When is the Coroner's Office involved in a death?
State law requires the Coroner to inquire into and determine the circumstances, manner and cause of all unexpected, violent or unusual deaths. Certain natural deaths must be investigated as well.
Where will my relative/friend be taken?
If an autopsy is required to be performed, he or she will be taken to Greenville Memorial Hospital. If no autopsy is to be performed and the family has chosen a funeral home, the funeral home will be contacted to pick up the remains.
Is it necessary for me to come to the Coroner's Office to identify the body?
No. In a majority of cases, visual identification is not necessary to positively identify the body.
When is it necessary for the Coroner's Office to perform an autopsy?
The Coroner authorizes an autopsy when one is needed to establish the cause and manner of death. In many cases, an autopsy is not needed when the death is clearly from "natural causes." Should an autopsy be necessary, the Coroner will certify the death certificate soon after the examination is completed. Occasionally, more extensive testing is required, in which case an interim death certificate will be signed by the Coroner. A final death certificate will be signed following the completion of the special testing.
Can we donate my relative's organs and tissues?
South Carolina has a law that provides an opportunity for the next of kin to donate organs and tissues. Donation can dramatically improve, even safe the lives of others. We are glad to assist you by contacting the appropriate agency for you so that they may explain all the options and benefits of donating. If you prefer, you may call the Life Point at 1-800-269-9777. Click here for more information.
How long will it take before my relative/friend is released from the Coroner's Office?
Generally, release will be made no later than early afternoon of the next day.
Are there other decisions that relatives need to make upon the death of a family member?
As soon as possible, the funeral home of your choice should be selected. Notify the Coroner's Office investigator of this decision if you are unable to provide this information at the time of death notification. We will then contact the funeral home and advise them that the death is being investigated by the Coroner's Office. Our office does not select funeral homes nor do we make arrangements. It will be necessary for the legal next of kin to provide the Coroner with authorization for release of the deceased, even if someone else is making the arrangements. The next of kin should contact the Coroner's Office to authorize the release when funeral home information is not immediately available.
When may personal belongings be claimed?
The legal next of kin may claim personal belongings in the custody of the Coroner. You will be provided a contact number for the coroner assisting you if the personal belongings cannot be released immediately. Other belongings or personal property secured by law enforcement officers can be claimed by the legal next of kin if that property is not required to be held pending a criminal investigation or court proceedings. Contact that law enforcement agency for release procedures.
Will autopsy and toxicology reports be available?
Yes, the next of kin may obtain a copy by written request. These documents and other Coroner records will be available after completion of the death investigation and final authorization for release by Coroner Kelley.
Will there be a charge for the Coroner's services?
No. The activities of the Coroner's Office are funded by Pickens County Government.
Where can I obtain a death certificate?
Death certificates are filed in the Vital Records office located at the Health Department. Certificates for deaths which occur in Anderson, Oconee, and Greenville counties are filed at the Health Department in those counties. Should you require certified copies, they can be ordered through the funeral home or they may be purchased at the appropriate Health Department office. The address for the Pickens County Health Department is 200 McDaniel Avenue, Pickens, South Carolina 29671. Their telephone number is (864) 898-5826
My relative/friend was involved in a traffic accident. How may I obtain a copy of the accident report?
The Coroner's Office may only provide documents generated by our office. A traffic accident report may be obtained from the investigating law enforcement agency, i.e., South Carolina Highway Patrol or the local police department of the city where the accident occurred.
My relative/friend was in the military. Who can I contact for information?
Persons who have served in the Armed Forces, were honorably discharged, and met the duration requirement are entitled to a Veteran's burial. For more information, contact the Pickens County Office of Veteran's Affairs at (864) 898-5926. For more information on Military Veterans or Social Security benefits, contact your funeral director.
We have no funds for burial. What can I do?
If the decedent's estate does not have sufficient funds for burial, you should select a funeral home and explain the situation to the director. The funeral home has several options available to assist you in making arrangements. In certain deaths of a violent nature, funds may be available through the Victims Advocate Office, located at the Pickens County Law Enforcement Center.
If I need to enter my relative's/friend's residence, what should I do?
In order to enter, you need to obtain permission from the legal next of kin. If you are unable to locate the next of kin, you should contact the Coroner's Office for assistance.