The Douglas County Coroner’s Office extends its deepest sympathy to you during this difficult time. We hope that the information contained herein will assist you by providing answers to commonly asked questions.
- Where will my relative or friend be taken?
- Is it necessary for me to come to the coroner’s morgue to identify the body?
- Is viewing allowed?
- Why is the coroner involved?
- Will an autopsy be performed?
- What about organ donation?
- How long will it take before my relative or friend is released from your office?
- What should I do now?
- Will a coroner or autopsy report be available?
- Will I be charged for coroner services?
- Where can I obtain a death certificate?
- Will the coroner make the funeral arrangements?
- What information does the coroner need to release the body of my relative or friend?
- My relative or friend was in the military. Who can I contact for information?
- What if I discover remains?
- If there are no funds for burial, what can I do?
- How and when can personal possessions be claimed?
- I need to enter my relative’s or friend’s residence, but it is sealed. What can I do?
Is it necessary for me to come to the coroner’s morgue to identify the body?
No. Visual identification is not required. Should it become necessary for you to come in or supply us with other records or x-rays, you will be contacted.
Why is the coroner involved?
State law requires the Coroner to be notified. Who then inquires into and determines the circumstances, manner and cause of all sudden, violent or unusual deaths and those deaths where a doctor is not in attendance, or is present but unwilling to sign the death certificate. Occasionally, more extensive testing and investigation is required, in which case a pending death certificate is signed which will allow final disposition to take place.
Will an autopsy be performed?
When there is an additional need to establish the cause and manner of death the Coroner has a Forensic Pathologist perform an autopsy. Each case is evaluated on an individual basis.
What about organ donation?
Depending upon the circumstances of the death, the approval of the Coroner and the consent of the next-of-kin, tissue or organ donation may be possible to help others. You may be contacted by an organ donation representative.
How long will it take before my relative or friend is released from your office?
Generally the investigation and autopsy, if needed, should be done within 72 hours. Your funeral director will coordinate the release on your behalf or you may contact the office during normal business hours to obtain information of the status of your case.
What should I do now?
Within 48 hours you need to select a funeral home of your choice and make arrangements to meet with them. Inform the funeral director that the death is being handled by the Douglas County Coroner’s Office and ask them to notify us.
Will a coroner or autopsy report be available?
Yes. You may call the office during normal business hours and obtain information as to when a report should be ready. You will also be required to send a short, written and signed request for that report.
Where can I obtain a death certificate?
After certification by the Coroner, death certificates can be obtained through your funeral home or by contacting Tri-County Health Department, Vital Statistics, by telephoning (303) 220-9200. They will then inform you of their procedures.
Will the coroner make the funeral arrangements?
No. Our office does not select funeral homes, make arrangements or supply a list of funeral homes. You can use the phone directory to locate these phone numbers.
What information does the coroner need to release the body of my relative or friend?
When the funeral director is meeting with you they will request the legal next-of-kin to sign a written release form providing authorization for the coroner to release the body to that funeral home. The signed authorization should be faxed directly to the Coroner’s office. When the body is ready for release the Coroner’s Office will notify that funeral home. Please contact either the Coroner’s Office or your mortuary for the official Douglas County Release Authorization Form.
My relative or friend was in the military. Who can I contact for information?
Persons who have served in the Armed Forces, were honorably discharged, and met other service requirements may be entitled to some Veteran’s benefits. Your funeral director will have this information.
What if I discover remains?
Skeletal remains, complete or partial, are found in all areas of Colorado. The Coroner is responsible for first determining if the bones are human or animal, and if human, are they ancient, or Native American. The Coroner must follow certain statutory obligations regarding notification of appropriate State agencies.
If there are no funds for burial, what can I do?
If the decedent does not have sufficient funds for burial, the next-of-kin may seek assistance from government and non-government sources. Your funeral director can give you that information.
How and when can personal possessions be claimed?
Personal possessions that are brought into the Coroner’s Office along with the remains will be documented and stored for safekeeping. When a funeral home takes the remains into their care, all possessions and clothing will also be released to the funeral home. Please contact the funeral home chosen to make arrangements for personal property.
- Castle Rock Police: 303.663.6100
- Parker Police: 303.841.9800
- Lone Tree Police: 303.339.8150
- Douglas County Sheriff: 303.660.7500
- Colorado State Patrol: 303.688.3115
We trust that the advice and counseling provided by your funeral director and the information provided on this website will be of help. Should you need additional assistance, please telephone our office.