Frequently Asked Questions

Can I come to the Ross County Coroner’s Office to view or identify my loved one?
It is recommended that if a family member or loved one wish to view a decedent, it is done at a funeral home or cremation facility as we do not have the same resources as those facilities. Confirmation of a decedent’s identity must occur before they can be released to the funeral home or cremation facility. We will work with family and funeral directors to get a decedent released from our facility as quickly as possible.

Positive identification is confirmed through scientific means such as fingerprints, radiology, dental, or DNA comparison. In some cases, the next of kin may be contacted by the Franklin County Forensic Science Center to come in a make a visual identification of their loved one by viewing a photograph. The next of kin will sign a confirmation form confirming the identification of the decedent.
Is every person who dies in Ross County considered a Coroner’s case?
No. Ohio law requires the County Coroner to investigate the circumstances and determine the cause and manner of death of all deaths that are:

  • The result of violence or other trauma.
  • Suspicious and unusual in nature or foul play is suspected.
  • Sudden and unexpected when a person is in apparent good health.
  • Not under the care of a physician.
  • Unlawful or due to criminal neglect.
My relative/loved one is at the Coroner's Office. What should I do now?
A funeral home must be selected as soon as possible to handle funeral arrangements for the deceased. When you contact the funeral director, advise them that the deceased is under the coroner's jurisdiction and they will contact our office to make arrangements to pick up your loved one.
Will an autopsy be performed on every decedent on which the Coroner's Office has taken jurisdiction?
No. Autopsies are routinely performed to determine the cause and manner of death on all cases where the death is the result of a criminal act or where the death is determined or suspicious or unusual nature. Autopsies are not routinely performed in cases where the death appears to be from natural causes, there is a significant amount of medical history, or if there is no evidence of foul play.
How long does it take for a death ruling to be made?
Usually, a signed death certificate is available within 7 – 10 days of the coroner’s office being notified of a death due to natural causes. However, there are times when a "pending" death certificate is issued. This is a result of insufficient information being available immediately after the death such as the need for proper identification, autopsy or additional testing. This "pending" death certificated enables the funeral services and burial to take place while additional chemical tests, microscopic slide preparation and examination, and investigation continue. At the culmination of these tests and investigation, the ruling is made based on all available information. A supplemental death certificate is then issued with the cause of death and ruling which supersedes the "pending" death certificate. This process will generally take 8 – 10 weeks to complete.
How can coroner records be obtained?
Records may be obtained by sending a records request to the coroner’s office. (the form is available on our website) You may also email the coroner’s office including the name of the decedent, the DOB and date of death of the decedent, the records requested, your name and contact information as well as your relationship to the decedent. Email to Appointments can be made to have an explanation of the records if necessary.
Where can copies of death certificates be obtained?
Contact the funeral home or crematory service that handled the arrangements for the deceased, they often order additional copies of death certificates upon request of the family. Certified copies of death certificates can only be obtained from the Ross County Health District Office of Vital Statistics located at 150 E Second St., Chillicothe, OH. The telephone number is (740) 779-9652. For life insurance and other official purposes, a certified copy is usually necessary.

Get in Touch with Us

Ross County, Ohio Coroner

(740) 775-7464

217 Delano Ave., Suite A
Chillicothe, Ohio 45601