When does the Coroner become involved in a death, and when is an autopsy required?
An investigation by the Coroner’s Office is required by law to determine the cause and manner of all sudden, violent or unusual deaths. This includes those where a physician has not seen the deceased within 30 days or those who die within 24-hours of admission to a health facility. More on how the Coroner conducts a death investigation…
Autopsies are performed by the Coroner’ Office when the cause and manner of death must be established and documented. The Coroner has the discretion to forego the autopsy if the cause and manner of death can be established by other means. Each case is evaluated for the need of an autopsy. If an autopsy is completed, the final results take 8 to 10 weeks on average to receive.
When an autopsy has been performed, the family will be provided with one free copy of the autopsy report upon their request of one from the Coroner’ Office. More on autopsies…
How do we handle funeral arrangements when our loved one is with the Coroner’s Office?
It is suggested that when a family chooses a mortuary or funeral home for their deceased love one, they inform the funeral director that the decedent is at the Boulder County Coroner’s Office. The director will then act on your behalf, by providing all the necessary releases for the next of kin. Our office does not select or recommend funeral homes, nor does this office make arrangements. If funds for final disposition of the deceased are not available, the next of kin may apply for assistance through Housing and Human Services with Boulder County. More on selecting a mortuary…
How do we coordinate the transfer of our deceased family member to a funeral home?
Depending on the needs of the investigation, a person may be released to the family’s choice of mortuary at the time of the investigation. If further investigation is necessary, the deceased will be transported to the Boulder County Coroner’ facilities.
In most cases, the need for visual identification is not necessary. If such need is required, your family will be contacted directly. Viewing of the deceased at the Boulder County Coroner’ Office is not available. A viewing should be arranged with the selected mortuary.
How do we obtain personal effects or property that may been in our family member’s possession at the time of death?
Personal effects of property of the decedent collected at the time of death will be released to the legal next of kin/guardian by one of the following ways:
- Through the selected mortuary. The legal next of kin/guardian must sign a release/permission form through the mortuary, which the mortuary will then provide to the Coroner’s Office.
- Property may be picked up in person by the legal next of kin/guardian by calling 303.441.3535 and arranging a time with the property custodian.
How does the Coroner deal with organ and tissue donations?
The approval of the Coroner’s Office is required for organ/tissue donation that is under the jurisdiction of the Coroner’s Office. The final consent will be evaluated and weighed towards the investigative needs conducted by the Coroner’s Office.
How/when does a death certificate get filed?
Death certificates are filed by your funeral director with the Health Department in the county where the death is pronounced. Requests for additional certified copies must be made through the funeral home, or, later, through Boulder County Public Health in Boulder: 303-441-1100 or in Longmont: 303-678-6166.
How does the Coroner deal with extenuating circumstances in the event of a death?
If it is necessary to access the decedent’s home, permission must be obtained from the agency in custody of the property. Should the Coroner’s Office possess the keys and there is no seal restricting access, the legal next of kin may make arrangements with the Coroner’s Office during normal business hours. At times the family may need assistance with biohazard clean up after the death of a loved one, there are many resources available for this. Our office does not select or recommend the companies nor does this office provide the services.
Are there special considerations for a deceased family who was a member of the military?
At times, relatives of the deceased are in the military service. The American Red Cross can be contacted for assistance and can assist with returning the family member home for the funeral.