Karen Carpenter Autopsy


The decedent is a 32 year old female with a reported history of Anorexia Nervosa. The decedent was last known to be alive this morning when her mother heard her activity in the kitchen of their residence. The decedents mother entered the kitchen at approximately 0850 ours and found the decedent unresponsive on the floor.

Paramedics were summoned responded and initiated CPR while transporting the decedent to the hospital. The decedent was admitted to the Emergency Room of Downey Community Hospital where life saving efforts proved to be of no avail. Death was pronounced at 0951 hrs, 2-4-83 by Dr Edwards.

Close examination revealed no indications of trauma or foul play. Ms Tomlin relinquished a vial of Ativan 2mg tablets which she stated was found in the decedents clothing. The medication and the decedent were transported in to the FSC.

A red jogging suit released to friend of the family per request of Evelyn Wallace who says she was the secretary to the deceased.

I performed an autopsy on the body of Karen Carpenter at the Department of Chief Medical Examiner Coroner Los Angeles California on February 4th 1983 at 1430 hours.


1- Pulmonary edema and congestion
2- Anorexia Nervosa
3- Cachexia
4- Distended abdomen
5- Dehydration
6- Congestion of liver and spleen
7- Hyperplasia of porta lymph nodes
8- Distention of bowel


The body is unclothed and un-embalmed and is that of a well developed, thin 32 year old white female which measures 64 inches in length and weighs 108 pounds. The body is at room temperature. Rigor mortis is not present. Liver mortis is in the dependent portions and is unfixed, blanching with pressure. The hair is dark brown. The pupils are widely dilated and are round , regular and equal. The nasal cavity is clear. An endotracheal tube is present in the mouth. No abnormalities are seen. The teeth are natural. The ear canals are clear. A small superficial abrasion is seen over the pre-cordium of the chest. The abdomen is distended. Multiple needle puncture marks are seen in the groin bilaterally. The toe nails contain clear polish. The arms are thin. An intravenous needle is present in the right antecubital fossa. Fresh needle marks are seen in both wrists and on the back of the right hand. The fingernails are long and contain red polish.


Pink foamy material is present in the airway to the level of the larynx. No obstruction is seen. The stomach contains an estimated 50 to 60 cc of a dark green dry and hydrous material which has the consistency of dried tea leaves. No solid material or identifiable food is seen. No pills, capsules or other forms of medications are identifiable.

The duodenum is dilated and full of a soft semi-liquid yellowish green material. The colon is also distended and dialated with a greenish brown dehydrated material to the level of the terminal sigmoid. The rectum is empty and shows no abnormalities.


Karen Carpenters grave can be found here

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