Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why is the coroner involved in the death of my loved one?
A. The following is a list of deaths that the coroner is required by law to investigate.
  • Suspected sudden infant death syndrome (crib death).
  • Death occurring within 24 hours of admission at a hospital or health care facility.
  • Physician unable to cite cause of death.
  • Known or suspected homicide.
  • Known or suspected suicide.
  • Death involving any criminal action.
  • Related to following known or suspected self-induced or criminal abortion.
  • Following an accident or injury (primary or contributory).
  • Drowning, fire, hanging, gunshot, stabbing, exposure, acute alcoholism, drug addiction, strangulation, aspiration, or malnutrition.
  • Accidental poisoning.
  • Occupational diseases or hazards.
  • Known or suspected contagious diseases constituting a public hazard.
  • All deaths where patient is under anesthetic.
  • Incarceration.
  • All deaths of unidentified persons.
  • Unattended deaths.
Q. Why are autopsies performed?
A. There are a number of reasons autopsies are performed.  However, the basic reason is to determine the medical cause of death.  Another primary reason is to gather evidence for presentation in a Court of Law.

Q. Is an autopsy always performed?
A. Not always.  If the death is a "natural death" and the deceased has a physician who knows the medical cause of death and will furnish the Coroner with an acceptable cause, the Coroner will normally not perform an autopsy.

Q. Is there a charge for these services?
A. No.

Q. Can I contact the Coroner's Office?
A. Certainly, you may call concerning any questions you may have.

Q. What about funeral arrangements?
A. Contact the funeral director of your choice as soon as possible and advise him/her as to what has transpired.  Your funeral director will then coordinate further arrangements with the Coroner's Office and will then help you with arrangements for your loved one's funeral.

Q. Can I come see him/her?
A. Due to legal and health issues, visitation of a loved one is done only at the funeral home after the body is properly prepared or at a designated location under the Coroner's discretion.