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The Fresno County Sheriff-Coroner's Office is the agency responsible for investigating reportable deaths in Fresno County. The office performs medico-legal investigations for legal and public health purposes under the authority of state law. Just because the Coroner investigates a death does not mean there is a belief that a crime has been committed. It is the Coroner's legal responsibility to identify the deceased, to notify the next-of-kin or legal representative, and to protect the estate of the deceased until it can be turned over to the legal heirs or the Office of the Public Administrator.

There are many reasons why a loved one may be taken to the Coroner's Office, including but not limited to: a private physician cannot sign the death certificate; the deceased did not have a physician or it has been too long since the last visit; the death was possibly due to accident, suicide, homicide or an unknown cause, or the person died alone.

No. The Coroner's Office does not have the capability to allow for viewing of the body. Family should make arrangements with a funeral home/mortuary and arrange a viewing with the funeral home. 

Forensic Autopsies are conducted to determine cause and manner of death. Not all death investigations result in an autopsy Government Code section 27491.4 authorizes the Coroner to conduct autopsies when needed. The Forensic Pathologist will make the determination after a review of all supporting records whether an autopsy is needed to establish the cause of death. An autopsy is not determined by the Deputy Coroner, or any other investigator at the scene.  

Typically, a decedent is ready for release to a funeral home within 48 hours. The funeral home or mortuary of your choice will coordinate the release on your behalf.

Certified death certificates are issued by Vital Statistics at the Fresno County Health Department. Death certificates can be ordered through your funeral home/mortuary, or purchased directly from Vital Statistics. The Coroner’s Office does not issue death certificates. 

Some investigations can be completed in a matter of a few days. Others may take several weeks to complete, due to further toxicology testing, additional information from law enforcement, medical records, review of slides, etc.  If the manner and cause of death cannot yet be determined, additional testing and consultation with medical specialists may be need, taking many additional months to complete.  A "pending" death certificate is issued to allow family to move forward with funeral arrangements then amended when a cause of death is known. 

The County of Fresno does not have financial assistance available. For those who cannot afford funeral services, or in cases when we are unable to find next of kin, the County provides a direct cremation. There are no provisions for services, viewing or individual burial.

If you feel you might need this service, you will be asked to fill out a County Burial Application, which includes information needed for the death certificate, some basic financial questions, provide documentation, and sign authorization papers.

California State law requires blood relatives to provide for a proper disposition for the remains of the deceased (Health and Safety Code Sections 7100 & 7103). Failure to act in a timely manner is a criminal misdemeanor and could also result in the next of kin being required to pay civil penalties equal to three times the cost of disposition.

If there is no pre-need agreement with a funeral home, final arrangements must be made. You may make these arrangements with any funeral home or mortuary. You may find it helpful to decide on the type of service and disposition the family would prefer prior to calling as it makes it easier to gather and compare information. 

As a service, we have provided a listing of the funeral homes and mortuaries in Fresno County, but you need not choose from this list. The Coroner's Office does not endorse or recommend any of the businesses on this list, and suggests you compare before making a final decision. If you choose to use one of these companies, you do so at your own risk. 

The Coroner's Report can be purchased from the Coroner's Office. The report consists of the autopsy report and toxicology (if performed) and investigation report. Reports are not available until the case is concluded. Please call for status before mailing in your request.
The property will be released to the Funeral home when they pick up the deceased.
A Deputy Coroner is available 7 days a week from 8am to 5 pm. You may contact our office at (559) 600-3400. Click here to see a list of names and helpful numbers: http://www.co.fresno.ca.us/
The Coroner is required by state law (G.C. 27491) to investigate all unnatural deaths or deaths where an attending Medical Doctor is unavailable to provide cause of death.
Contact a funeral home of your choice and advise them that your loved one is at the Coroner's Office.
The deceased will be taken to the Coroner's Office in Fresno.