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The Coroner is responsible for identification of the deceased, determination of the cause of death and manner of death. In the process of doing his/her job, the Coroner is considered an officer of the court with the power to investigate the death, subpoena information/persons and order an autopsy . The Coroner is also responsible for the personal property of the deceased.
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No. The Tippecanoe County Coroner's Office has jurisdiction over all deaths that occur in Tippecanoe County that are suspicious, unusual or unnatural. Most of the time, these include homicides, suicides, accidents, child deaths, active duty servicemember deaths, deaths of persons who are incarcerated/in custody, unwitnessed deaths, occupational deaths, deaths where a cause and manner cannot reasonably be obtained, and deaths that are a known or suspected threat to the public at-large. The Coroner may also be involved in natural deaths that were unattended by a physician. The jurisdiction for all Coroners in Indiana comes from Indiana Code 36-2-14.
No. Death certificates are the responsibility of the Vital Records Division of the Tippecanoe County Health Department. The Coroner will sign the death certificate for accepted Coroner cases and then turn the death certificate over to the Tippecanoe County Health Department for completion. To obtain a death certificate, please visit the Tippecanoe County Health Department - Vital Records Division.
As an elected official to a constitutional office, the legal requirements are that the individual be a resident of the county for a least one year. The Coroner serves the role of an administrator of death investigations. The State of Indiana has a Coroner system, not a medical examiner system. However, the Coroner and his/her deputies are required to attend a basic 40-hour medicolegal death investigation course.
Yes. The Indiana State Coroner's Association provides the mandatory training course. This course includes at least 40 hours of classroom instruction regarding death investigation, crime scenes and preservation of evidence. Sixteen hours of continuing education are required annually. Coroners have six months to complete the training once elected. Deputy Coroners have twelve months to complete training once appointed. Indiana was a pilot state for Coroners and Deputy Coroners to be certified.
The Coroner is obligated to release certain information regarding each accepted Coroner's case, including the cause and manner of death. Demographic information is considered public, such as name, age, race and address of deceased. Limited information regarding an autopsy will be released, such as date, and the board certified pathologist (medical physician) who performed it, where performed. The Coroner can only release records produced in the process of the investigation. Records of other agencies, such as police records or medical records gathered in the investigation are not released by the Coroner.
In the age of television, sometimes it is thought that investigations can take 60 minutes or less. However, it generally takes 6-8 weeks of thorough investigation to establish a cause and manner of death. Part of these investigations include interviewing witnesses, reviewing medical records, consulting with our law enforcement partners, performing autopsies and other related tests, and searching for all of the facts so we can provide family members with the closure they desire.