El Dorado County Coroner Detectives work under statutory duties of the Coroner which includes investigating the circumstances surrounding all suspicious or unexpected deaths including homicides, suicides, accidental, unattended or unexplained deaths. They are also responsible for establishing the identity of the decedent, notifying the next of kin and safeguarding personal property. Coroner Detectives work closely with the Public Administrator when next of kin cannot be located, with the ultimate goal to bring closure to the family.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the coroner involved in the death of my loved one?

The Coroner is required by state law (G.C. 27491) to investigate all unnatural deaths, or deaths where the attending Medical Doctor is unable to state a cause of death as well as cases where the deceased has not been seen by a doctor for 20 days prior to death. Our responsibility is to establish positive identity of the deceased; determine the place, date and time; and the cause and classification of death. The Coroner's investigation is not limited to the examination of the deceased but may include interviews with family members and other witnesses, the collection of physical evidence and the safeguarding of personal property found at the death scene.

Where is my loved one being taken?

When necessary, your loved one will be transported to the El Dorado County Morgue, located at the Sheriff's office. Your loved one will then be released to the family's authorized funeral home or cremation service.

What do I do now?

Contact the funeral home of your choice. They are prepared to assist you in making your selections and decisions. They will work closely with us to arrange the release of your loved one's remains from our custody. They will also guide you in deciding how many certified copies of the death certificate that you will need and order them for you when they file with the county.

Is an autopsy needed?

Autopsies are not always necessary with every death investigated by the Coroner. An autopsy is necessary in cases when the decedents primary care physician is unable to determine the cause of death. Autopsies are performed only on those cases where it is required by law or where it is necessary to determine the cause of death.

When can I have a funeral?

Our examination should not delay your funeral plans. The Coroner will complete their investigation as soon as possible (typically within 24-48 hours).

What if I have no money for a funeral?

If the deceased does not have sufficient funds for burial, the next of kin may apply for County disposition (General Relief). El Dorado County Social Services or the Public Administrator with the Sheriff's Office can possibly assist you with financial matters pertaining to funeral costs. In these circumstances, proof of indigence is required. The family should contact Social Services at (530) 642-7300.

Can I find out the cause of death?

Yes, in most cases. Call the Coroner's Unit and any member of the staff can furnish you with the cause and classification of death appearing on the death certificate. Occasionally to determine the cause of death further studies such as microscopic and toxicological tests must be performed. Toxicological tests may take a few months to receive the reports and determine the final cause of death. In these instances, a "Pending" death certificate is released to the mortuary along with the deceased so that funeral services can be completed without delay. When these further studies or investigations have been completed an amended death certificate is issued. "Pending" death certificates can be purchased through the funeral home or the County Office of Vital Statistics however, some financial, estate, probate or business matters may be dependent upon the final death certificate.

How do I get copies of the death certificate?

Certified copies of the death certificate initially are ordered for the family by the funeral director handling final arrangements. Additional copies may be purchased from the County Office of Vital Statistics, located at 931 Spring Street Placerville, CA 95667 Phone: (530) 621-6121.

How do I get copies of coroner records?

A copy of the autopsy report and coroner's investigation can be purchased at a cost of $10.00 from the Records Office at 200 Industrial Drive, Placerville, CA. 95667 Phone: (530) 621-5703.

How do I contact the coroner detective assigned to my loved one's case?

Coroner business office hours are Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 5p.m., you may call the Coroner's Unit at (530) 642-4700 and request to speak to the investigating Coroner Detective. If it is after hours, you may leave a message and the investigating Coroner Detective will return your call promptly.

How do I reclaim property of my loved one taken by the coroners?

The Coroner may release property directly to the legal next of kin or any other person furnishing written authorization from the legal next of kin.