General Questions

Where are you located?
The Butler County Coroner's Office is located at:
315 High Street, 6th Floor
Hamilton, OH  45011
Why is a body brought to the Coroner's office?

The remains of deceased persons are brought to the Coroner's Office because Ohio Law requires that the Coroner investigate deaths of persons caused by criminal violence, accident, or suicide, dying suddenly, when unattended by a physician for a reasonable period of time, in detention, when under 2 years of age, or in any suspicious or unusual manner. Another reason that a body may be brought to the Coroner's Office is that the identity of the deceased or next-of-kin is unknown.

Who will transport the deceased ?
Transportation will be provided by the Office of the Coroner to the respective county morgue for all bodies, which the Coroner has a legal obligation to examine. After the examination has been competed, the decedent's family will be responsible for contacting the funeral director of their choice to make arrangements for the funeral disposition of the decedent's body.
How and when will the body be released?
Routinely, the body is released to a licensed funeral director within 48 hours. The next-of-kin should notify a funeral director who, in turn, will arrange to secure a written release from the next-of-kin, arrange transportation for the deceased to the funeral home and obtain the necessary documents for burial or cremation. In certain cases, the body may be held longer than 48 hours depending on the needs of the investigation.
When should a funeral home be contacted & Who selects a funeral home?

The next-of-kin discusses this with other family members, clergy or friends. The selection of a crematory or funeral home should be begin soon after notification of the death. This insures the funeral home time to pick up and prepare the "loved one." 

The Coroner is prohibited from recommending a funeral home. However, a list will be provided at notification of local funeral homes or crematories. More funeral homes or crematories can be found in the telephone book or on the Internet.

How can the personal effects and clothing of the deceased be obtained?

Usually the personal effects such as wallets, money ($300.00 & under), jewelry, and clothing of the deceased is released with the body to the funeral home or crematory for disposal or use as the family directs. In cases of homicides, vehicular accidents, and other situations where examination or retention of personal effects is necessary, it will be held by the Law Enforcement Agency that is investigating.

Can I See My Loved One?
The Butler County Coroner's Office is not able to provide for the viewing of a deceased person. Rarely will someone be asked to identify a person by viewing them. Identification can usually be made by description of scars, tattoos or other unique aspects of your loved one.  Please consult with the funeral director regarding seeing your loved one at the funeral home.
How to Claim Moneys (>$300)

Examination of Body and Autopsy

What Is an Autopsy? Who Performs the Procedure?
  • An autopsy is a medical procedure involving the examination of a dead body. An autopsy is sometimes termed a post-mortem examination. The word autopsy is derived from the Greek word autopsia, which means "to see with one's own eyes."
  • Autopsies are performed by pathologists - medical doctors who have received specialty training in the diagnosis of diseases by the examination of body fluids and tissues.
  • Autopsies are performed for a variety of reasons, including:
    • to determine the cause of death
    • to aid in criminal investigations of wrongful death
Is there a charge for the Autopsy?
There is no charge to the next-of-kin for an autopsy or any of the tests which may be conducted by the Coroner.
When is an autopsy performed?
Not all persons brought to the Coroner's Office are autopsied. Certain cases are not autopsied where no "foul play" is suspected and evidence of a natural death is present. In other cases where there is the possibility of legal proceedings which may arise as a result of a homicide, accident, suicide, etc., an autopsy will be performed. In these cases both positive and negative information is found which substantiates the ruling and cause of death as signed by the Coroner.
Does the Coroner need permission from the next-of-kin for an autopsy?
Ohio Law (ORC 2108.52) provides that the Coroner does not need permission for an autopsy. A family may object to an autopsy because of religious beliefs, as stated in section 313.13.1 of the Ohio Revised Code. In this case the Coroner will review the matter and determine whether it is absolutely necessary to perform an autopsy over the family's objections. If after careful review the Coroner determines an autopsy is required, the family may ask the court to intervene. These legal proceedings may take several days and will delay the release of the body to the funeral director. It is important for family members to inform the coroner's office immediately if they have any objection to an autopsy since most begin as soon as the body arrives at the coroner's office.

Death Certificate

How long does it take for a death certificate?
After the family has chosen and made arrangements with funeral home or crematory,  the Coroner's office will be notified that the State of Ohio Electronic Death Certificate System is ready for the Coroner to authorize the funeral home or crematory to care for the "loved one" as the family requested.

At that time, the Coroner will issue a death certificate with "Pending Investigation" or with the cause of death listed.

The Coroner may sign a "Pending" death certificate, enabling the funeral home or crematory to care for the "loved one" as per the request of the family. 

A "Pending" death certificate is signed when there is insufficient information available for a ruling of a "cause of death".  The investigation will continue with additional laboratory testing, and/or autopsy and with possible microscopic examination. The minimum time needed is 12 weeks. 

At the culmination of these tests and investigations, the ruling is made based on all available information. A supplemental death certificate is then issued with the cause of death and ruling which supersedes the "Pending" death certificate.
How long will it take for the Coroner to made a final "cause of death" ruling?
When there is insufficient information to complete the death certificate,  a “Pending Investigation” death certificate will be authorized by the Coroner. This enables the funeral services, burial or cremation and memorial services take place while additional laboratory testing, examination and investigation continues.
Without an autopsy, a minimum time necessary to determine a "cause of death" is 6-8 weeks. However, when an autopsy has been performed a minimum timeframe is 12 weeks is allotted for more in depth investigation. The time could extend out farther when  additional testing needs to be done. 

At the culmination of these tests and investigation, the ruling is made based on all available information. A supplemental death certificate is then issued with the cause of death and ruling which supersedes the "Pending" death certificate.
Where can copies of the death certificate be obtained?

Death Certificates can be obtained from the health department matching the city, township or county in which the death occurred.

City Of Hamilton Health Dept.
345 High Street 3RD Floor
Hamilton, Ohio 45011
City of Hamilton Health Dept

Middletown Health Dept.
One Donham Plaza
Middletown, Ohio 45042
Middletown Health Dept.

Butler County Health Dept.
301 South Third St.
Hamilton, Ohio 45011
Butler County Health Dept.

Autopsy Report

What is an Autopsy Report?
An Autopsy Report documents the findings and opinion of the Forensic Pathologist who conducted the autopsy. Other findings including microscopic examinations, special testing and toxicology results are also included in the Autopsy Report.
When will the Autopsy Report be completed?
The Autopsy Report usually takes weeks to complete after the autopsy, when only routine toxicology and microscopic examination take place. In-depth or special toxicology or other studies may prolong the time needed for completion.

Please allow a minimum of 12 weeks for completion of report.
How do I obtain an autopsy report?
Please See Home Page "Public Record Request".

Coroner Report

What is a Coroner's Report?
A Coroner's Report is a legal document issued at the county level by the coroner.
It is the final document produced in a Coroner's case and summarizes the Coroner's findings.
When will the Coroner's Report be completed?
A Coroner's Report is the final document produced by the Coroner's Office.
Please allow a minimum of 12 weeks for completion of report.

How do obtain a Coroner's report?
Please See Home Page "Public Record Request".

Private Autopsy

I want a Private Autopsy....
When a case is declined by the Coroner's Office, you may consider a private autopsy. Several organizations provide private autopsies including:

The Ohio State University - Autopsy Center

Boonshoft School of Medicine - Department of Pathology

Contact Us

Contact Us