•Determination of Death
In their examinations of the deceased, forensic pathologists aim to determine the cause and manner of death. Cause is why the person died or the medical reason for the death; that is, the injury or disease responsible for the death. Manner is how the person died or the circumstances that led to the cause of death.
The typical sequence of events following a death is:
- A death is reported to the office
- The death scene is visited and investigated, if needed
- Investigative information is obtained about the events that led to a death, the deceased's medical and social history
- The body is transported for examination
- If the deceased is unidentified, efforts are made to positively identify the deceased
- A postmortem examination is performed if needed.
- An official report of findings is prepared
- The death certificate is completed
- Permanent records are kept for future use as needed
On completion of the Coroner’s investigation and postmortem examination, the Coroner or Deputy Coroner, upon delivery of a death certificate initiated by the Funeral Home, will complete said death certificate and return the certificate to the Funeral Director. The Funeral Director is then responsible for having it certified. The death certificate is then made available to the family following the funeral or services.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How will I know if I need to make a positive identification?
A: If a positive identification is necessary, the Coroner or Deputy Coroner will notify you of the procedure and where to report. If you are a Banks County Resident you will be notified in person
If any personal items of the deceased are retained by the Coroner’s Office, you must possess and present a current photo identification card to pick up such items. Any prescription medications collected during our investigation will be destroyed following the investigation and not returned to the family.
Q: Do I qualify as next of kin?
A: The next of Kin is defined in the following hierarchy:
- Spouse - is a husband or wife who are legally married, separated but, not divorced.
- Children of the deceased over 18 years of age.
Remains of the deceased will only be released to a Certified Funeral Director. It is important for the Next of Kin to select a Funeral Director as soon as possible and notify this office of the selection.
Q: What does it mean that the case is pending?
A: You may be initially informed that the Cause and Manner of Death are “Pending ”. Pending simply refers that the Cause and Manner of Death are still under investigation. Pending cases may be cleared in as little as two days or may remain pending for several months depending on information made available by the GBI Department of Forensic Sciences.
The average pending case in Georgia is cleared in 8 - 12 weeks. You will be contacted as soon as the investigation results are complete. The Next of Kin will be the first to be notified of all completed pending cases. For this reason, if you move or change your phone number, it is imperative you inform our office.