This story was fully updated at 11:03 p.m.

A recently formed citizen committee released its plan Wednesday on how to handle the years of unprocessed evidence discovered in the medical examiner's office in 2015.

Since December, when an employee announced that he'd discovered evidence from at least 35 homicide, suicide, and accidental death cases that happened between 1986 and 2002, the county district attorney's office has worked on a plan to inventory everything.

Some evidence could exonerate people, so District Attorney General Neal Pinkston assembled a five-person committee of former prosecutors, professors and defense attorneys to ensure conviction integrity throughout the process.

Here's a few of the highlights from the protocol:

First, every autopsy envelope between 1986 and 2002 needs to be examined to determine what evidence actually exists.

Then, beginning as soon as possible, the Hamilton County Audit Department will inventory the evidence and turn it over to the district attorney's office and the oversight committee. From there, it will be transferred to a safe location on the eighth floor of the Newell Tower.

Once that's finished, investigators need to determine the cause of death, and which law enforcement agency was involved, so they can hunt down an incident report.

Next, they'll determine the state of the case. Is the homicide case opened or closed? Can they locate a defendant's name?

The district attorney's office also must weigh the evidence and determine key pieces of information: Did the defendant in a homicide case enter a plea agreement? What were the indicted charges?

Then come the unsolved cases. The district attorney's cold case unit will evaluate that evidence and, if necessary, send it to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for further analysis.

"After all five steps of a persecuted case have been completed, the District Attorney General will provide Committee Members with a synopsis of the evidence used to convict the defendant," a release from Pinkston's office states.

His office also said the lengthy process should be completed by the end of 2016.

"In the meantime, any defendant convicted of a homicide between the years 1986 and 2002 wanting to know if his or her case has unanalyzed evidence should contact our office at 423-209-7400," the release states.

Contact staff writer Zack Peterson at or 423-757-6347 with story ideas or tips. Follow @zackpeterson918.