FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions for the Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner (CCOCME):

  • Why is the Coroner/Medical Examiner Office involved?
    • Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) Chapter 259 specifies when the Coroner’s Office shall become involved in the investigation of death. This includes, but is not limited to, homicides, traffic accidents, deaths caused by any criminal means, violence, suicide, and any unattended deaths no matter the cause.
  • How do I obtain a death certificate?
    • The CCOCME does not issue death certificates. The Coroner/Medical Examiner makes a determination of cause and manner of death and this information is utilized by the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) and the Nevada Electronic Death Registry System (EDRS) to complete the death certificate. Copies, once completed, can be obtained directly from SNHD.
    • Often copies of death certificates are requested/ordered when funeral or cremation arrangements are made. Please discuss this with your aftercare provider.
  • How can I obtain Coroner/Medical Examiner reports?
    • Please complete our Public Records Request Form to request reports. Completed forms may be e-mailed to Coroner@ClarkCountyNV.gov , faxed to (702) 455-0416, or mailed to 1704 Pinto Lane, Las Vegas, NV 89106. For further questions, please call (702) 455-3210.
    • Reports are not available until the case is complete and closed.
  • How can I pick up my loved one’s property/personal effects?
    • Property is released by appointment only. If you are the Legal Next-of-Kin (LNOK) or designee please call (702) 455-3210 to schedule an appointment to obtain personal effects.
    • In some cases, personal property may be referred to the Public Administrator’s Office to protect property and the interests of the decedent and LNOK. The Public Administrator's Office may be reached at (702) 455-4332.
  • Can I see my loved one at the CCOCME?
    • The CCOCME does not have the capacity to provide viewing at our office. Families will need to contact a mortuary or other aftercare provider to arrange for viewing.
    • Legal Next-of-Kin may be contacted for assistance with confirmation of identification.
  • When will I have a cause and manner of death?
    • Each death investigated by the CCOCME involves gathering information and may include testing of blood, body fluids, or tissues that is done outside the CCOCME by forensic specialty laboratories and consultant agencies. The CCOCME will issue a cause and manner of death after the examination is complete and all information and evidence related to case and manner are evaluated by the case Medical Examiner.
    • The CCOCME maintains compliance with national death investigation standards by completing investigations on 90% of cases within 90 days. Many death investigations will be completed in a much shorter time frame, although a few will require a longer time frame to adequately evaluate all evidence and information.
    • The CCOCME will not issue a “preliminary” finding.
  • Will my loved one be autopsied?
    • Whether or not an examination is perform and the type and extent of examination, including autopsy, is determined by the circumstances of each case.
  • Can I request an autopsy?
    • The CCOCME does not have jurisdiction in all deaths, and we do not perform private autopsies (i.e., autopsies at the request of LNOK when the death does not fall within CCOCME jurisdiction).
    • If you feel criminal activity was involved in your loved one’s death, please contact the law enforcement agency where the death occurred. Law enforcement will be in contact with the CCOCME if medicolegal death investigation is warranted.
  • Can I refuse an autopsy for my loved one?
    • Clark County Ordinance 2.12.240 gives CCOCME the authority to perform an autopsy when it is essential to establishing cause of death or if requested by the District Attorney of Clark County or by a judge of the District Court within Clark County. However, when possible, CCOCME will attempt to honor the wishes of the family if doing so does not interfere with statutory responsibility.
    • The final decision whether or not to complete an autopsy rests with the CCOCME.
  • Is a viewing or open casketing possible following an autopsy?
    • Examinations do not typically limit the ability to have an open casket viewing; however, your funeral service provider will be the best source of information on viewing possibilities.
  • Will I be charged a fee if an autopsy is completed?
    • The services provided by the CCOCME are required by statute and taxpayer funded. There is no cost to the family.
  • How do I have my loved one released from the CCOCME?
    • CCOCME begins the release process after examination, and release occurs within (normally) 24 – 48 hours.
    • If you have chosen a mortuary or crematory and have communicated this to the CCOCME we will contact your mortuary to arrange transport after examination.
    • If you do not choose a mortuary prior to completion of examination the CCOCME may release the body of your loved one to our contracted rotation mortuary, Davis Funeral Home. You are able to contact Davis Funeral Home to arrange transfer to aftercare of your choice following release from our office.
    • You are NOT obligated to utilize aftercare services of Davis Funeral Home, but may do so if that is your choice.
    • If you choose a different funeral home/crematory after a decedent is released to Davis Funeral Home, you must contact Davis Funeral Home directly to arrange transfer to your chosen facility.
    • Unfortunately we do not have the facility capacity to “hold” decedents for extended periods.
  • I’ve chosen a funeral home/crematory. How quickly can I hold funeral services?
    • CCOCME begins the release process after examination, and release occurs within (normally) 24 – 48 hours.
    • You must notify the CCOCME you have chosen a funeral home/crematory and provide the facility name.
    • The CCOCME works as quickly as possible to allow families to make arrangements promptly. Once your loved one has been positively identified through appropriate means and examination is completed, the CCOCME will work with your chosen mortuary to arrange release as soon as possible – normally within 24 to 48 hours.
  • How much will a funeral or cremation cost?
    • These are questions you must discuss with the provider you choose for the services.
  • How was my loved one identified?
    • This will vary based on the circumstances of each case.
    • If the decedent is not identified at the scene, CCOCME will work to scientifically identify the decedent based on fingerprint comparison, radiograph comparison, dental comparison, or (in the extreme) DNA comparison.
    • If the decedent is facially recognizable and scientific means are not an available option, LNOK may be asked to view a government-issued identification photo or an appropriate post mortem photograph of the decedent.
  • What is the difference between a Medical Examiner and a Coroner?
    • A Medical Examiner is a board-certified physician who specializes in Forensic Pathology. A Medical Examiner performs examinations, orders and interprets laboratory tests, and reviews medical records to determine cause of death.
    • The Coroner is responsible for providing death certification, overseeing death investigations, and gathering information about the decedent and circumstances of death. The Coroner has the final determination for the manner of death.
    • In Clark County, the Coroner serves as the Department Director and oversees office administration and operations.