Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a Coroner and what does the Coroner’s Office do?

In most Parishes, the Coroner is a Physician licensed by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners and is an elected official who serves a term of 4 years. The Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office is an independent agency funded by the Parish of Caddo and the City of Shreveport. Among other tasks, the three main duties of the Coroner are to perform death investigations, mental health or sanity investigations, and sexual assault investigations.

2. Does the coroner investigate all deaths?

No. The Coroner shall either view the body or make an investigation into the cause and manner of death of only cases Louisiana law mandates to be reported to the coroner.

3. Where are you located?

We are located at 2900 N Hearne Avenue in Shreveport, Louisiana, across from Willis Knighton North Emergency Entrance.

4. What are your hours of operation?

We operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. There is an investigator on call at all times. Our Administrative office is open from 8:00am until 4:30pm Monday through Friday and is closed for all Holidays. Our answering service is available at all times to contact an investigator for you.

5. How do I have someone committed?

The Caddo Parish Coroners Office does not issue commitment papers. The CPCO may issue an Order of Protective Custody (OPC) based on the strict conditions of the LA Revised Statues. In order to have an OPC issued by our office, a petitioner must come to the Coroner’s Office to fill out the proper paperwork and speak with an investigator about the circumstances. Based on the information provided, the investigator will determine whether or not the person meets the criteria for issuance of an OPC. The petitioner filling out the request for an Order of Protective Custody must be a credible witness and one who has seen or heard, first hand, what the person has said or done within the past 48 hours only. The individual must not be in a hospital or incarcerated and must be located within the parish of Caddo. Filling out a request with our office does not guarantee the Order for protective custody will be issued.

6. Is my family member’s body at your facility?

The Coroner’s Office does not have an onsite morgue. If an autopsy was performed, the body was taken to our offsite morgue. Upon completion of autopsy, the body will be released to the funeral home of family choice. If no autopsy was performed, the body was most likely picked up from the hospital or residence by the funeral home.

7. How can I get an autopsy ordered?

An autopsy is ordered by the Coroner of Caddo Parish if the cause of death cannot be determined by medical records or if there is a reasonable probability that the violation of a criminal statute has contributed to the cause of death. Autopsies may also be ordered by the Coroner if the cause of death is considered to be a public health risk. All infants under the age of one year who die unexpectedly without explanation shall also have an autopsy performed. If the family of a deceased person wishes to have an autopsy performed when the Coroner did not order autopsy, the family must speak with a physician or pathologist and request a private autopsy. In private autopsies, the full financial responsibility will be the families.

8. How much does an autopsy cost?

If an autopsy is ordered by the Coroner of Caddo Parish, the autopsy will be performed at no cost to the family. If the autopsy is not ordered by the Coroner of Caddo Parish, but rather is a private autopsy requested by family, the cost is strictly up to the Pathologist hired by the family.

9. Who can have a copy of an autopsy report?

One copy of the Final Autopsy/Toxicology Report may be obtained upon written request and of no charge by the legal immediate next of kin, or person in charge of final disposition. The Caddo Coroners Office will also issue a copy at no charge to the appropriate law enforcement agencies as requested. There is a fee for a copy of an Autopsy/Toxicology Report for Attorney’s Offices and Insurance Companies. Anyone who wishes to receive a copy of an Autopsy/Toxicology Report must fill out an Autopsy and Toxicology Report Request Form and provide a copy of their photo identification. Please see Request for Autopsy Report.

10. Where do I get a Death Certificate?

We are not the custodian of Death Certificates. If the person whose death certificate you are inquiring about has passed away recently, you need to contact the funeral home with whom the arrangements were made to request copies of the death certificate. If the person you are inquiring about did not pass away recently and you are in need of a death certificate for a personal reason, please contact the office of Vital Records at 318-676-5201.

11. How can I get my family member released to a funeral home?

Once the next of kin has decided on a funeral home, they must notify the Coroner’s Office Investigator that worked the case. The Investigator will then notify the proper facility in which the deceased is being held and have them released to the Funeral Home of the families choice.

12. My family member has died, what do I do next?

Contact a funeral home. The funeral home staff will help you with the steps that you need to take. Once you have decided on a funeral home, contact the Coroner’s Office and let the Investigator that is working the case know which funeral home you have chosen to expedite the release of the decedent.

13. What do I do if I cannot afford to pay for a service, burial, or cremation?

Funeral Homes are willing to work with families in this type of situation. Contact a funeral home and explain your situation to them. The Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office does not have funds set aside to pay for burial services.

14. How can I find out if someone has died?

Not all deaths in the Parish are reported to our office. Refer to Question #2 to see what deaths are considered to be Coroner’s Cases. The deaths that are reported to the Coroner’s office are not subject to the Public Information Act, therefore we do not release any information. You may contact the family or friends of the possible deceased person in question to obtain any information related to them.

15. How long does it take to get an Autopsy report?

Autopsy Results take approximately 8 weeks or longer to finalize. We cannot release results until we receive the final report from the Pathologist.

16. How long does it take to get a Death Certificate?

The Funeral Home will provide you with a copy of the Death Certificate once they have it certified

17. What do I do if I have not received a copy of a death certificate and I need to prove that someone is deceased?

The Coroners office can provide the family of the deceased with a Proof of Death Letter. This letter will serve as proof the death occurred until the official death certificate can be obtained. Although this is a document issued by the Coroners office, some places may not accept it as a Proof of Death and may wish to wait until you receive an actual Death Certificate.

18. How do I get personal items belonging to my deceased family member?

The legal next of kin can contact the Investigator that is handling the case to confirm if our office collected any personal items. If so, a time can be set up for you to come into the office and pick up the belongings.

19. How do I become a death investigator or coroner investigator?

Coroner’s office employment can be a very rewarding career, but it requires a great deal of vast knowledge. Therefore, an interested individual should research and work to gain as much education and experience as possible when applying for such a position. There is an extensive amount of training that will go into preparing an investigator for the job and any prior knowledge or skills that individual has about the latest death investigation techniques will be helpful. This goes above and beyond college degrees. Volunteer work and internships with different agencies or facilities will benefit both parties. Courses and knowledge in Criminal Justice, Human Anatomy, and Medical Terminology are very important. Many coroner’s offices will be looking for an applicant with some basis of knowledge and experience so it is advisable to work toward that goal. Nationally, many offices also require certification with ABMDI (American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators).