Inspecting Karen Swenson
In early March 1992, Truitt learned that an unidentified victim, who was actually Karen Swenson, had died in Collum National Forest and discovered that her body showed no visible cause of death and no sign of battery or sexual assault. Truitt did, however, learn that the young, female victim had two small marks on her lower back.
The day after the night on which she had died, Truitt showed the girl's body to Detective Miles and notified the detective of his findings regarding the victim, including his opinion that her time of death had been between eight and twelve hours before. Since the victim's body was lying face down on the forest ground, Truitt helped turn the corpse over, complying with a request by Detective Miles that they do so. After the detective identified the victim as Karen Swenson - revealing that she had gone to school with his son - and began to walk away from the area, Truitt called after Miles, asking if he was referring to the class of '89 and whether his own suspicion that "it" was happening again was accurate, but the detective continued to walk away without answering either question and the coroner soon turned his attention back to the victim's body.
Exhuming Ray Soames
Truitt then acted in accordance with an arrangement, made by FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder, that the body of another deceased individual from the class of '89, Ray Soames, would be exhumed. On March 7, 1992, Truitt was with an exhumation team at a roadside graveyard in coastal northwest Oregon when Mulder arrived there with his FBI partner, Agent Scully, but left the team and walked over to greet the agents as they left their car. Truitt introduced himself to Mulder, already familiar with the FBI agent's name, and was introduced to Scully by Mulder.
When Mulder asked how soon they could get started, Truitt revealed that the team was ready to begin, a situation that Mulder thought was "great". Truitt then began to walk back to the graveyard with the visitors, calling over to one of the workers in the team, "Okay, Vinnie!" In response to Mulder then asking - as the group continued to walk - if an examination facility had been arranged, Truitt stated, "I think we got something for you." Truitt watched as, moments later, Doctor Jay Nemman arrived and, interrupting Truitt's discussion with Mulder, protested against the exhumation before having a strained conversation with Mulder and finally leaving at his daughter's insistence. Truitt then followed Mulder and Scully to Ray Soames' grave.
As Soames' coffin was later lifted out of the ground by a crane, Truitt stood at one side of the coffin while Mulder and Scully stood at the opposite side. Truitt was shocked to witness the coffin fall from a harness attached to the crane and roll down a hill, slightly breaking open. He initially stopped Mulder from further opening the coffin, stating that the current situation was not official procedure, but Mulder did not follow the coroner's advice and, when Mulder lifted it open, Truitt frowned as he saw a desiccated, mummified corpse lying inside. Truitt nodded at Mulder's subsequent instructions to seal the coffin and make sure that nobody touched its bizarre contents, before the coroner slammed the coffin lid closed.
Truitt was later at an emergency site on Rural Highway 133 in Bellefleur, Oregon, after Peggy O'Dell was killed there, and, alone with Mulder, notified him that someone had trashed an autopsy bay the agents had been using and had stolen the corpse Truitt himself had seen earlier. He began trying to explain to Scully what had happened but, before he could utter a word, Mulder instead told her what had happened, as the agents walked to their car before leaving together. (TXF: "Pilot")
John Truitt was played by Stephen E. Miller.
The character is repeatedly referred to as only a "Coroner" in the episode's script, even after the only time in the episode's fictional events when his name is established - when he introduces himself to Mulder. Similarly, he is referred to in the episode's closing credits only as "Coroner Truitt", with the exclusion of his first name.
In the scripted version of the final scene in which he appears, Truitt, not Mulder, tells Scully of the trashed autopsy bay and of the stolen corpse.