The office and function of the Coroner are established by Revised Code
of Washington, chapter 68.50 (formerly chapter 68.08). The Franklin
County Coroner is authorized to assume jurisdiction over human remains,
order autopsies and other functions authorized by RCW 68.50.010, and
The Franklin County Coroner is responsible for investigating sudden,
unnatural, unexpected or suspicious deaths, to determine the reason a
death has occurred. The coroner may summon a coroner's jury of six
citizens to hear evidence and render a verdict as to the cause of a
death. The coroner has the power to summon witnesses to aid the jury in
determining a verdict.
Accurate investigation and determination of cause and manner of death
are essential to our society for the following reasons:
To this end the Coroner's Office assumes jurisdiction over human remains
and, after a thorough investigation determines the cause and manner of
death. Jurisdiction is vested in the Coroner over all bodies who came to
their death as described in Washington State Law. It should be noted,
however, that reporting a death to the Coroner is not synonymous with
the Coroner assuming jurisdiction or responding to a scene of death.
Reporting assures that only deaths appropriate to the jurisdiction of
the Coroner will be assessed for investigation by the Coroner. Reporting
also assures that personnel familiar with criteria for jurisdiction will
review the case information before reporting the death. Deaths which
come under the jurisdiction of the Coroner's Office include but are not
limited to the following circumstances:
The innocent shall be exonerated.
Murder shall be recognized.
Criminal and civil court proceedings will be provided with documentation.
Sound, and impartial medical evidence.
Unrecognized hazards to public health shall be revealed.
Industrial hazards shall be exposed.
Persons who die suddenly when in apparent good health and without
medical attendance within thirty-six hours preceding death.
Circumstances which indicate death was caused in part or entirely by
unnatural or unlawful means.
Unknown or obscure causes.
Deaths caused by any violence whatsoever, whether the primary cause or
any contributory factor in the death.