Coroner Staff 2013

Douglas County Coroner Staff

Back Row:  Investigator Ayla McClain – Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology; Coroner Lora Thomas – Associate Degree of Applied Science in Criminal Justice, Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with an Emphasis in Finance and a Master in Business Administration; Investigator Gabriel Hollist – Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Biology; Investigator Jamie Lesnansky – Bachelor of Arts Degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.  Front Row:  Investigator Melanie Gutteea – Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and Criminology; Office Manager Lauren Stockton – Associate Degree of Science in Graphic Design and Multimedia; Chief Deputy Jill Romann – Bachelor of Science Degree in Mortuary Science; Investigator Jessica Carlos-Ray -Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology, Master of Arts in Criminal Justice.

Lora Thomas, Coroner

Lora Thomas

Lora Thomas
Douglas County Coroner

Elected Douglas County Coroner in 2010, Lora Thomas is a Colorado native who brings decades of practical law-enforcement experience, a proven track record of managing public sector budgets and personnel, advanced education and knowledge of the Office of Coroner.

Lora served the Colorado State Patrol for 26 years.  Her duties included being a trooper in Douglas County for seven years, a sergeant in Lamar and Golden, a Captain in Limon and a Major in Durango, the Governor’s Office, and State Patrol Headquarters.  Lora was the first woman Captain and Major in the organization’s history.

As the turn of the century approached, Governor Bill Owens appointed Major Thomas to be Team Leader on an initiative known as New Century Colorado. She led a team that interviewed cabinet-level Executive Directors looking for inefficiencies in state government.  It was during this assignment that Lora developed a passion for finding ways in which government could be more efficient.

Governor Owens assigned Major Thomas to head the ten-county Region 7 Homeland Security Team.  She formed a Board of Directors that consisted of sheriffs, police chiefs, fire chiefs and other first responders, and then served as the Chairman of the Board.  This emergency and preparedness response region has evolved into the North Central All-Hazards Emergency Management Region.

Lora earned an Associate Degree of Applied Science in Criminal Justice from Arapahoe Community College in 1994; a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an Emphasis in Finance (graduating Magna Cum Laude) from Regis University in 1997 and a Master of Business Administration from Regis University in 2002.  She also attended the Northwestern University’s School of Police Staff and Command in 1996, and was elected Class Vice-President.  Lora Thomas taught at Arapahoe Community College from 2003 through 2006 in the Criminal Justice programs as Adjunct Faculty and remains certified as an Instructor.

Lora is a 2008 graduate of the Leadership Program of the Rockies and a 2010 graduate of Leadership Douglas County.  She serves on the Highlands Ranch Public Issues Committee and is the Chairman of the Victim Compensation Board for the 18th Judicial District.  Lora has worked with Second Wind Fund of Douglas County, a group that raises money to provide free counseling to high school students at risk for suicide.  Suicide Prevention is important to Ms. Thomas.

For the last six years Lora has been researching homicides and suicides for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  She researched more than 7000 cases.  Lora has volunteered in various coroner offices in the Metro area, and is a Certified Death Investigator by the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators.

Lora has lived in Douglas County for 19 years, and currently resides in Highlands Ranch.  In addition to her professional interests, she enjoys her family, traveling, hiking and the theatre.

Mission, Vision and Values

Mission - Compassion for families with accountability to the taxpayer

Vision - A world‐class Coroner’s Office, staffed with exceptional individuals, who provide answers concerning the cause and manner of death to families and other agencies.  With compassion and complete service,  we assist families experiencing a devastating loss


  • Customer Service:  We take the extra step to solve the problem or answer the question
  • Honesty:  We are honest, trustworthy, truthful and sincere
  • Knowledgeable:  We know what we are doing; we are well-trained, certified Medicolegal Death Investigators, cross-trained to assist Forensic Pathologists at autopsy
  • Accuracy:  We are accurate, striving to eliminate errors in every task we perform
  • Teamwork:  We are stronger when we work as a Team instead of as eight individuals
  • Communication:  We communicate clearly, concisely and accurately
  • Consistency:  We perform every task consistently, in a precise and uniform manner
  • Safety:  We follow safety guidelines and procedures for the well-being of ourselves and others
  • Compassion:  We treat others with compassion, respect, dignity and empathy
  • Education:  We value education, and utilize every opportunity to increase our operating knowledge

Additional Resources

  • Youth Suicide Behavior Fact Sheet - Youth suicidal behavior is a significant problem. Yet youth suicide is often preventable. The extent of suicidal behavior — including thoughts of and planning for suicide, nonfatal suicide attempts, and suicide deaths — is shown below. Saving the lives of youth at risk involves a diverse range of interventions including effective assessment and treatment of those with mental disorders, promotion of mental health and help-seeking, early detection of and support for youth in crisis, training in life skills, and reduction of access to lethal means of harm.

Coroner’s Office

4000 Justice Way
Castle Rock, CO 80109
Phone: 303.814.7150
Fax: 877.274.7495

Office Hours

Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.