Indiana Code Title 36. Local Government § 36-2-14-6

Sec. 6 . (a) Whenever the coroner is notified that a person in the county:

(1) has died from violence;

(2) has died by casualty;

(3) has died when apparently in good health;

(4) has died in an apparently suspicious, unusual, or unnatural manner;  or

(5) has been found dead;

the coroner shall, before the scene of the death is disturbed, notify a law enforcement agency having jurisdiction in that area.  The agency shall assist the coroner in conducting an investigation of how the person died and a medical investigation of the cause of death.  The coroner may hold the remains of the decedent until the investigation of how the person died and the medical investigation of the cause of death are concluded.

(b) The coroner:

(1) shall file a certificate of death with the county health department, or, if applicable, a multiple county health department, of the county in which the individual died, within seventy-two (72) hours after the completion of the death investigation;

(2) shall complete the certificate of death utilizing all verifiable information establishing the time and date of death;  and

(3) may file a pending investigation certificate of death before completing the certificate of death, if necessary.

(c) If this section applies, the body and the scene of death may not be disturbed until:

(1) the coroner has photographed them in the manner that most fully discloses how the person died;  and

(2) law enforcement and the coroner have finished their initial assessment of the scene of death.

However, a coroner or law enforcement officer may order a body to be moved before photographs are taken if the position or location of the body unduly interferes with activities carried on where the body is found, but the body may not be moved from the immediate area and must be moved without substantially destroying or altering the evidence present.

(d) When acting under this section, if the coroner considers it necessary to have an autopsy performed, is required to perform an autopsy under subsection (f), or is requested by the prosecuting attorney of the county to perform an autopsy, the coroner shall employ a:

(1) physician certified by the American Board of Pathology;  or

(2) pathology resident acting under the direct supervision of a physician certified in anatomic pathology by the American Board of Pathology;

to perform the autopsy.  The physician performing the autopsy shall be paid a fee of at least fifty dollars ($50) from the county treasury.

(e) If:

(1) at the request of:

(A) the decedent's spouse;

(B) a child of the decedent, if the decedent does not have a spouse;

(C) a parent of the decedent, if the decedent does not have a spouse or children;

(D) a brother or sister of the decedent, if the decedent does not have a spouse, children, or parents;  or

(E) a grandparent of the decedent, if the decedent does not have a spouse, children, parents, brothers, or sisters;

(2) in any death, two (2) or more witnesses who corroborate the circumstances surrounding death are present;  and

(3) two (2) physicians who are licensed to practice medicine in the state and who have made separate examinations of the decedent certify the same cause of death in an affidavit within twenty-four (24) hours after death;

an autopsy need not be performed.  The affidavits shall be filed with the circuit court clerk.

(f) A county coroner may not certify the cause of death in the case of the sudden and unexpected death of a child who is less than three (3) years old unless an autopsy is performed at county expense.  However, a coroner may certify the cause of death of a child described in this subsection without the performance of an autopsy if subsection (e) applies to the death of the child.

(g) After consultation with the law enforcement agency investigating the death of a decedent, the coroner shall do the following:

(1) Inform a crematory authority if a person is barred under IC 23-14-31-26(c) from serving as the authorizing agent with respect to the cremation of the decedent's body because the coroner made the determination under IC 23-14-31-26(c)(2) in connection with the death of the decedent.

(2) Inform a cemetery owner if a person is barred under IC 23-14-55-2(c) from authorizing the disposition of the body or cremated remains of the decedent because the coroner made the determination under IC 23-14-55-2(c)(2) in connection with the death of the decedent.

(3) Inform a seller of prepaid services or merchandise if a person's contract is unenforceable under IC 30-2-13-23(b) because the coroner made the determination under IC 30-2-13-23(b)(4) in connection with the death of the decedent.


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