What is the role of the coroner?
The coroner is an elected constitutional officer and has jurisdiction over all deaths investigated by their office. Every four years a coroner must be elected/re-elected by the citizens of the county.
As the coroner, he/she is responsible for investigating all homicides, suicides, accidental deaths and some natural deaths. The coroner is responsible for all deaths that take place outside of a nursing home or hospital. In addition, the coroner investigates all deaths that occur in a hospital when the patient dies less than 24 hours after being admitted as well as all emergency rooms deaths.
The role of the coroner is to determine the cause and manner of death. As there are many causes of death, there are only five manner of deaths: natural, accidental, homicide, suicide and undetermined. In certain cases, a coroner may seek the services of a forensic pathologist to perform an autopsy in helping to determine cause and manner of death.