A long row of body bags where multiple bodies are stored in the 600 series long-term crypt at the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office April 16, 2002 in Los Angeles, CA.

In his 36 years as a Marin County coroner, Ken Holmes saw everyone from murder victims to people who committed suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. Over the years, he learned how to interview witnesses, search crime scenes for clues and how to be the first person to notify families of their loved one’s death. He also learned to identify a wide array of guns and drugs, and other lesser known ways people die. Holmes left the coroner’s office in 2010, but his story is the subject of author John Bateson’s book “The Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating Death.” Both men join Forum to talk about the dead, and what can be learned from the clues they leave behind.


Ken Holmes, former coroner, Marin County Coroner’s Office

John Bateson, author, “The Education of a Coroner: Lessons in Investigating Death”

From Murders to Suicides: A Coroner Finds ‘Lessons in Investigating Death’ 13 November,2017Michael Krasny


    I had millions of dollars in the bank, beautiful elegant house in Berkeley hills, 5 very expensive German cars, but all was overlooked when I met a woman, a banker, after sort time of romance and good time where both enjoyed the great night life in San Francisco great dining in the most expensive restaurants and night clubs, she became a nightmare, very difficult to please, made my life miserable, she was real evil, during that time my business lost over one million dollars of employees theft…..for several week I walked on the Golden Gate bridge, but my good sense took over, and survived that experience…..Later on I found out that I was not her first , that just before I met her, her husband for many years, left home one morning, never came back….. When ever I hear any discussion about suicide and the golden Gate bridge, that whole experience comes back to hunt me……….

  • Reverend Lurlean Tucker

    One day the world will become so overpopulated that doctors will prescribe suicide pills to the chronically ill and/or depressed. Centers will be set up something like the ones in the old movie Soylent Green, but I doubt they will provide the same basic amenities. They will offer patients a joint to smoke and then put them under for good. Ultraliberal religions will embrace the practice eventually, and it will become commonplace. I’m not saying human bodies will be turned into food, though even that may happen eventually if the masses don’t learn to exercise restraint.

  • Ben Rawner

    After years of doing this work, did your guest an instinct about the cause of death? What were the cases that stumped him?

  • BDN


Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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