Purpose: The coroner "speaks for the dead." He or she is an independent investigative agent who has been given constitutional powers usually reserved for officers of the court. He or she can issue subpoenas for records or call witnesses. They can order autopsies to be done and toxicological examinations to be completed upon the body. Coroner's are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The coroner, who has the responsibility of making a positive identification of the deceased and certifying the cause and manner of death, conducts a parallel investigation to any law enforcement agency.
Duties of the Coroner
Identification of deceased
Identification may be as easy as having a family member at the scene when you get there or as difficult as having only a few bones to work with and having to utilize one of many experts available to coroner's.
Determination of Cause of Death
Cause of death is the final factor or event that happened to the deceased. If this had not happened, the individual would still be alive. This may be a cascade of factors or events, one following the other and this will be reflected on the death certificate that your coroner files with the county health department.
Determination of the Manner of Death
Manner of death is descriptive grouping. It is, however, a family set, universally accepted acknowledgement of how people die. These possibilities are: