Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner

The Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner (CCOCME) investigates all deaths caused by any criminal means, violence,  suicide, and any unattended death, whatever the cause.  The CCOCME provides identification, performs autopsies or medical examinations, locates next-of-kin, and carries out any other requirements regarding deaths that fall under its jurisdiction.  


If you need to obtain personal property, make a mortuary choice, receive reports, or have questions about a particular case, please call 702-455-3210 or email us at coroner@clarkcountynv.gov.

For resources and case status updates, please contact our family counselor, Trina Merritt, at 702-455-6704.

Coroner News

04/27/2023

We have an update to report in a case involving human remains found at Boulder Beach at Lake Mead on three dates last summer. On July 25, Aug. 6 and Aug. 16, 2022, skeletal remains were discovered by park visitors near the shoreline of Boulder Beach at Lake Mead, all in the same general area. During the course of its investigation, the Clark County Office of Coroner/Medical Examiner confirmed that the three sets of remains belonged to the same person. The remains in this case have now been identified by the Clark County Office of Coroner/Medical Examiner as Claude Russell Pensinger of Las Vegas. Mr. Pensinger disappeared July, 14, 1998. He was 52 years old at the time of his disappearance. The identification was based on DNA analysis. The cause and manner of Mr. Pensinger’s death is undetermined.

 As previously reported, below is a summary of other investigations the Clark County Office of Coroner/Medical Examiner has involving human remains found at Lake Mead.

  • On Oct. 17, 2022, skeletal remains were discovered in the Callville Bay area at Lake Mead by contractors doing work near the marina. Additional remains were found on Oct. 19, 2022, which were determined to belong to the same person as those remains found on Oct. 17. The remains in this case have been identified by the Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner as Donald P. Smith of North Las Vegas. Mr. Smith was 39 years old at the time of his reported drowning in April 1974. The identification was based on DNA analysis and reports from the original incident. The cause and manner of Mr. Smith’s death was determined to be drowning and accidental.
  • On May 7, 2022, skeletal remains were discovered in the Callville Bay area. Those remains have been identified by the Clark County Office of the Coroner/Medical Examiner as Thomas Erndt of Las Vegas. Mr. Erndt was 42 years old at the time of his reported drowning on Aug. 2, 2002. The identification was based on investigative information, DNA analysis and reports from the original incident. The cause and manner of Mr. Erndt’s death is undetermined.
  • On May 1, 2022, remains were discovered in a barrel at Hemenway Harbor. The decedent was a male who died from a gunshot wound. The manner of his death was homicide. The decedent is unidentified at this time.

The process for identifying the remains includes examinations to determine the gender and approximate age, height and weight of each decedent; the collection of DNA samples, the quality of which can be greatly affected by time and environmental conditions; and comparing findings to information about people who have been reported missing over the years.

April is National Donate Life Month! Throughout National Donate Life Month (April 1 – 30, 2023), we invite you to join us in our effort to END THE WAIT for more than 100,000 Americans in need of a lifesaving organ transplant – including nearly 600 Nevadans. Together, we have the power to save and heal lives. Please join us in supporting the Nevada Donor Network and register to be an organ donor today! 

www.nvdonor.org/ccocme

For further information on Nevada Donor Network and National Donate Life Month, please visit NDN's website below. 

National Donate Life Month (nvdonor.org)

DonateLife

We are hiring a Medical Examiner/Forensic Pathologist!

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Out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our employees and the community, we are limiting access to our facility and are appointment-only.