"Hidden behind the security guards, an x-ray machine and a staircase is the Douglas County Coroner’s office. It’s nestled deep into the red-brick Robert A. Christensen Justice Center, a modern and imposing building.
The office’s isolated location serves as a reminder of the taboo, shielding the dead from the gaze of the living.
Only in the basement of the office, past the sterile waiting room and office space, can the dead be seen. The windows on the left offer the first glimpses of the autopsy being performed in morgue one.
In the morgue, two women dressed in blue surgical gowns labored around the autopsy station in the middle of the room. Forensic Pathologist Dr. Dawn Holmes stood by a counter, precisely dissecting a liver. Jessica Carlos-Ray, the medicolegal death investigator (MDI), stood over the deceased.
Dr. Holmes and MDI Carlos-Ray are just two members of an increasing population of women flocking to forensics. Antoinette Campbell, the president and founder of the Association of Women in Forensic Science, attributed it to books such as Nancy Drew and women being drawn to problem-solving and critical thinking. Some cite the “CSI effect” and seeing intelligent women practice forensics on television.
But for Jessica-Carlos Ray, becoming a medicolegal death investigator has always made sense."