Various Laws and Attorney General Opinions Regarding the Office of the Coroner

The following selected sections of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) are listed below so that the reporting institution or individual may fully understand that providing information to the Office of the Coroner is merely to comply with the law and that failure to do so would place them in jeopardy of prosecution.


When any person dies as a result of criminal or other violent means, or by casualty, or suicide, or suddenly when in apparent health, or in any suspicious or unusual manner, the physician called in attendance, or any member of an ambulance service, emergency squad, or law enforcement agency who obtains knowledge thereof arising from his duties, shall immediately notify the office of the Coroner of the known facts concerning the time, place, manner, and circumstances of such death, and any other information which is required pursuant to sections 313.01 to 313.22 of the Revised Code. In such cases, if a request is made for cremation, the funeral director called in attendance shall immediately notify the Coroner.


A. No person shall, without and order from the Coroner, purposely remove or disturb the body of any person who has died in the manner described in Section 313.12 of the Revised Code, or purposely and without such an order disturb the clothing or any article upon or near such body.

B. It is an affirmative defense to change under this section that the offender attempted in good faith to rescue or administer life-preserving assistance to the deceased person, even though it is established he was dead at the time of the attempted rescue or assistance.

OAG 73-123 Under 313.11 and 313.12, the Coroner does not have jurisdiction over the body of a deceased person unless the death has occurred "as a result of criminal or other violent means, or by suicide, or suddenly when in apparent good health, or in any suspicious or unusual manner," and when none of the above circumstances are present, the coroner has jurisdiction only if the deceased is known, or if those who are entitle to custody of the body do not claim it.

OAG 39-727 Coroner is not required to sign death certificated where death is not supposed to have been caused by unlawful or suspicious means.

OAG 47-1723 In case of death of any person in a hospital, resulting from accident, it is the duty of the physician in change and of any other person having knowledge of fact, immediately to notify coroner of death, and of time, place, manner and circumstances thereof.

OAG 37-163 It is obligatory upon the coroner at the time of the original call and before viewing the body, to be informed that death is supposed to have been caused by unlawful or suspicious means.

Lisa K. Mannix M.D.,
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