Death Investigations

The Coroner’s Office holds investigations concerning the manner and cause of any deaths that are sudden, unexpected or resulted from violence or accident, or under suspicious and unusual circumstances, and other deaths pursuant to LA. RS 13:5713. The coroner may perform or cause to be performed an autopsy in any death at his discretion.

Deaths which must be reported to the coroner:

Reporting A Death: The following is a list of all cases that are mandated to be reported to the Coroner’s office pursuant to LA RS 13:5713.

  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.

Manner of Death

The manner in which the Coroner classifies each death for the completion of the death certificate.

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

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.

There are four main types/classification of Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths (SUID). 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.

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 only listed as the cause of death for an infant when there is no 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.

These types of investigations are performed in order to determine the cause and manner of death, to the best of our knowledge, based on a combination of physical findings and medical history.

Other deaths reported to the Caddo Coroner may be ruled as the following:

NON CORONER’S CASE: A death which may be reported to the Coroner but is not required to be investigated by the Coroner’s Office as per LA Revised Statues.

OUT OF PARISH: A death which must be transferred to the jurisdiction of another parish and/or county coroner. (RS 13:5706 C.(1)(2)(3))