The Coroner’s office directs and implements the investigation of deaths in order to determine if a case is a natural, homicide, accidental, suicide or unexplained death.
The Coroner’s office investigates all suspicious and violent deaths as well as any deaths occurring at a hospital, nursing home or under Hospice care at a personal residence and any death occurring less than 24 hours after a patient is admitted to a hospital and all hospital emergency room deaths.
The Coroner’s office works with physicians, pathologists, medical and law enforcement personnel as necessary to determine causes of death. This includes independent judgment and discretion in making decisions regarding deaths including, but not limited to, determining when autopsies are performed, what toxicology to perform and utilize appropriate tools for the excavation and exhumation of death victims, as necessary.
The Coroner is responsible for seeing that all evidence is preserved and the personal belongings of the deceased are safeguarded and returned to the families.
The Coroner (or his designee) notifies relatives and loved ones of the death. The Coroner controls the releasing of names of the decedents to the media in order to protect the rights of the next-of-kin.
The Coroner’s office is tasked with completing various administrative tasks including death certificates, case reports, cremation certificates, burial and removal permits, witness’ statements and inquiries from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC).