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The law. According to the law, the cause and manner of death must be determined for every death. In most non-violent cases, we use medical information from the decedent’s medical record and family history to establish the most likely cause of death. If medical evidence cannot be established from these sources, then an autopsy is required.
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In most cases the Coroner’s report is available within three business days. However in conjunction with any law enforcement agencies ongoing criminal investigation a Coroner’s report may be withheld to prevent any disclosure of privileged information that could harm the efforts of the investigation. Simple autopsy reports such as heart attacks or strokes, where the cause of death is obvious are normally ready within thirty days.
An autopsy report may take as long as 26 weeks, depending on the level and type of test being done.
To obtain autopsy reports from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), please direct your Open Records Act requests (under O.C.G.A. 50-18-70) to the Open Records Unit:
To assist you in obtaining the information that you need, please provide the following information in your request:
All records requests are subject to the Georgia Open Records Act and may result in the requestor being billed for the requested information before the records are released. If you have questions, contact the GBI Open Records Unit at 404-270-8527.
The funeral home selected by the family will generate a death certificate and send it to the Coroner’s Office for signature; we sign the certificate and return it to the funeral home which in turn files it with the Georgia Department of Health, Vital Records section.
Once the closest next of kinship has been established or a court order is issued naming an individual as the administrator of the estate, all property is released to that person or persons.
Federal Law states that it is a violation to be in possession of drugs not issued to you by prescription. Therefore, when a person dies, all drugs issued to the deceased person are removed and destroyed.
No. It is the family’s responsibility to assume custody of the decedent and bury the body. Even if there is no insurance on the decedent, it is not the responsibility of the Coroner’s Office to bury the family member.
If the death has occurred within the last couple of hours and the body can be or has been removed to a refrigerated (morgue) room and no next of kin is located the body may be turned over to science for research or teaching purposes. Some unclaimed bodies are cremated.