WHAT ARE THE LEGAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE CORONER
NRS 259.050 Duties of the Coroner to Investigate Cause of Death. When a coroner or the coroner’s deputy is informed that a person has been killed, has committed suicide or has suddenly died under such circumstances as to afford reasonable ground to suspect that the death has been occasioned by unnatural means, the coroner shall make an appropriate investigation. In all cases where it is apparent or can be reasonably inferred that the death may have been caused by a criminal act, the coroner or the coroner’s deputy shall notify the district attorney of the county where the inquiry is made, and the district attorney shall make an investigation with the assistance of the coroner.
The Coroner may use many different methods when determining the cause and manner of death. This includes medical records from physicians, hospitals, and other health care facilities. Federal Code concerning protected health information specifically indicates that protected health care information can be disseminated to Coroners for the purpose of aiding an investigation into the cause and manner of death and to assist in the identification of a deceased. Although these records are placed in the case file, they are not subject to public view.
The Elko County Coroner’s Office utilizes the services of the Washoe County Medical Examiner’s office < https://www.washoecounty.us/coroner/ > to perform autopsies. The Coroner may authorize an autopsy without consent of the next of kin. Autopsies ordered by the coroner are completed at the expense of the coroner’s office. The forensic autopsy includes a detailed external examination, surgical examination, X-Rays, and collection of tissue and bodily fluids. Tissues are prepared and examined microscopically by our forensic pathologist. Bodily fluids are submitted to one or more laboratories locally and throughout the United States for analysis for the detection and quantitation of alcohol, prescription or illicit drugs, or poisons. Cultures may also be prepared for determining viral or bacterial diseases. The results are reviewed by the forensic pathologist to aid in determining the cause of death.
Death certificates are prepared by the funeral home. Once the investigation is complete, the Coroner will record and certify the death certificate to reflect the cause and manner of death. This information will then be transmitted to the State of Nevada, Department of Vital Statistics. The Coroner does not issue death certificates to the general public. Death certificates are available from the funeral home or the State of Nevada, Department of Vital Statistics.
The Elko County Coroner’s Office may collect personal property that is determined to be of evidentiary value or for safe keeping. Real property, such as residential dwellings, buildings, or automobiles are sealed or secured until the legal next of kin is identified. In most cases, property determined not be of value to the investigation, will be turned over to the legal next of kin. Prescription medications or contraband will be disposed of, destroyed or turned over to law enforcement officials. In the event the legal next of kin cannot be located, the Coroner will work with the Elko County Public Administrator for disposition of the property.
COPIES OF REPORTS
Reports generated by the Elko County Coroner’s Office are not subject to public view. These reports are available to the legal next of kin but only at the conclusion of the investigation (including district attorney’s review) and upon written request, and appropriate fees being forwarded. The reports do not included protected health information and reports or documents obtained from other agencies.
IDENTIFICATION & VIEWING
Contrary to popular belief, visual identification by family or friends is not always necessary. Many methods are used to identify remains by the Coroner’s Office. In most cases, photographic identification is all that is required. Occasionally, other methods, such as fingerprints, DNA comparison, tattoos, X-rays, forensic odontology, etc. maybe utilized for positive identification. We understand that family may want to view their loved one as soon as possible and we will work with funeral homes to insure this can be accomplished as quickly as reasonably possible.
ORGAN & TISSUE DONATION
The Elko County Coroner’s Office supports the efforts by the various organ and tissue donation organizations. We will make every effort to accommodate the wishes of families to donate. The Coroner will evaluate the circumstances surrounding the death and determine if donation can proceed. The Coroner may consult with the Prosecuting Attorney of Elko County, if needed. Currently the Nevada Donor Network is the organ procurement agency that facilities donations that occur outside of the hospital. < http://www.nvdonor.org/index.html
Duties of the Coroner….To Investigate Certain Types of Deaths:
ELKO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE CORONER
Elko County Sheriff's Office © 2013 All Rights Reserved
The Elko County Sheriff's Office Coroner Division is currently supervised by Chief Deputy Coroner, Sergeant Nicholas Czegledi, F-ABMDI. For questions regarding Coroner Reports and Investigations, please call 775.777.2505 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org