Coroner's Seal




Frequently Asked Questions


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 beliefs.

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 receive it?

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 certificate.