What types of cases always require a forensic autopsy in one of Indiana County Coroner Offices?

1. Fire deaths, when the body is altered by fire or the carbon monoxide saturation is below 20%.
2. Homicides or any cases in which another person is in anyway a possible factor in the death.
3. Apparent suicides that are without clear evidence of intent, such as those without a note.
4. Drivers in single car accidents.
5. Pilots involved in aircraft crashes.
6. Occupation related deaths.
7. Unwitnessed "accidents."
8. Accidents in which natural disease cannot be ruled out as a factor.
9. Cases where civil litigation may evolve.
10. Deaths of persons in official custody.
11. Sudden, unexpected deaths of children, especially if they are under two years of age.

What is an autopsy?

An autopsy is a step-by-step examination of the body to determine the cause and manner of death. A forensic pathologist looks to see if the body has natural disease and documents all injuries. Ancillary studies such as toxicology, histology, dental identification, etc. may be needed to complete the post mortem examination. The autopsy takes a few hours and the body can usually have a full open viewing at a funeral home. An autopsy can either take place in a hospital or under the jurisdiction of an elected coroner.

Who can request an autopsy?

o Elected coroners of the State of Indiana
o Hospital Networks
o Funeral directors
o Attorneys
o Families of loved ones

If there is an autopsy, can organs or tissues still be donated?

Yes. The forensic pathologist will work with the organ and tissue procurement organization to assist the donorís final wishes of donating his or her organs.

Can the family get a copy of the autopsy report?

Yes. A copy of the report will be prepared upon written request. There may be a small charge if the person making the request is not the legal next of kin.

What about personal property?

Often, the property that is on a person when he or she dies comes to the Coronerís Office with the body. When this happens, the personal property is listed and stored, and then released to the family.