Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


Q. WHY IS THE CORONER INVOLVED IN THIS DEATH? ARE ALL DEATHSIN MERCED COUNTY REPORTED TO THE CORONER’S OFFICE?

A. California Law requires the Coroner to inquire into and determine the circumstances, manner and cause of all deaths listed in the California Government Code section27491 (CA Codes (gov:27490-27512 ). Not all deaths in Merced County meet the reportable criteria.


Q. MY LOVEDONE HAS DIED. WHAT DO I DO NOW?

A. As the legal next of kin you need to first choose a funeral home or mortuary that you want your loved one to be released to. Your funeral home is the first step to help you with any questions that may arise.


Q. MAY ICOME TO THE CORONER’S OFFICE TO VIEW MY LOVED ONE?

A. Viewing is not allowed at the Coroner’s Office under any circumstance. All decedent’s are fingerprinted for positive identification and are here for examination and determination of cause of death. Forensic Examinations are generally completed within 24 to 48 hours. Family should make arrangements to view their loved one at the funeral home.


Q. WHEN CANI SEE MY LOVED ONE?

A. This is a determination for the funeral home. Please express when making arrangements that you would like to see your loved one as soon as possible. A list of funeral homes in the area is provided in the FUNERAL HOME ESTABLISHMENTS IN THE COUNTY section for your convenience. You may select a funeral home in a different city or county to assist you.


Q. WILLTHERE BE AN AUTOPSY PERFORMED?

A. Not all deaths that fall under California Coroner Laws require an autopsy. The Deputy Coroner assigned to the case will present their findings and pertinent medical history information to the Forensic Pathologist for the county. He/She will determine whether an autopsy or and external exam is necessary. In many cases the decedent’s personal primary care physician is called upon to sign the original death certificate and no examination is performed at the coroner division.


Q. WHENWILL I KNOW THE CAUSE OF DEATH?

A. If established after a preliminary Coroner’s investigation, forensic examination and review of medical records, the cause will be available to the relatives within days after the death is reported to the Coroner’s Office. If further testing and investigation is required, it could take a few months