Why is a body brought to the coroner's office/morgue?
The remains of the deceased persons are brought to the
coroner's office (morgue) because Ohio Law requires that the Coroner
investigate deaths of persons dying from criminal violence, by accident,
by suicide, suddenly when unattended by a physician for a reasonable
period of time, in detention, or in any suspicious or unusual manner.
Another reason that a body may be brought to the morgue in that the
identity of the deceased or next-of-kin is unknown.
When is an autopsy performed?
Not all personas brought to the Coroner's Office are
autopsied. Certain cases are not autopsied where no "foul play"
is suspected and evidence of a natural death is present. In other cases
where the death may be natural, but the cause of death cannot be determined
by medical findings or there is a possibility of legal proceedings which
may arise as a result of homicide, accident, suicide, etc., an autopsy
will be performed. In these cases both positive and negative information
is found which substantiates the ruling and cause of death as signed
by the Coroner. Under a new change in the ORC, any child under age of
2 years that is referred to the Coroner's Office with no known potentially
lethal disease shall be autopsied unless contrary to the parent's religious
Does the Coroner need permission from the next-of-kin
for an autopsy?
Ohio Law (ORC 2108.52) provides that the Coroner does
not need permission for an autopsy. The Office of the Coroner will attempt
to comply with the wishes of the next-of-kin if this does not conflict
with the duties of the Coroner as charged by Ohio Law including due
regard to the deceased's religious persuasion.
What is an autopsy and is there a charge for it?
An autopsy is a systematic examination by a qualified
physician on the body of a deceased person for the purpose of determining
the cause of death and recovering from the body, evidence as to the
cause of death. A record is made of the findings of the autopsy including
microscopic and toxicological laboratory tests. These laboratory tests
are conducted after the release of the body to the next-of-kin for burial.
There is no charge to the next-of-kin or responsible persons for any
autopsy nor for any of the tests which may be conducted by the Coroner.
How will the body be released to those qualified to
Routinely, the Coroner releases the body to a licensed
funeral director. The next-of-kin or those qualified to receive the
body of the deceased person should notify a funeral director who, in
turn, will arrange transportation for the deceased to the funeral home
and obtain the necessary documents for burial or cremation.
How can a Funeral Director be selected?
Most often the next-of-kin discusses the selection of
a funeral director with other family members, clergy or friends. The
Office of the Coroner is prohibited from recommending a funeral director.
A listing of funeral directors is available in the telephone book as
well as other sources.
How can the clothing, personal effects and other valuables
of the deceased be obtained?
Usually the clothing and other effects of the deceased
are released to funeral director for disposal or for use as the family
requests. In cases of homicide, various suicides, or vehicular death,
the clothing may be held by the Coroner or investigating law enforcement
agency for use as evidence.By Ohio Law (ORC 313.14) the Office of the
Coroner will take possession of monies and other personal effects of
the deceased. These items are inventoried and released to the next-of-kin
or those persons qualified to receive them. Money over $100.00 may only
be released with a "Release From Probate Order" from the court
or a "Letter of Appointment" naming an executor of the estate
of the deceased.
When will the autopsy report be completed?
The autopsy report, also call the protocol, usually
takes 8 to 10 weeks, to be completed after the autopsy. If microscopic
and chemical tests are performed, this time period can be lengthened
to 12 weeks or longer.
How long does it take for a death ruling to be made?
This procedure is handled differently by the various
counties. In most cases, a signed death certificate will be available
from the funeral director in 7-14 days. When there is insufficient information
available to complete the death certificate, a "Pending Investigation"
or "Deferred" Facts and Verdict certificate is issued. This
deferred certificate enables the funeral services and burial to take
place while additional chemical, microscopic slide preparation and examination,
and investigation continues. At the culmination of these tests and investigation,
the ruling is made based on all available information. A supplemental
death certificate is then issued with the cause of death and ruling
which supersedes the "Pending" or "Deferred" death