What do I do now?
Contact your funeral home of choice as soon as possible. When you speak with the funeral director, advise them that the deceased has been taken to the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office. The funeral director will contact our office to arrange to have your loved one picked up.
Is it necessary for me to come to the Coroner’s Office?
No. In most cases the identification has already been made. If identification is required, you will be contacted. In addition, viewing of the body is not allowed at the Coroner’s Office. The Coroner’s Office is not designed to handle bereaved relatives. Arrangements should be made with the funeral home for viewing.
Where will my loved one be taken?
The body will be taken to the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office, located at:
65278 Highway 434
Lacombe, LA 70445
What happens to the decedent’s personal effects and clothing?
Personal property and clothing are sometimes collected as part of an investigation. Personal property is logged and secured in a safe. It will be made available for release to the legal next of kin during normal business hours. Clothing will be released with the body to the funeral home. Any item deemed as evidence will be turned over to the investigating law enforcement agency.
What does it mean when a case is pending?
A case is classified pending when additional tests are required to determine the cause and manner of death. In some cases laboratory tests (like toxicology) have to be sent to outside agencies and these tests may take several weeks to complete.
When will the body be released?
In most cases the body will be released immediately upon completion of the autopsy. Occasionally the body may be held longer in cases where additional investigation is required.
Who signs the death certificate?
In most cases the decedent’s attending physician will signed the death certificate. In those cases where there is no attending physician or in those cases under Coroner’s Office jurisdiction, a Coroner’s Office physician will sign the death certificate.
When will the death certificate be completed?
Death certificates will be completed as soon as the physician has enough medical and investigational evidence to complete it. In most cases, the death certificate may be completed as soon as we get it from the funeral home. In some cases however, additional information may be required which may take 4-8 weeks and very rarely, longer.
How do I obtain a copy of the death certificate?
Death certificates are not issued by the Coroner’s Office. They must be requested from the funeral home attending the deceased. In some cases, they may be obtained from the Louisiana Office of Vital Records, (504) 593-5100. http://new.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/subhome/21
When is an autopsy necessary?
An autopsy may not be required when the death is known to be a result of natural causes, there is adequate medical history and there are no signs of foul play. If however, there is no known medical history or if there is suspicion of injury, foul play or if the circumstances of the death are unusual, an autopsy is required to determine the cause and manner of death.
Will I still be able to have an open casket if an autopsy is performed?
In most cases, an autopsy will not prevent an open casket. However, your funeral director is best able to answer this question once he/she has received the body.
How do I obtain a copy of the autopsy report?
To request a copy of an autopsy report, please contact the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office at (985)781-1150.
What happens if no one claims the body?
All unclaimed or abandoned bodies will be considered paupers and will be cremated and/or interred at the discretion of the St. Tammany Parish Coroner and then properly disposed of as permitted by law.
As permitted by law in accordance with the policy of STPCO, please be aware in the event of pauper cremation we cannot return the ashes to the family.