The body of Orlando massacre gunman Omar Mateen has been kept apart from the remains of his 49 victims at the morgue — and his autopsy was conducted in a different building.
"This is not a law or requirement, but was rather done out of respect for the victims and their families so that the shooter may never be near the 49 beautiful souls again," Orange County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Joshua Stephany said in a statement on Thursday.
The ME's office has completed all autopsies and all but two of the victims' bodies have been picked up by funeral homes. Those two are expected to be released Thursday.
Stephany said it was a "monumental task" for seven medical examiners to complete all autopsies, identify the victims and notify their relatives within 72 hours of the bloodbath at the Pulse nightclub early Sunday.
"This has been the most difficult week for our community," he said.
"While our team trains for such incidents, nothing could truly prepare anyone for this devastating loss. We are honored to have been entrusted to care for all of these individuals, yet saddened to now be among those communities affected by such profound tragedies."