic investigators are trained in a multi-disciplinary capacity and possess unique education and abilities, including knowledge of criminal investigation techniques, relevant aspects of forensic medicine, crime scene processing skills, and maintenance of case integrity. Additionally, each investigator is capable of conducting effective interviews, locating and notifying next-of-kin, and interacting with law enforcement personnel.
Once a jurisdictional death is reported, an investigator attends the scene or hospital where the death occurred. After conducting the initial investigation, an investigator prepares a detailed case report containing biographical data on the decedent, a narrative of the events leading up to the time of death or discovery of the decedent, and a summation of all investigative analyses and leads. Additionally, investigators coordinate with hospitals, physicians, law enforcement agencies, employers, families, and other pertinent sources to gather information that might be of value to the determination of both a decedent's positive identification as well as the cause and manner of death.
John Briggs began working for the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office in 2001 and was promoted through the ranks to become the Chief Forensic Death Investigator in 2021. Prior to his employment at the Medical Examiner’s office, John worked for ten years at local police departments within Tarrant County. He holds a TCOLE Master Peace Officer certificate and has been a commissioned peace officer since 1991. John is a Diplomate of the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators, an agency endorsed by the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board. John’s law enforcement achievements include the State of Texas Award for Valor, International Association of Chiefs of Police / DuPont Kevlar Survivor Award, Officer of the Year, and Lifesaving Commendation. John received an honorable discharge from the United States Army Reserve after eight years of service. He is an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.
Ms. Hernandez received a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice from Drury University and completed 49.5 hours in a Master of Forensic Science program with National University. She began working as a Field Agent with the Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office in 2006 and moved to the Denton County Medical Examiner's Office in 2015 as a Forensic Death Investigator. She was promoted to Senior Forensic Death Investigator in 2020 and has attended multiple death investigation trainings with the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
Gary Morris began his service with the Johnson County Medical Examiner’s Office as a Reserve Investigator in 2006. Mr. Morris served in several positions, advancing to his current position as the Senior Forensic Death Investigator for the Johnson County office in 2011. He has attended Forensic Death Investigation training in Fort Worth, St. Louis, Arizona, and New York.
Traci Brockway began her career in law enforcement in 1994 and began working as a deputy sheriff for the Parker County Sheriff's Office in 2014. Her past history includes employment as a peace officer in Arkansas, working with the 14th District Drug Task Force, and working as a juvenile probation officer. In addition, Traci holds an EMT certification, EMS Instructor License, and was previously a volunteer Fire Fighter and EMT in Mineral Wells, Texas. She is currently employed as the Senior Forensic Death Investigator for Parker County.
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