In the County of Napa, the Deputy Coroner responsibilities are carried out by Sheriffs Deputies and Coroner Investigators. Deputy Coroners investigate each Coroner case to determine the identity of the deceased, and the circumstances surrounding each death. Deputy Coroners search for wills, medical records, and other legal documents and if necessary they order autopsies to be performed by a forensic pathologist to determine cause of death. Deputy Coroners also have the responsibility to attempt to notify the decedent's next of kin.
The information gathered from the entire investigation is forwarded to the "Chief Deputy Coroner" to prepare and sign a certificate of death reflecting the cause and manner of death.
Circumstances Warranting Investigation
Government Code 27491 instructs the Napa County Coroner to inquire into and determine the circumstances, manner, and cause of:
- All sudden, violent, or unusual deaths.
- Unattended deaths.
- Deaths where the deceased has not been seen by a physician for 20 days.
- Deaths related to or following known or suspected self-induced or criminal abortion.
- Known or suspected homicide, suicide, or accidental poisoning.
- Deaths that occurred as a result of an accident or injury, whether prior or recent.
- Deaths due to drowning, fire, hanging, gunshot, stabbing, cutting, exposure, starvation, alcoholism, drug addiction, strangulation, or aspiration.
- SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)
- Death due to criminal means
- Deaths that occur while the subject is in custody. (includes jail, transport, etc.)
- Deaths due to contagious disease.
- Deaths due to an occupational disease or exposure.
- Deaths that occur at the Napa State Hospital.
- Deaths under such circumstances as to afford a reasonable ground to suspect that the death was caused by the criminal act of another.