The Boulder County Coroner’s Office is directed by Colorado law and Colorado Revised Statute 30-10-606 which defines which types of deaths are required to be reported to the coroner’s office and, subsequently, investigated by the coroner or by an agent of the coroner. If a coroner’s investigator is involved in investigating the death of your loved one, it is because it is required under Colorado Law.
Transportation for Further Examinations
In order to accurately and completely investigate a death it is often necessary to perform further examination. This process is completed by a forensic pathologist, pathology technician and/or a coroner’s investigator depending on the extent of examination necessary. As a result, it is sometimes necessary to transport to a secure facility for further examination.
Process after Transport
Until the examination process is completed, your family member will remain in the care of the Boulder County Coroner’s Office. In the meantime, it is recommended that you take some time to contact other family members and develop a support system in order to help with this difficult time. After you have taken the necessary time the legal next-of-kin can locate a Mortuary Information, contact them, and complete the necessary paperwork that they require.
Next of Kin
The legal next of kin hierarchy is described by Colorado Revised Statutes.
Transport to Mortuary
Generally the process of investigation after death takes approximately 2-3 days and your family member can be released to the selected mortuary after this time. This timeframe is an estimate. For detailed information on your particular family member, please contact the Boulder County Coroner’s Office.
Choosing a Mortuary
The Boulder County Coroner’s Office unfortunately cannot recommend or refer you to a Mortuary Information, or discourage you from selecting a certain one.
Payment for Coroner Services
There is no charge for any of the services provided by the Boulder County Coroner’s Office, including any post-mortem examination and secure storage until a mortuary has been selected.
Organ & Tissue Donation
The requirements for your family member to be eligible for donation are specific to each person and are determined by the organization that was selected to perform the donation. If you would like to pursue donation you can contact one of the many local agencies and inquire about whether your family member is eligible. The coroner and/or forensic pathologist can also decide against allowing donation for purposes of an effective investigation and, as such, the donation agency that you choose will contact the Boulder County Coroner’s Office to verify that donation is possible.
Any property that was with or on your family member at the time of their death will be inventoried by a representative of the Boulder County Coroner’s Office and will remain in secure storage until a decision is made by you regarding how to retrieve it. This goes for any property that is located during the autopsy as well. The property can either be arranged to be picked up by the mortuary that you select at your discretion, or can be picked up by you at the Boulder County Coroner’s Office with valid photo identification.
Unfortunately the Boulder County Coroner’s Office does not have an appropriate facility to accommodate viewings by family members at this time. The best way to have a viewing for family of the deceased is to coordinate with the mortuary that has been selected.
The final death certificate is not issued until final results are obtained from the autopsy, which can take approximately six to eight weeks. Once the final death certificate has been issued, you can obtain copies of it from the mortuary that you selected. Alternatively you can order one from Boulder County Public Health Death Certificates.
Paying for Final Arrangements
There are generally two options for you in case you cannot afford to pay for funeral arrangements:
- If your family member was a veteran they will generally be eligible for burial benefits through Veteran’s Affairs. The Veteran’s Affairs office can be contacted by calling 1-800-827-1000.
- Your family member might be eligible for burial assistance through Boulder County. In order to inquire about burial assistance eligibility, contact the Department of Housing and Human Services at 303-441-1000.