The Office of the County Coroner is established by the Constitution of the State of Colorado. The Coroner is elected to serve by the citizens of Pueblo County. The Coroner’s Office is a separate and independent division of the Pueblo County Government and is funded through the General Fund. The Coroner, a Chief Deputy Coroner, four part-time Deputy Investigators and a part-time Administrative Assistant staff this department.
The Coroner and staff recognize the tragedy surrounding an untimely death and perform investigations, in part, to assist the grieving family. A complete forensic investigation provides for the expeditious settling of insurance claims and estates, as well the implementation of civil and criminal actions. Questions which seem irrelevant in the initial hours after death can become significant in the following months. The surviving family and general public can have the peace of mind that a complete investigation was done. The Coroner works in cooperation with the law enforcement community but conducts a separate and unbiased investigation.
The Coroner has the authority to review and/or investigate any death if circumstances warrant. By statute, the Coroner’s Office determines the cause of death in all of the following circumstances:
- Disease that may be hazardous or contagious, or that may constitute a threat to the health of the general public
- Any external violence, unexplained cause or suspicious circumstances or any type of accident
- When no physician is in attendance, or the physician in attendance is unable to certify the cause of death
- Thermal, chemical, radiation injury or criminal abortion
- When death occurs while in the custody of law enforcement officials or while incarcerated in a public institution
- When death is sudden and occurs while person is deemed in good health
- When death occurs in a hospital less than 24 hours after admission
Although criminal death investigations constitute a small portion of deaths investigated by the Coroner, these deaths are studied in great detail because of the issues and legal consequences involved. By this action, the criminal justice system is offered the best support. The public health dimension of the Coroner’s function is designed to isolate and identify causes of sudden unexpected death. When an infectious agent or poison is implicated in a death, the family and persons recently in physical contact with the deceased are notified in order that they might receive any needed medical treatment.