Deaths Reported to the Coroner

Section 102850, Health and Safety Code, gives the following definitions of circumstances of death that should be reported to the Coroner:
  1. Without medical attendance
  2. During the continued absence of the attending physician
  3. Where the attending physician is unable to state the cause of death
  4. Where suicide is suspected
  5. Following an injury or an accident, either old or recent
  6. Under such circumstances as to afford a reasonable ground to suspect that the death was caused by the criminal act of another.

Autopsy Results

When a death appears to be from natural causes, the cause of death may be available after 2 p.m. the day following the death. However, when the death is the result of a homicide, suicide, accident, and in many natural deaths, the cause of death may not be available for 16 to 20 weeks due to delays in forensic testing and the receipt of medical records. This does not delay release of the body. The body may be released to a funeral home as soon as the autopsy is completed.

Copies of Coroner Reports

One copy of the Coroner Report is available to the next-of-kin free of charge. Additional copies of the Coroner Report or other related reports are subject to collection of an established fee. To order a report copy, please telephone the Nevada County Record's Division at 530-265-1471) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Copies are mailed out as soon as possible after completion of the report. The average length of time for processing the results and report is 8 to 10 weeks after the date of death.

To request a copy of the coroner's report please fill out an Application for Release of Information Form (PDF), and return to the Nevada County Sheriff-Coroner's Office by fax, email, or U.S. Mail with a copy of your photo identification. The final report will be mailed to you upon completion and receipt of any fees due.

Personal Property

A deceased person's property may be claimed by contacting the Coroner's Division to make the necessary arrangements with the Sheriff's Property Unit. The Sheriff's Property Unit releases personal property Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. In accordance with federal and state bloodborne pathogen standards, clothing, and/or other items contaminated with blood or body fluids are disposed of unless the item has obvious significant value. The bloodborne pathogen laws and standards were established to protect the general public as well as our employees. The next-of-kin must sign in person for all remaining property or must authorize another person in writing to receive the property. Contact the Sheriff's Property Unit for special requirements regarding the release of firearms. The next of kin is established by Section 6402 of the Probate Code. After 90 days all unclaimed property will be disposed of per department policy.
The general order of priority for release of property is:
  1. Spouse or Registered domestic partner
  2. Adult Child
  3. Parent
  4. Sibling
  5. Other relatives meeting the test of the Code
  6. Public Administrator
The Sheriff's Property Unit can be reached at 530-265-1350. Please contact the Chief Deputy Coroner prior to requesting release of coroner's property.

Death Certificates

Death Certificates may be ordered through the funeral home. There is a cost for certified copies of the death certificate. The Vital Statistics section of the Nevada County Department of Health and Human Services provides the death certificate. Vital Statistics' telephone number is 530-265-7264.

Viewing of the Deceased

Viewing is done at the funeral home. It is not permitted at the Coroner's Office.

Transplants - Organ & Tissue Donation

The Coroner's Office works closely with the area transplant services. The decedent's next-of-kin may be contacted by a transplant service regarding possible donations.

Where is the Body Being Taken?

The deceased is being removed to the Coroner's Office. The Nevada County Sheriff-Coroner's Office contracts with three local mortuaries for the removal and storage of remains prior to and after pathology services.
  • Western Nevada County:
    Chapel of the Angels Mortuary
    250 Race Street
    Grass Valley, CA 95945
    Phone: 530-273-2446
  • Eastern Nevada County:
    Truckee-Tahoe Mortuary
    10126 Church Street
    Truckee, CA 96161
    Phone: 530-587-4342
    (On call year-round)

Tissue/Organ/Body Fluid Retention Notification

If it is determined that an autopsy, external examination or toxicology analysis is required to determine or confirm the cause and manner of death pursuant to California Government Code Section 27491, tissue(s)/organ(s)/body fluid(s) may be retained for analysis and/or evidentiary purposes pursuant to California Government Code Section 27491.4. Tissues/organs/body fluids retained at autopsy or as part of any coroner investigative procedure will be disposed of pursuant to California Health and Safety Code Section 7054.4.

What Do I Do Now?

Contact a mortuary service of your choice to discuss funeral arrangements and sign a release establishing your legal right to the remains. Legal authority to handle disposition of remains is established by Section 7100 of the Health and Safety Code. The general order of priority for authority for release of the body is:
  1. Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
  2. Spouse or Registered domestic partner
  3. Adult Child (Multiple children - majority signatures needed)
  4. Parent (both signatures needed)
  5. Sibling (Multiple siblings - majority signatures needed)
  6. Other relatives meeting the test of the Code
  7. Public Administrator.
  8. You may also wish to contact an attorney of your choice to discuss issues associated with various legal obligations including wills, letters of administration, and probate.

Low Income Cremation

Families may find themselves financially unable to cover costs related to final disposition. Nevada County offers low-income cremation services on a case-by-case basis. You may set up an interview to determine eligibility by calling the Nevada County Public Administrator, Rolf Kleinhans at 530-265-1471.

The Coroner's Office assures you that the deceased will be treated with respect and dignity. The essence of the Coroner's inquiry is to search for the truth. The impartial medicolegal investigation helps to support and protect the public.