19-4301. County coroner to investigate deaths. (1) When a county coroner is informed that a person has died, the county coroner shall investigate that death if:
(a) The death occurred as a result of violence, whether apparently by homicide, suicide or by accident;
(b) The death occurred under suspicious or unknown circumstances; or
(c) The death is of a stillborn child or any child if there is a reasonable articulable suspicion to believe that the death occurred without a known medical disease to account for the stillbirth or child’s death.
(2) If a death occurs that is not attended by a physician and the cause of death cannot be certified by a physician, the coroner must refer the investigation of the death to the sheriff of the county or the chief of police of the city in which the incident causing the death occurred or, if such county or city is unknown, to the sheriff or chief of police of the county or city where the body was found. The investigation shall be the responsibility of the sheriff or chief of police. Upon completion of the investigation, a written report shall be provided to the coroner of the county in which the death occurred or, if such county is unknown, to the coroner of the county where the body was found.
(3) A coroner in the county where the incident causing the death occurred or, if such county is unknown, the coroner in the county where the body was found, may conduct an inquest if there are reasonable grounds to believe as a result of the investigation that the death occurred as provided in subsection (1) of this section.
(4) If an inquest is to be conducted, the coroner shall summon six (6) persons qualified by law to serve as jurors for the inquest.
(5) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect the tenets of any church or religious belief.
[19-4301, added 2005, ch. 80, sec. 2, p. 291.]