Show All Answers
The Coroner's Office is required to investigate all sudden, violent, traumatic or unexpected deaths. This includes deaths from apparent “natural diseases”, but the individual had no recent physician or has no knowledge of an existing medical condition that could credibly have caused the sudden death. Under these circumstances, it becomes the Coroner’s responsibility to determine how and why an individual died. The Coroner is also responsible for determining the individual’s identity and notifying the next of kin. A Coroner’s investigation will always include examination of the deceased, but may or may not include:
The Chester County Coroner's jurisdiction encompasses the entire County of Chester, Pennsylvania. Deaths must be pronounced in the County to fall under the Coroner's jurisdiction.
When a person dies suddenly or unexpectedly, your first duty is to call 9-1-1 for medical assistance and guidance. All civilians or non-emergency services agencies shall use the following number: 610-436-4700 to request a response/service from the Coroner's Office. This recorded line will be answered in the Chester County Communication Center. Emergency Services agencies shall access the Coroner's Office through normal contact with the dispatcher.
The Coroner's Office will send the death certificate to the funeral home. You can request a copy of the death certificate through your funeral home or you can call Vital Records with the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 724-656-3100 or 800-842-5040.
All cremations must be authorized by the Coroner's Office (See cremation permits for more information).
There are a number of reasons why autopsies are performed, but the basic reason is to determine how and why an individual died suddenly and/or unexpectedly. This determination may be of great service to the family, a Court of Law, or Public Health and Safety organizations.
The next of kin, attorney, or life insurance company must officially request a copy of the autopsy or toxicology report from the Coroner’s Office by completing and mailing in the Coroner Report Request Form along with a check payable to the “Chester County Coroner”.
Arrangements for viewing at the morgue cannot be granted. The Coroner's Office will work as quickly as possible to have your loved one taken into the care of the funeral home.
The funeral director will coordinate the release on your behalf. Generally it only takes 1-2 days.
If a cause of death is determined after the medical review and forensic examination during the autopsy, the cause of death is typically available to the next of kin the same day as the autopsy.
You may initially be informed that the cause and manner of death are "pending". The initial Death Certificate will note "pending" as cause of death; you may make funeral arrangements with this document. Pending simply means that the cause and manner are still under investigation. The most common reason for pending is toxicological testing. Usually toxicology results can take 4 to 6 weeks for completion. The next of kin will be notified of all completed pending cases. For this reason, if you move or change your phone number, please advise our office immediately.
Most items are released to the funeral home with the deceased. Other items to be released can be retrieved from the Coroner's Office Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. Please make contact with the Coroner's Office at 610-344-6165 for more information.
The legal next of kin is the closest living relative in the following order: spouse (unless divorced), adult child, parent, adult brother or sister, adult grandchild.