The function of the county coroner is one of death investigation. Death investigations often include scene investigation, witness and family interviews, medical records reviews, attending physician opinions, toxicology studies, and thorough body examinations. If necessary, an autopsy may be done.

Authority & Jurisdiction

The coroner investigates the cause and manner of death of persons within Island County. The coroner has jurisdiction over dead bodies only. A coroner does not have jurisdiction over surviving persons who are found near death or unconscious. The local law enforcement agencies have the jurisdiction to investigate these matters.

There are two types of jurisdiction that concern a coroner and the requirements of both types must be met before a coroner has valid jurisdiction. A coroner's legal jurisdiction is that which is authorized by the state Legislature and Washington courts' interpretation of the statutes. A coroner's geographic jurisdiction is limited to the boundaries of the county in which he or she has been elected or appointed. Geographic jurisdiction is determined by the place where the death occurs or where the body is found, not by the place where the mortal incident occurs.