Information for the Bereaved
How do I report a death?
If the decedent is in a medical facility or is under hospice care, reporting will be handled by the facility or hospice nurse. In all other cases, deaths must be reported to the local law enforcement agency.
Then what do I do?
As soon as possible, select a funeral home. In some cases the body of the decedent will be released on the scene, in which case the funeral home will come to the scene to collect the decedent. If the decedent is transported to the St. Tammany morgue, inform the funeral director that the death is being handled by the Coroner's Office and ask them to please contact us. The funeral director will coordinate the release on your behalf.
Where can I obtain a Death Certificate?
The death certificate is generated by the funeral home and sent to the Coroner's Office for cause of death. When completed, it is then sent back to the funeral home where they send it to vital statistics. Should you require Certified Copies of the Death Certificate, you can order them from the funeral home when making funeral arrangements. Should you need proof of death before the Death Certificate is available, you can order a "Coroner's Certificate of Death" from our office for a fee of $15.00.
Will autopsy reports be available?
Arrangements can be made for the next of kin to come in and discuss the coroner's autopsy findings, or a copy of the summary of findings may be available. Read the page concerning Autopsy Reports for more information.
Will I be charged for the autopsy?
How and when can personal possessions be claimed?
Any personal possessions in the custody of the St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office can be claimed by the legal next of kin. To avoid any inconvenience, please contact the Coroner's Office prior to coming into the office. Proof of identification is needed in order to reclaim personal property. Clothing is not considered property. Unless there is a need to hold clothing as evidence, it is released to the funeral home.
Where will my relative be taken?
Your relative will be taken to the St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office Morgue in Covington, LA.
Is it necessary for me to come to the Coroner's Morgue to identify the body?
No. In a majority of the cases, visual identification is not required. Should it be necessary for you to come in or bring other records or x-rays, you will be contacted.
Is viewing allowed at the morgue?
No. The Coroner's facility is not accommodated to permit viewing. Arrangements can be made at the funeral home for viewing. However, in rare cases it may be necessary and required. This would be at the discretion of the Coroner.
Why is the Coroner involved?
State law requires the Coroner to inquire into and determine the circumstances, manner and cause of all sudden, unexpected, violent or unusual deaths and those cases where the decedent has not been under the care of a physician prior to death.
Will an autopsy be performed?
The Coroner will decide if an autopsy will be necessary to establish the cause of death. If the cause of death can be determined from the available evidence and the deceased has a medical history with an acceptable probable cause of death, an autopsy may not be necessary. An autopsy is required by law in infant deaths.
How long will it take before my relative is released from the morgue?
Generally it should not take more than 48 hours.
What is "legal next of kin"?
Legal next of kin goes in the following order: