If you have lost a loved one, we at the Delta County Coroner’s Office extend our deepest sympathy to you during this difficult time. We hope that the information provided on this web page will assist you by providing answers to commonly asked questions.
Where will my loved one be taken?
They will be held by the Delta County Coroner’s Office or in such cases when an autopsy is ordered, they will be transported to the Pathologist’s office.
Is it necessary for me to come to the Coroner’s Office to identify the body?
No. In a majority of cases, visual identification is not required. Should it become necessary for you to come in or bring other records or x-rays, you will be contacted.
Am I allowed to view the body?
No. The Coroner’s facility is not designated to accommodate viewing. Arrangements can be made at the funeral home of your choice for viewing.
Why is the Coroner involved?
State law requires the Coroner to be notified in certain death situations. The Coroner inquires 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 is required, in which case a pending death certificate is issued which will allow the family to complete funeral arrangements. An amended death certificate will be issued following completion of special testing and investigation.
Will an autopsy be performed?
When there is a need to establish the cause and circumstances of death, the Coroner has a forensic pathologist perform an autopsy. The Coroner has the discretion to not perform an autopsy if the death appears to be from “natural causes” and can be substantiated through medical history. Other types of cases are evaluated on a case by case basis.
Will the Coroner make arrangements with the mortuary?
No, our office does not select funeral homes. Surviving family needs to select the mortuary that they desire to handle the funeral arrangements.
What should I do now?
Within 24 hours, select a funeral home of your choice and inform the funeral director that the death is being handled by the Delta County Coroner’s Office. Ask them to notify us.
What information does the Coroner need?
When the funeral director is making arrangements for the family, the Coroner must be provided with written authorization, signed by the legal next-of-kin, to release the deceased. The signed authorization may be faxed directly to our office at 970- 874-9990. The following format should be used:
CORONER, DELTA COUNTY, COLORADO
Release the remains of my (relationship, and name of deceased) to (name of mortuary).
Signed: Name and relationship
How long will it be before my relative or friend is released from your office?
Generally, it should not take more than one or two days. Your funeral director will coordinate the release on your behalf.
Will I be charged for other coroner services?
Normally, no. However, there are exceptions, and you will receive written correspondence when, and if, any fees apply.
What about tissue/organ donation?
Depending upon the circumstances of the death, and with the next-of-kin consent, tissue/organ donation may be possible. If you are interested, please contact the Coroner as soon as possible. More information is available from Donor Alliance at 888-868-4747.
Where can I obtain a death certificate?
Death certificates are filed with the Delta County Clerk and Recorder. Should you require certified copies, they can be ordered through the funeral home or purchased from the Delta County Clerk and Recorder. There is a charge for certified death certificates.
How and when can personal possessions be claimed?
Any personal effects in the custody of the Coroner may be claimed by the legal next-of-kin. To avoid any inconvenience to you, call the Coroner’s Office at 970- 874-5918 before coming into the office. We will advise you if any documents will be needed and of any other requirements. Clothing is not usually considered property. Unless there is a need to hold clothing as evidence, it is released to the mortuary receiving the deceased. Clothing that presents a health hazard may be disposed of for the safety of all persons involved.
If there are no funds for burial, what can I do?
If the deceased does not have sufficient funds for burial, the next-of-kin may seek assistance from governmental and/or non-governmental sources. For more information, contact your funeral director.
I need to enter my loved one’s residence, but it is sealed. What can I do?
You will need to obtain permission from the law enforcement agency involved.
Helpful Phone Numbers
Delta County Sheriff’s Office: 970-874-2000
Delta Police Department: 970-874-7676
Cedaredge Police Department: 970-856-4301
Hotchkiss Police Department: 970-872-3848
Paonia Police Department: 970-527-4822
Colorado State Patrol: 970-249-4392
District Attorney: 970-874-2085