Caddo Parish Coroner's Office

Death Investigations

Investigations of Death

The Coroner’s Office holds investigations into the manner and cause of any deaths that are sudden and unexpected or resulted from violence, accident, or other suspicious, unusual or unnatural circumstances. The Coroner also investigates any deaths that could pose a public health risk. The coroner may perform or cause to be performed an autopsy in any death at his/her discretion.

Deaths which must be reported to the coroner:

Every death does not need to be reported to the Coroner. The following is a list of all cases that are mandated by Louisiana law to be reported to the Coroner’s office: LA RS 13:5713.

A. The coroner shall either view the body or make an investigation into the cause and manner of death in all cases involving the following:

  1. Suspicious, unexpected, or unusual deaths.
  2. Sudden or violent deaths.
  3. Deaths due to unknown or obscure causes or in any unusual manner.
  4. Bodies found dead.
  5. Deaths due to suspected suicide or homicide.
  6. Deaths in which poison is suspected.
  7. Any death from natural causes occurring in a hospital under twenty-four hours admission.
  8. Deaths following an injury or accident either old or recent.
  9. Deaths due to drowning, hanging, burns, electrocution, gunshot wounds, stabs or cutting, lightning, starvation, radiation, exposure, alcoholism, addiction, tetanus, strangulation, suffocation, or smothering.
  10.  Deaths due to trauma from whatever cause.
  11. Deaths due to criminal means or by casualty.
  12. Deaths in prison or while serving a sentence.
  13. Deaths due to virulent contagious disease that might be caused by or cause a public hazard, including acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

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Manner of Death

The Manner or way in which the death occurs.  The Coroner classifies each death as a certain manner on the death certificate:

NATURAL: Death that is the result of natural causes, such as disease processes, or basic health related issues.

ACCIDENT: Death that is unintentional that may have resulted from significant injury, ingestion of substance, or other abnormality.

SUICIDE: Death that is the result of intentional taking of one’s own life. Suicide may occur for a number of reasons, including depression, shame, guilt, desperation, physical pain, emotional pressure, anxiety, financial difficulties, or other undesirable situations.

HOMICIDE: Death that is the result of any human being killing another human being.

UNDETERMINED: Death in which the cause and manner of death is not clearly determined, even after a complete investigation.

PENDING: Deaths that require further investigations.

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Cause of Death

The Cause of death is generally the direct diagnosis that makes the death occur. The Coroner classifies each death with a certain cause on the death certificate also.

Causes of death may include Gunshot Wounds, Blunt Force Trauma, Coronary Artery Disease, Carcinoma of the Lung, etc.

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Other Types of Death Investigations:

1. Sudden Unexplained Infant Death Investigation – (SUIDI)

  • SUIDI is the investigation of any sudden, unexpected death of a child under the age of one year, in which the cause is not obvious. SUIDI is not an actual cause of death itself, but rather the name of the type of investigation. Check our Safe Sleep tab to discover what many of our SUID Investigations reveal. There are four main types/classifications of Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths (SUIDs). These include:
    • Asphyxia or Suffocation – occurs when air supply is no longer available. Some instances where this can occur are when the child is wedged between two objects, rolled over on, or has their airway restricted by bedding or stuffed animals. (Safe Sleep)
    • Metabolic Error – a rare genetic disorder that prevents the body from turning food into energy
    • Injury or Trauma – intentional or unintentional harm, such as shaken baby syndrome or dropping the child.
    • SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) – this is a diagnosis of exclusion. SIDS is usually listed as the cause of death for an infant when there is no other logical explanation found during the investigation, either medical or non-medical, that could have caused the infant’s death. “Undetermined” may also be used instead of SIDS.

2. NOT A CORONER’S CASE: Deaths that may be reported to the Coroner by error, but are not required to be investigated by the Coroner as per Louisiana law.

3. OUT OF PARISH: Deaths that are under or should be under the jurisdiction of another parish and/or county.

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