Frequently asked questions for the Saguache County Coroner's Office

When and why does the Coroner get involved with a death?

State law requires the Coroner to be notified. He then inquires into and determines the circumstances, manner and cause of all sudden, violent or unusual deaths and those deaths where a doctor is not in attendance, or is present but unable or unwilling to sign the death certificate. The deceased will be examined by the Coroner to establish the cause of death. Occasionally, more extensive testing and investigation is required in which case a pending death certificate is signed which will allow final disposition to take place.

Where will my loved one's body be taken?

If an autopsy is going to be performed, they will be taken to the El Paso County Coroner’s Office. If an autopsy is not needed they will be picked up by the funeral home of the family’s choice.

When and why is an autopsy performed?

When there is an additional need to establish the cause and manner of death the Coroner has a Forensic Pathologist perform an autopsy. Each case is evaluated on an individual basis.

Colorado Law provides that the Coroner does not need permission for an autopsy.

Autopsies and laboratory testing performed by order of the Coroner are paid from the Coroner’s budget.

Is viewing of the deceased's body allowed?

No. The Coroner’s facility is not designed to provide viewing. Arrangements for viewing can be made at the funeral home of your choice.

What should I do now?

As soon as possible you need to select a funeral home of your choice and make arrangements to meet with them. Inform the funeral director that the death is being handled by the Saguache County Coroner’s Office and ask them to notify us.

How do I obtain a copy of the autopsy report?

If an autopsy was performed and you would like a copy, please complete the Autopsy Request Form (PDF Download) and mail, e-mail or fax it to the Coroner’s Office

P.O. Box 353 Center, CO 81125-0353 • E-MAIL: tperrin@saguachecounty-co.gov • FAX: 719-754-1989

How do I obtain a copy of the death certificate?

Death Certificates are filed, by the funeral homes, with the Rio Grande County Clerk and Recorder. You may obtain copies from either the funeral home or the Rio Grande County Clerk and Recorder’s Office: 719-657-3334 or Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.

How do I obtain the deceased's personal possessions?

Please call the Coroner’s Office during office hours 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday at 719-850-2219.