As part of the Before I Die ABQ Festival, register to take a tour of the Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI) laboratories. See where New Mexico’s real-life CSI teams work. The tour is free and attendance is limited to 30. Indicate your interest in this and other Before I Die ABQ Festival events here.  A map to get to the offices will be sent to registrants.

The Office of the Medical Investigator (OMI) investigates any death occurring in the State of New Mexico that is sudden, violent, untimely, unexpected, or where a person is found dead and the cause of death is unknown. The OMI determines the cause and manner of death in these cases, and provides formal death certification.

As a special program of the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, the OMI also has a strong educational mission, offering training for community workers and formal programs for UNM medical students, residents, and fellows. OMI pathologists, radiologists and epidemiologists are appointed as faculty in the Department of Pathology. The program operates out of a central office located near the UNM Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

If you can’t make it to the tour, consider coming to Saturday’s 4:00 p.m. talk by Vidal Herrera at Cooper Art Center, 130 Quincy NE. Herrera, founder of private autopsy service 1-800-AUTOPSY, has more than 40 years of experience as a coroner investigator. He’ll talk about options for families when they have questions about a loved one’s death.

During his tenure at the Los Angeles County Chief Medical Examiner Coroner office, Southern California experienced an unprecedented rise in serial killings that Herrera investigated, including The Hillside Strangler, The Skid Row Slasher, The Freeway Slasher, The Grim Sleeper (Strawberry Killer) and The Night-Stalker. While lifting a body at a crime scene in 1984, Herrera sustained a career-ending lower back injury that forced him into retirement. After surgery and rehabilitation, Herrera saw the public’s need for autopsies being overlooked by the medical community.