Coroner

Keri Metzler

 

The San Juan County Coroner's Office is a separate and independent office of County government. The office is mandated by Colorado Revised Statutes. The duties of the County Coroner's Office include scene investigation surrounding the circumstances of a death, to include the identification of the deceased, performing autopsies when needed, certification of the death, notifying the next of kin, documentation of investigation and autopsy and safekeeping and disposition of evidence and personal property of the deceased. 

 

Statutory Responsibilities

The Coroner's Office is mandated to establish the cause and manner of a death. The cause of death is the injury or disease, or both, that is responsible for the physiological disturbances which produced the fatal termination. The manner refers to the circumstance in which the death occurred, citing as natural, suicide, homicide, accident and - in some cases when the manner is not defined - undetermined. It is often a misconception that the responsibility to determine manner and cause of death lies with law enforcement; however, this is the responsibility of the coroner.

 

Associated Responsibilities

Discovery of remains - Remains that are complete or partial are sometimes found, thus the coroner must follow certain statutory obligations notifying other state agencies. Make positive identification of the deceased - The coroner works to identify the deceased and then notify the next of kin. Pronounce the death and establish time of death - Only a physician or the coroner may pronounce a death. Scene investigation - Colorado law is specific that the body of a deceased person may not be moved until the coroner has responded to the death and conducted the investigation. Take custody of the body - Colorado law states it is the responsibility of the coroner to see that the body is removed from the scene. The San Juan County Coroner's Office investigates all deaths that occur in the County. These include: All cases where trauma may be associated with the death Deaths due to contagious diseases Deaths due to or suspected abortion Deaths due to chemical or bacterial poisoning as well as industrial, hazardous, or radiation exposure Deaths in hospital or nursing care facilities within 24 hours of admission Deaths where no physician is in attendance Deaths where the physician is unable or unwilling to certify the death Deaths while in the custody of law enforcement or other public institution Known or suspected suicides Other unexplained deaths

 

County Courthouse

1557 Greene St

PO Box 466

Silverton, CO 81433

970.903.7952

 

As we are a small county, our Coroner does not hold office hours or have a physical office.

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