at the Yolo County Sheriff’s
Department Coroner Section extend
our deepest sympathy to you during
this difficult time. We hope that
the information contained in this
pamphlet will assist you by providing
answers to commonly asked questions.
Q. WHY IS THE CORONER
The Coroner is required by state
law (G.C. 27491) to investigate
any sudden, violent, or unusual
deaths, or other deaths that fall
within the jurisdiction of the
Coroner. It is the responsibility
of the Coroner’s Office to
establish positive identity of
the deceased, determine the date,
time, circumstances, and the cause
and manner of death. The Coroner’s
investigation is not only 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
may also occur.
WHAT SHOULD I DO RIGHT NOW?
Select a funeral home and inform
the funeral director that the death
is being handled by the Coroner’s
office. Ask them to notify us as
soon as possible. Our office does
not select funeral homes nor do
we make arrangements. In the event
someone is making arrangements
for the family, the Coroner must
be provided with written authorization
to release the deceased, signed
by the legal next of kin.
WHERE WILL MY RELATIVE/FRIEND
He/She will be transported to
the Coroner’s main facility
located at 2500 East Gibson Road,
Woodland, CA 95776 (530) 668-5292.
IS IT NECESSARY FOR ME TO COME
TO THE CORONER’S OFFICE
TO IDENTIFY THE BODY?
No. In a majority of the cases,
visual identification is not required.
Should it become necessary for
you to come in or bring other records
or x-rays, you will be contacted.
IS VIEWING ALLOWED?
No. The Coroner’s office
has a no viewing policy. Arrangements
can be made at the funeral home for viewing.
Q. WILL AN AUTOPSY BE PERFORMED?
The Coroner will decide if an autopsy
is necessary, however approximately
75% of deaths we investigate do
not require one. We may not perform
an autopsy if the cause of death can be determined from other criteria, and
is of “natural causes.” If the deceased has been under the care
of a physician accessing the medical history, and no suspicion of foul play
exists, an autopsy may be waived.
WILL AN AUTOPSY PREVENT VIEWING
AT A FUNERAL?
No. Although incisions are made,
they are placed so that they will
not be seen and are very carefully closed after the procedure just as
in surgical procedures. At all times, the decedent is treated with the utmost
Q. HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE BEFORE MY RELATIVE/FRIEND
IS RELEASED FROM YOUR OFFICE?
Generally it should not take more
than two to three days. Your
Funeral Director will coordinate the release on your behalf.
Q. WILL I BE CHARGED FOR OTHER CORONER SERVICES?
The County is required to assess
certain fees for transportation
and storage. You will be asked
to pay this fee by your funeral
Q. WHERE CAN I OBTAIN
A DEATH CERTIFICATE?
A death certificate is issued after
the examination is completed.
In the event that more extensive testing is required, an interim
death certificate is issued which will allow the family to make funeral arrangements.
Contact your funeral home or the Yolo County Health Department (530) 666-8680.
HOW DO I OBTAIN AN AUTOPSY, INVESTIGATION,
AND TOXICOLOGY REPORT?
You need to officially request
a copy from the Coroner’s
Office. The first set of reports
is free to the next-of-kin. Contact
the Coroner’s Office at (530)
668-5292, available twenty-four
hours a day for details.
WHAT ABOUT TISSUE/ORGAN DONATION?
In conjunction with Sierra Regional
Eye and Tissue Bank and other agencies,
we will make an effort to provide
information to you about tissue
donation. If you are interested
in donation, call Sierra Regional
Eye and Tissue Bank at (916) 456-0276.
MY RELATIVE/FRIEND WAS IN THE
MILITARY, WHO CAN I CONTACT FOR
Persons who have served in the
Armed Forces, were honorably discharged,
and meet other service requirements
may be entitled to a Veteran’s
burial. For information contact the Veteran’s Service Office and your
IF THERE ARE NO FUNDS FOR BURIAL,
WHAT CAN I DO?
If the deceased or the legal next
of kin do not have sufficient funds
for burial, the alternative may be indigent cremation. The next of kin
should contact the Yolo County Public Administrator at (530)
HOW CAN PERSONAL POSSESSIONS
Any personal possessions in the
custody of the Coroner may be claimed
by the legal next of kin. To avoid
any inconvenience, call the Coroner’s
Office for an appointment. Sometimes personal possessions are taken into custody
by other law enforcement agencies.
You will need to contact those
agencies to recover personal possessions
in their custody. Unless
there is a need to hold clothing as evidence, it will be disposed of for the
safety of all persons involved. Governmental documents (driver’s licenses,
passports, military identification cards) will not be released to the next
of kin, but will be returned to the issuing agency for disposition.
I NEED TO ENTER MY RELATIVE/FRIEND'S RESIDENCE, BUT IT IS
SEALED. WHAT CAN I DO?
It is a misdemeanor to remove and/or
tamper with the Coroner Seal or
enter without written authorization
from the Coroner’s Office.