CALIFORNIA—On November 8, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced that an investigator with the County of Los Angeles Department of Medical Examiner (formerly known as the Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner) was charged with stealing items from deceased individuals and surroundings during his employment.

“An investigator with the Medical Examiner’s Office holds a position of immense trust and responsibility,” District Attorney George Gascón said. “Their role is not just to unravel the cause of death or help solve potential crimes but also to provide closure and peace to grieving family members. The theft of items, potential family heirlooms and sentimental pieces from the deceased, not only violates this trust but desecrates the memory of a loved one. It’s a profound betrayal of the very essence of the role and the solemn duty owed to both the deceased and their bereaved families.”

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Odey Ukpo stated:

“The Department of Medical Examiner takes these allegations very seriously and is assisting law enforcement and the D.A.’s Office in the ongoing investigation.”

Adrian Muñoz, 34, of Los Angeles was charged with one felony count of grand theft of property and one misdemeanor count of petty theft of property. His arraignment is set for a later date in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. The case was filed for warrant on November 7.

It is reported on January 6, Muñoz responded to a death investigation of a warehouse worker who died from a heart attack at his job in South Los Angeles. According to surveillance footage, he removed a gold crucifix necklace from the victim’s neck and placed it in his medical bag. Muñoz did not return the item or document it in the property receipt.

After a search of Muñoz’s desk cubicle, investigators discovered rare antique coins with a receipt in the name of a man discovered deceased on November 12, 2022. Muñoz has been employed by the Medical Examiner’s Office since 2018 and was responsible for handling the man’s death investigation.

Anyone with additional details is asked to call CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-800-222-TIPS (1-800-222-8477). The case is being prosecuted by LADA’s Justice System Integrity Division and was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.