How long will it be before a death certificate is available?
A death certificate may be available within 48 hours if the deceased has been under a doctor's care. In the event of a complex death investigation requiring a Coroner's Inquest, the process may be delayed several weeks, but a temporary certificate will be issued to allow the funeral to be carried out. We strive to process cases as expeditiously as possible, but a competent death investigation requires time with attention to detail.
Where do I obtain certified copies of the death certificate and other coroner's reports?
The Coroner's Office DOES NOT maintain the death certificates. This task is performed by the County Clerk designated for the area of the county where the death occurred. The Ogle County Clerk in Oregon is ultimately responsible for maintaining death certificates for anyone who dies in Ogle County.
Your best course of action is to obtain the certificates through the funeral home that was responsible for arrangements.
When will personal effects be returned?
Most often they will be transferred to the authorized next-of-kin immediately. Otherwise, you should receive them after the body is released from the Coroner's Office to the funeral home. If the items become evidence in a criminal case, the State's Attorney's Office will decide when the items may be released to the next-of-kin.
Why was the deceased's medication collected by the investigator?
This is a routine and standard practice. The medication provides a "quick reference" to the types of diseases the deceased suffered. Additionally, if further blood tests are performed, the laboratory may need the actual medications to help interpret the results. As federal law prohibits possession of medications by anyone other than the person to whom it was prescribed, the medications will not be returned. They will be destroyed at the conclusion of the investigation.
May I request an autopsy?
If you have concerns that you feel can only be addressed by autopsy, please tell us as soon as possible. The information may cause us to authorize the procedure. Sometimes, family members desire an autopsy to reveal the presence of any hereditary related diseases or for their own personal knowledge. If this is the case, but the death falls outside our criteria for autopsy examination, we will assist you in securing the services of a pathologist for a private autopsy. In this case, you would be responsible for the costs of the procedure.
Can I refuse to allow an autopsy?
We realize that this is a very personal and sensitive matter and some people object to an autopsy. Illinois law REQUIRES the Coroner to perform autopsy examination in certain cases such as child deaths. In other cases, autopsies are necessary for us to perform a competent investigation and Illinois law recognizes that the Coroner must have the authority to order an autopsy despite family objections. If you object to an autopsy for personal or religious reasons, we will discuss the issue and attempt to resolve the matter in a way that will provide you with peace of mind but still allow a thorough inquiry. Regrettably though, there are cases that we feel mandate an autopsy regardless of your wishes.