The Role of the Coroner
The coroner is responsible to determine the cause and manner of death of any person who dies in Blaine County as a result of any external cause, or without an attending physician who can certify the cause of death.
Under Idaho Code Title 19, Chapter 43, Section 19-4301, the Coroner is to be notified upon the discovery of the death of any person who dies under these circumstances. He is to investigate the death with the cooperation of the law enforcement agency in whose jurisdiction the death occurred.
Proper identification is an essential part of the Coroner’s duties. This can be done visually by family or personal acquaintances, photo identification, or confirmed by fingerprints, dental records, tattoos, jewelry and X-rays.
The investigation often includes interviews with witnesses, family members and associates. In the course of this investigation, the Coroner may order an autopsy, conducted by a forensic pathologist. He does not need permission of family members to authorize this procedure. Additionally, laboratory tests to discover the presence of drugs, chemicals, poisons, or evidence of disease are frequently required. Reports from First Responders, Law Enforcement, and Medical Records are obtained.
When all the evidence is gathered, the Coroner condenses it into a report, and makes it available to family and law enforcement. If it appears that a crime has been committed, the information is turned over to the Prosecuting Attorney for consideration.
The Coroner also has the authority to impanel a jury to conduct a Coroner’s Inquest to assist in his investigation.
Certificate of Death
Once the investigation is complete, the Coroner certifies the cause and manner of death by completing an official Idaho Death Certificate that is filed with the Idaho Department of Vital Statistics. Certified copies of this document are available through the funeral director providing services to the family or directly from Vital Statistics.
In Blaine County, the Coroner’s office is located in the Wood River Chapel’s mortuary. This provides the county with a:
- Garage facilities