Death Investigations
Death Certificates
How are investigations Conducted?

Our office is typically notified by Law Enforcement or Medical Personnel of a death that is reportable under the law.  Our staff is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week to respond.

If the death occurs in a hospital other medical facility, our investigators will obtain necessary information to determine if a response to the location is necessary. It may not be necessary for us to respond and we may obtain information and medical records to complete the cause and manner of death.

If the investigator determines a response is needed, then a medicolegal death investigator will respond and conduct an investigator. This may involve speaking with the family, staff, reviewing medical records, examination of the deceased, and photographs. In some cases we may refer the case for an autopsy to assist us in determining the cause and manner of death. If we do not find any medicolegal reason to act otherwise, we will release the body to the funeral home of the families choice.

If the death occurs outside of a medical facility, we will respond and conduct an invesitgation in conjunction with law enforcement. This typically involves speaking with family and wittnesses that are present, examining the scene, an exam of the decedent, obtain photographs and collect of any evidence needed for the investigation. We typically retrieve medications for  investigation, inventory, and disposal of the medications.  There may be instances where we will need to contact a forensic pathologist to conduct an autopsy if the situation warrants, we may also collect samples for toxicology testing. If we determine that there no cause for an autopsy and no foul play or suspicious circumstances are suspected then we will release to the funeral home of families choice, if we determine there is cause for an autopsy, then typically the decedent will be release following the completion which is typically the following day.

Cremation Authorization

​According to LA R.S. 13:5716, If the cremation of a body is requested, the funeral director shall immediately notify the coroner who has jurisdiction in the death.  If, after the necessary investigation, the coroner is satisfied that there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding the death, he shall issue a permit for cremation.  If the investigation reveals suspicious circumstances or the reasonable probability of the commission of a crime, the coroner shall deny the permit

The Coroner’s Office holds investigations concerning the manner and cause of any deaths that are sudden, unexpected or resulted from violence or accident, or under suspicious and unusual circumstances, and other deaths pursuant to LA. RS 33:1563.

The following is a list of all cases that are mandated to be reported to the Coroner’s office pursuant to LA RS 33:1563.
1. Suspicious, unexpected, or unusual deaths.
2. Sudden or violent deaths.
3. Deaths due to unknown or obscure causes or in any unusual manner.
4. Bodies found dead.
5. Deaths without an attending physician within thirty-six hours prior to the hour of death.
6. Deaths due to suspected suicide or homicide.
7. Deaths in which poison is suspected.
8. Any death from natural causes occurring in a hospital under twenty-four hours admission unless seen by a physician in the last thirty-six hours.
9. Deaths following an injury or accident either old or recent.
10. Deaths due to drowning, hanging, burns, electrocution, gunshot wounds, stabs or cutting, lightning, starvation, radiation, exposure, alcoholism, addiction, tetanus, strangulation, suffocation, or smothering.
11. Deaths due to trauma from whatever cause.
12. Deaths due to criminal means or by casualty.
13. Deaths in prison or while serving a sentence.
14. Deaths due to virulent contagious disease that might be caused by or cause a public hazard, including acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
15. All deaths of infants under the age of one year.

Manner of Death

The method and/or manner in which the Coroner classifies each death for the completion of the death certificate.
NATURAL: Death that is the result of natural causes, such as disease processes, or basic health related issues.
ACCIDENT: Death that is unintentional that may have resulted from significant injury, ingestion of substance, or other abnormality.
SUICIDE: Death that is the result of intentional taking of one’s own life. Suicide may occur for a number of reasons, including depression, shame, guilt, desperation, physical pain, emotional pressure, anxiety, financial difficulties, or other undesirable situations.
HOMICIDE: Death that is the result of any human being killing another human being.
UNDETERMINED: Death that after a complete investigation the cause and manner of death is not clearly determined.
NOT A CORONERS CASE: Death that may or may not be reported to the Coroner and is not required to be investigated by the Coroner’s Office as per LA Revised Statues.
OUT OF PARISH: Death that is under the jurisdiction of another parish and or county.
PENDING: Deaths that require further investigations.

“Through our actions we represent those who can no longer represent themselves.”