The Grays Harbor County Coroner’s Office is available 24 hours per day, every day of the year. During regular business hours the Coroner can be contacted at 360-537-6139. After business hours the 24 hour answering service number is 360-532-2322. The FAX number is 360-533-4633. The e-mail address of County Coroner Dan Burns is firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is located at 1006 North “H” Street, Aberdeen. The office is on the Ground Floor of the Grays Harbor Community Hospital – East Campus.
There are times during normal business hours when there will not be any staff in the Office. However, the on-call Deputy Coroner or the Coroner can always be reached by telephone, as noted above. The Coroner’s staff is often working in the field. If you wish to come into the Office it is best to call first and arrange a mutually agreeable time.
THE RESPONSIBILITIES AND ROLE OF THE COUNTY CORONER
The Coroner and his staff serve both the living and the deceased citizens of our County.
All deaths occurring in Grays Harbor County are reported to the Coroner’s Office. The death reports are usually made by a hospital, a nursing facility, a hospice service, an emergency medical service or by a law enforcement agency.
However, all citizens have the responsibility of reporting any deceased person they know of per RCW 68.50.020, which reads, in part: "It shall be the duty of every person who knows of the existence and location of a dead body coming under the jurisdiction of the coroner as set forth in RCW 68.50.010, to notify the coroner thereof in the most expeditious manner possible, unless such person shall have good reason to believe that such notice has already been given…….."
All sudden, unexpected, suspicious and violent deaths that occur in this County are thoroughly investigated by the Coroner and appropriate law enforcement agencies. These deaths can be a concern to the public health, safety and the well-being of other citizens. The Coroner’s responsibility is to accurately determine the circumstances leading up to death and the cause and manner of the death. Extensive investigative procedures, modern medical and forensic sciences and qualified professional specialists are utilized, as needed, to determine the cause and manner of death.
CORONER’S JURISDICTION OVER REMAINS
RCW 68.50.010 states: "The jurisdiction of bodies of all deceased persons who come to their death suddenly when in apparent good health without medical attendance within the thirty-six hours preceding death; or when the circumstances of death indicate death was caused by unnatural or unlawful means, or where death occurs under suspicious circumstances; or where a coroner’s autopsy or post mortem or coroner’s inquest is to be held; or where death results from unknown or obscure causes, or where death occurs within one year following an accident; or where the death is caused by any violence whatsoever, or where death results from a known or suspected abortion; whether self-induced or otherwise; where a death apparently results from drowning, hanging, burns, electrocution, gunshot wounds, stabs or cuts, lightning, starvation, radiation, exposure, alcoholism, narcotics or other addictions, tetanus, strangulation, suffocation or smothering; or where death is due to premature birth or still birth; or where death is due to a violent contagious disease or suspected contagious disease which may be a public health hazard; or where death results from alleged rape, carnal knowledge or sodomy, where death occurs in a jail or prison; where a body is found dead or is not claimed by relatives or friends, is hereby vested in the county coroner, which bodies may be removed and placed in the morgue under such rules as are adopted by the coroner with the approval of the county commissioners, having jurisdiction, providing therein how the bodies shall be brought to and cared for at the morgue and held for the proper identification where necessary."
You may also refer to Chapter 68.50 RCW, Chapter 70.02 RCW; and HIPAA Federal Regulation 45 CFR 164.512 (g) (1) for additional information regarding the laws governing the Coroner’s Office.
You may refer to the local phone book for assistance in handling specific needs. Some examples might be the local law enforcement agency, the housing authority, the local Social Security Office, utility companies, residential clean-up firms, charitable organizations, etc.
You can ask the Coroner any further questions you may have regarding the death of your loved one. He will provide as much information as possible to assist you.