Coroner, Police Tape Image


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 other statutes.

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:

  • 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.
  • 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:

    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. Suspicious circumstances. Unknown or obscure causes. Deaths caused by any violence whatsoever, whether the primary cause or any contributory factor in the death. Contagious disease. Unclaimed bodies.