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The Pathology Department at the St. Tammany Parish Coroner’s Office is made up of a group of highly trained professionals including Forensic Pathologists and Morgue Technicians whose primary function is to determine cause and manner of death. The Pathology Department is often assisted by the Investigations Department.

Under Louisiana law, certain causes of death are deemed to be “Coroner’s Cases” and must be investigated. The Forensic Pathologist will conduct the autopsy to determine cause and manner of death. These cases referred for autopsy are generally when the decedent has no medical history to explain the death, or if the death appears to be a homicide, suicide, accident.

Death investigations can be complex in nature and require collaboration between pathologists, investigators, toxicology lab, DNA lab as well as crime scene technicians and detectives. Due to the complexity of this type of work, a determination of cause and manner of death may take several weeks to complete.


A fact of death letter is a written statement attesting to the fact of death, which shall constitute proof of death for all purposes, including but not limited to any claim under any policy of insurance issued on the life of the deceased individual. The fact of death letter shall be a public record.

A death investigation report is the work product of the coroner and is an internal document that comprehensively records the findings and all known information about the case created by both the investigative and administrative staff of the coroner's office. The death investigation report is not a public document.

A coroner's report is a document that includes the name of the decedent, address, sex, date of birth, age, and race of the decedent, date and time of death, place of death, date and time of autopsy, when applicable, and the cause and manner of death, including any scientifically contributing factors. The coroner's report is a public record.

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