Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 58
Coroners and Inquests

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Office of coroner (certain counties).

58.010. In each county of the state, except in counties of the second class which prior to January 1, 1975, have a population of more than one hundred twenty thousand and less than two hundred thousand, and counties of the first class not having a charter form of government and any other county which adopts the provisions of sections 58.700 through 58.765, there shall be an office of coroner.

(L. 1945 p. 1404 § 1, A.L. 1973 S.B. 122)

Coroner, election--term of office (certain counties).

58.020. At the general election in the year 1948, and every four years thereafter, the qualified electors of the county at large in each county in this state in which a coroner is to be elected shall elect a coroner who shall be commissioned by the governor, and who shall hold his office for a term of four years and until his successor is duly elected or appointed and qualified. Each coroner shall enter upon the duties of his office on the first day of January next after his election.

(L. 1945 p. 1404 § 2, A. 1949 H.B. 2016, A.L. 1973 S.B. 122)

Qualifications.

58.030. No person shall be elected or appointed to the office of coroner unless he be a citizen of the United States, over the age of twenty-one years, and shall have resided within the state one whole year, and within the county for which he is elected, six months next preceding the election.

(L. 1945 p. 1404 § 3)

Vacancy filled by governor.

58.040. When any vacancy shall occur in the office of coroner by death, resignation, removal, refusal to act, or in any other manner, it shall be the duty of the governor to fill such vacancy by appointing some eligible person to such office. The person so appointed shall take the oath, give bond and otherwise qualify for the office as required of coroners regularly elected, and shall discharge the duties of such office for the remainder of the term for which he is appointed.

(L. 1945 p. 1404 § 4)

Oath--bond.

58.050. All coroners, before they enter upon the duties of their office, shall take the oath prescribed by the constitution, and shall give bond to the state of Missouri, in the penalty of at least one thousand dollars, with sufficient sureties, residents of the county, conditioned for the faithful performance of the duties of their office.

(RSMo 1939 § 13228)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11609; 1919 § 5917; 1909 § 2922

Bond--sufficiency, how determined (certain counties).

58.060. The county commission shall, once in every year, in each county where a coroner is elected, examine into the sufficiency of the official bond given by the coroner, and the sureties thereto; and if it shall appear that the bond of any coroner, or the sureties thereto, are insufficient, the commission shall cause a record thereof to be made by their clerk, and shall give notice thereof to the coroner, and require him to give a new bond, to the satisfaction of the commission, within such time as they shall order.

(RSMo 1939 § 13229, A.L. 1973 S.B. 122)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11610; 1919 § 5918; 1909 § 2923

Failure to give bond--office vacated.

58.070. If a coroner neglect to give bond and qualify within twenty days after his election, or shall fail to give bond when required under the preceding section, his office shall be deemed vacant.

(RSMo 1939 § 13230)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11611; 1919 § 5919; 1909 § 2924

Salary in lieu of fees (certain second class counties).

58.090. In all counties of the second class in which a coroner is required by section 58.010, the coroner shall receive an annual salary in lieu of all fees, charges, emoluments, and money due to, or receivable by, the coroner, by virtue of any statute, for services rendered.

(L. 1945 p. 1560 § 1, L. 1953 p. 384 § 1, A.L. 1959 S.B. 69, A.L. 1973 S.B. 122, A.L. 1987 S.B. 65, et al.)

Effective 1-1-88

Compensation of county coroner--training program, attendance required,when, expenses, compensation (noncharter counties).

58.095. 1. The county coroner in any county, other than in a first classification chartered county, shall receive an annual salary computed on a basis as set forth in the following schedule. The provisions of this section shall not permit or require a reduction in the amount of compensation being paid for the office of coroner on January 1, 1997:

Assessed Valuation Salary $ 18,000,000 to 40,999,999 $8,000 41,000,000 to 53,999,999 8,500 54,000,000 to 65,999,999 9,000 66,000,000 to 85,999,999 9,500 86,000,000 to 99,999,999 10,000 100,000,000 to 130,999,999 11,000 131,000,000 to 159,999,999 12,000 160,000,000 to 189,999,999 13,000 190,000,000 to 249,999,999 14,000 250,000,000 to 299,999,999 15,000 300,000,000 or more 16,000

2. One thousand dollars of the salary authorized in this section shall be payable to the coroner only if the coroner has completed at least twenty hours of classroom instruction each calendar year relating to the operations of the coroner's office when approved by a professional association of the county coroners of Missouri unless exempted from the training by the professional association. The professional association approving the program shall provide a certificate of completion to each coroner who completes the training program and shall send a list of certified coroners to the treasurer of each county. Expenses incurred for attending the training session may be reimbursed to the county coroner in the same manner as other expenses as may be appropriated for that purpose. All elected or appointed coroners, deputy coroners, and assistants to the coroner shall complete the annual training described in this subsection within six months of election or appointment.

3. The county coroner in any county, other than a first classification charter county, shall not, except upon two-thirds vote of all the members of the salary commission, receive an annual compensation in an amount less than the total compensation being received for the office of county coroner in the particular county for services rendered or performed on the date the salary commission votes.

4. For the term beginning in 1997, the compensation of the coroner, in counties in which the salary commission has not voted to pay one hundred percent of the maximum allowable salary, shall be a percentage of the maximum allowable salary established by this section. The percentage applied shall be the same percentage of the maximum allowable salary received or allowed, whichever is greater, to the presiding commissioner or sheriff, whichever is greater, of that county for the year beginning January 1, 1997. In those counties in which the salary commission has voted to pay one hundred percent of the maximum allowable salary, the compensation of the coroner shall be based on the maximum allowable salary in effect at each time a coroner's term of office commences following the vote to pay one hundred percent of the maximum allowable compensation. Subsequent compensation shall be determined as provided in section 50.333.

5. Effective January 1, 1997, the county coroner in any county, other than a county of the first classification with a charter form of government, may, upon the approval of the county commission, receive additional compensation for any month during which investigations or other services are performed for three or more decedents in the same incident during such month. The additional compensation shall be an amount that when added to the regular compensation the sum shall equal the monthly compensation of the county sheriff.

(L. 1987 S.B. 65, et al. § 5, A.L. 1988 S.B. 431, A.L. 1990 S.B. 580, A.L. 1994 H.B. 1486, A.L. 1996 S.B. 693, A.L. 1997 S.B. 11, A.L. 2011 H.B. 675)

Compensation of deputy coroner, additional--training program,certification.

58.096. Each deputy county coroner upon certification by the Missouri Coroners and Medical Examiners Association of attendance at a training program required by the provisions of subsection 2 of section 58.095 shall receive annual compensation, in addition to other compensation, of one thousand dollars per year so long as subsection 2 of section 58.095 remains in effect. This additional compensation shall be paid in the same manner and at the same times as other compensation is paid to the deputy county coroner. The provisions of this section shall not permit or require a reduction in the amount of compensation received by any person holding the office of deputy county coroner on January 1, 1989.

(L. 1989 S.B. 389 § 1, A.L. 2003 S.B. 376)

Fees (third and fourth class counties).

58.100. The coroner in counties of the third and fourth classes, shall charge and collect on behalf of the county every fee accruing to his office by law, except such fees as are chargeable to the county, and shall report and pay such fees over to the county treasurer in the manner provided by law.

(L. 1945 p. 992 § 2, L. 1945 p. 1551 § 2, A. 1949 H.B. 2016)

Travel expense (counties of third and fourth classification).

58.120. In each county of the third and fourth classifications, the county commission shall allow the coroner, payable at the end of each month out of the county treasury, the amount provided under section 50.333 for each mile actually and necessarily traveled in the performance of the coroner's official duties.

(L. 1945 p. 992 § 1a, A.L. 1961 p. 300, A.L. 1994 H.B. 1486)

Deputies, appointment, compensation.

58.160. The coroner, in all counties in this state in which a coroner is required by section 58.010 may have a deputy. In such counties which now contain or may hereafter contain a city of seventy-five thousand inhabitants and less than two hundred thousand inhabitants, may have such a number of deputies and assistants, to be recommended by the coroner and appointed by the county commission as deemed necessary for the prompt and proper discharge of the duties of his office, and such deputies and assistants shall be divided into classes as follows: Class "A", assistants or deputies; class "B", assistants or deputies; class "C", office clerks and copyists. Class "A" assistants or deputies shall be paid sixteen hundred and eighty dollars per year. Class "B" assistants or deputies shall be paid fifteen hundred dollars per year. Class "C" office clerks and copyists shall be paid twelve hundred dollars per year. All other counties shall appoint a deputy coroner, at the request of and upon the recommendation of the coroner, who may discharge all duties and exercise all powers of the coroner, and shall receive the compensation of the coroner while serving in the coroner's absence, be compensated as provided by the county commission or serve without compensation.

(RSMo 1939 § 13489, A. 1949 H.B. 2016, A.L. 1973 S.B. 122, A.L. 1986 H.B. 1164, A.L. 1994 H.B. 1486)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11857; 1919 § 11065

To be conservator of the peace.

58.180. A coroner shall be a conservator of the peace throughout his county, and shall take inquests of violent and casual deaths happening in the same, or where the body of any person coming to his death shall be discovered in his county.

(RSMo 1939 § 13227, A.L. 1989 S.B. 127, et al.)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11608; 1919 § 5916; 1909 § 2921

To execute process when sheriff disqualified.

58.190. Every coroner, within the county for which he is elected or appointed, shall serve and execute all writs and precepts, and perform all other duties of the sheriff, when the sheriff shall be a party, or when it shall appear to the court out of which the process shall issue, or to the clerk thereof, in vacation, that the sheriff is interested in the suit, related to or prejudiced against any party thereto, or in any wise disqualified from acting; in such case, the county commission may require the coroner to give an additional bond.

(RSMo 1939 § 13144)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11524; 1919 § 11648; 1909 § 11218

To perform duties of sheriff when office is vacant.

58.200. When the office of sheriff shall be vacant, by death or otherwise, the coroner of the county is authorized to perform all the duties which are by law required to be performed by the sheriff, until another sheriff for such county shall be appointed and qualified, and such coroner shall have notice thereof, and in such case, said coroner may appoint one or more deputies, with the approbation of the judge of the circuit court; and every such appointment, with the oath of office endorsed thereon, shall be filed in the office of the clerk of the circuit court of the county.

(RSMo 1939 § 13145)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11525; 1919 § 11649; 1909 § 11219

Sheriff or chief deputy to perform coroner's duties, when.

58.205. The sheriff of the proper county or his chief deputy shall, in the temporary absence of the coroner and deputy for any reason, perform all the duties imposed by law upon the coroner.

(L. 1951 p. 374 § 58.005, A.L. 1986 H.B. 1164)

Special deputy coroner or special deputy medical examiner may beappointed, when--record-keeping requirements.

58.206. 1. The coroner or medical examiner of any county or any city not within a county may, for a period not to exceed thirty days, appoint a special deputy coroner or special deputy medical examiner in the event of any natural disaster, mass casualty, or other emergency situation. Such special deputy coroners or medical examiners shall be the coroner or medical examiner or deputy coroner or medical examiner of any other county in the state who is willing to serve under this section. Any special deputy coroner or medical examiner appointed under this section shall be directly supervised by the coroner or medical examiner making the appointment, and shall not receive any compensation for services rendered, but shall be reimbursed for all actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of official duties under this section. Such expenses shall be paid upon the receipt of an itemized record of such expenses approved by the coroner or medical examiner making the appointment.

2. The coroner or medical examiner making the appointment shall keep accurate records of all persons appointed under this section, and such records shall include the full name, address, date of birth, date of appointment, and date released from the appointment of the special deputy coroner or medical examiner appointed under this section. The coroner or medical examiner making an appointment under this section shall file such records with the county clerk in such coroner's or medical examiner's county.

(L. 2006 H.B. 1222 § 58.217)

Coroner to file death certificates with registrar of vital statistics,when--compensation for extra duty.

58.215. 1. In addition to all other duties imposed by law, the coroner of the city of St. Louis shall certify and file with the state registrar of vital statistics a death certificate in manner and form as provided by section 193.160 for the death of all persons buried by his office for which the city received reimbursement for the cost of such burial from the federal government under the provisions of the Federal Social Security Act.

2. For the performance of the duties imposed by this section, the coroner shall receive, in addition to all other compensation provided by law, the sum of seven thousand dollars per year to be paid in equal monthly installments as other official salaries in the city are paid.

(L. 1972 H.B. 195)

Coroner may issue warrant to summon coroner's jury, when.

58.260. Every coroner, having been notified of the dead body of any person, supposed to have come to his or her death by violence or casualty, being found within his county, may make out his or her warrant, directed to the sheriff of the county where the dead body is found, requiring him or her forthwith to summon a jury of six good and lawful citizens of the county, to appear before such coroner, at the time and place in his or her warrant expressed, and to inquire how and by whom he or she came to his or her death.

(RSMo 1939 § 13231, A.L. 1945 p. 990, A.L. 2002 H.B. 2002 merged with S.B. 1113)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11612; 1919 § 5920; 1909 § 2925

CROSS REFERENCE:

Powers and duties of prosecuting attorney in third and fourth classification counties in regard to inquests which may result in charges of felony, 56.300

Sheriff to execute warrant.

58.270. The sheriff to whom such warrant shall be directed shall forthwith execute the same, and shall repair to the place where the inquest is to be held at the time mentioned, and make return of the warrant, with his proceedings thereon, to the coroner who granted the same.

(RSMo 1939 § 13232, A.L. 1945 p. 990, A.L. 2002 H.B. 2002 merged with S.B. 1113)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11613; 1919 § 5921; 1909 § 2926

Failure to execute warrant--penalty.

58.280. Any sheriff failing to execute such warrant or to return the same shall forfeit and pay the sum of eight dollars.

(RSMo 1939 § 13233, A.L. 1945 p. 990)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11614; 1919 § 5922; 1909 § 2927

Failure of juror to appear--penalty.

58.290. Every person summoned as a juror, who shall fail to appear, or make a reasonable excuse to the coroner for his nonattendance, within five days after the time appointed within the warrant, shall forfeit and pay the sum of five dollars, which fine shall be recoverable by civil action at the instance of the coroner, and in the name of the state, before any associate circuit judge, and be applied to the use of the county.

(RSMo 1939 § 13234)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11615; 1919 § 5923; 1909 § 2928

Coroner to administer an oath to the jurors.

58.300. The coroner shall administer an oath or affirmation to the jurors, in the following form:

You solemnly swear (or affirm) that you will diligently inquire and true presentment make, how and by whom the person who here lies dead came to his death, and you shall deliver to me, coroner of this county, a true inquest thereof, according to such evidence as shall be laid before you and according to your knowledge.

(RSMo 1939 § 13235)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11616; 1919 § 5924; 1909 § 2929

Charge to be given to jury by coroner.

58.310. As soon as the jury shall be sworn, the coroner shall give them a charge, upon their oaths, to declare of the death of the person, whether he or she died by felony or accident; and if of felony, who were the principals and who were accessories, and if the act was justified, and all the material circumstances relating thereto; and if by accident, whether by the act of man, and the manner thereof, and who was present, and who was the finder of the body, and whether he or she was killed in the same place where the body was found, and, if elsewhere, by whom, and how the body was brought there, and all other circumstances relating to the death; and if he or she died of his or her own act, then the manner and means thereof, and the circumstances relating thereto.

(RSMo 1939 § 13236, A.L. 2002 H.B. 2002 merged with S.B. 1113)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11617; 1919 § 5925; 1909 § 2930

Jury to remain together--exception.

58.320. When the jury are sworn they shall remain together, and proclamation shall be made for any persons who can give evidence to draw near, and they shall be heard; provided, however, when there are women members of a jury, they may separate from the men members of the jury, if any, when not receiving evidence or deliberating upon their verdict.

(RSMo 1939 § 13237, A.L. 1945 p. 991)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11618; 1919 § 5926; 1909 § 2931

CROSS REFERENCE:

Prosecuting attorney in third and fourth classification counties to attend inquest, 56.300

Coroner to issue subpoenas.

58.330. Every coroner shall be empowered to issue his or her summons for witnesses, and such evidence, documents, and materials of substance, commanding them to come before him or her to be examined, and to declare their knowledge concerning the matter in question.

(RSMo 1939 § 13238, A.L. 2002 H.B. 2002 merged with S.B. 1113)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11619; 1919 § 5927; 1909 § 2932

Coroner to administer oath to witnesses.

58.340. He or she shall administer to them an oath or affirmation in form as follows:

You do swear (or affirm) that the evidence you shall give to the inquest, concerning the death of the person here dead, shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

(RSMo 1939 § 13239, A.L. 2002 H.B. 2002 merged with S.B. 1113)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11620; 1919 § 5928; 1909 § 2933

Evidence to be reduced to writing.

58.350. The evidence of such witnesses shall be taken down in writing and subscribed by them, and if it relate to the trial of any person concerned in the death, then the coroner shall bind such witnesses, by recognizance, in a reasonable sum for their appearance before the court having criminal jurisdiction of the county where the felony appears to have been committed, at the next term thereof, there to give evidence; and he shall return to the same court the inquisition, written evidence and recognizance by him taken.

(RSMo 1939 § 13240)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11621; 1919 § 5929; 1909 § 2934

Jury to deliver verdict in writing.

58.360. The jury, having viewed the body by photographic, electronic, or other means, heard the evidence, and made all the inquiry in their power, shall draw up and deliver to the coroner their verdict upon the death under consideration, in writing under their hand, and the same shall be signed by the coroner.

(RSMo 1939 § 13241, A.L. 2002 H.B. 2002 merged with S.B. 1113)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11622; 1919 § 5930; 1909 § 2935

Death by felony--duty of coroner.

58.370. The coroner, upon an inquisition found before him of the death of any person by the felony of another, shall speedily inform one or more associate circuit judges of the proper county, or some judge or justice of some court of record, and it shall be the duty of such officer forthwith to issue his process for the apprehension and securing for trial of such person.

(RSMo 1939 § 13242, A.L. 1978 H.B. 1634)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11623; 1919 § 5931; 1909 § 2936

Effective 1-2-79

Reports of coroner (certain counties)--solicitation regarding funeralarrangements prohibited--embalming of body required, when.

58.375. 1. In all counties in which a coroner is required by section 58.010, the coroner shall, upon holding an inquest and securing the jury's verdict on the inquest, immediately file a record of the proceedings in the office of the prosecuting attorney.

2. In all such counties where investigation by the coroner shows no inquest to be necessary, the coroner shall file a written report with the prosecuting attorney setting forth the facts and circumstances surrounding the case, together with his conclusions and the action taken. The cost of the additional transcript hereby required shall be paid from county funds.

3. The coroner or his deputy shall contact the appropriate family member or legal representative of the deceased within six hours from discovery of death regarding disposition of the body. There shall be no solicitation by the coroner or his deputy regarding the funeral arrangements of the deceased. If no family member or legal representative can be found within six hours, the coroner shall order the embalming of the deceased body and the cost of such embalming shall be paid by a family member or the deceased's legal representative when found. If no family member or legal representative can be found within ten days from the time the body was discovered, the provisions of section 58.460 shall apply. Any act of solicitation prohibited under this section shall also be grounds for removal under sections 106.230 to 106.290.

(L. 1953 p. 384 § 1, A.L. 1973 S.B. 122, A.L. 1986 H.B. 1164, A.L. 1989 S.B. 389)

Coroner to issue a writ of attachment for witnesses, when.

58.380. Whenever it shall appear to the satisfaction of the coroner that any person, duly subpoenaed to appear before him at an inquest, shall have failed, without just cause, to attend as a witness in conformity to the command of such subpoena, and it appears to the satisfaction of the coroner that the testimony of such witness is material, the coroner shall have power to issue an attachment to compel the attendance of such witness at such inquest.

(RSMo 1939 § 13260)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11641; 1919 § 5949; 1909 § 2954

Attachment, how served--fees to be paid, by whom.

58.390. Every such attachment may be directed to any constable or sheriff of the district, city or county in which the witness resides, and shall be executed in the same manner as a warrant in a criminal case, and the fees of the officer for issuing and serving the same shall be paid by the person against whom the same shall have been issued, unless he show reasonable cause for his omission to attend, in which case the costs shall be taxed as in cases of attachment of witnesses in criminal cases.

(RSMo 1939 § 13261, A. 1949 H.B. 2016)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11642; 1919 § 5950; 1909 § 2955

Sheriff unable to execute duties, warrant may be directed tohouseholder.

58.400. If the sheriff is unable to execute the duties required by this chapter, the officer taking the inquest may direct his warrant to any householder of the county, who shall perform the duties of sheriff, be subject to the same penalties, and entitled to the same fees.

(RSMo 1939 § 13244, A.L. 1945 p. 990)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11625; 1919 § 5933; 1909 § 2938

Witnesses--discharged, when--may be fined or imprisoned, when.

58.410. If any witness so attached shall show reasonable excuse for not appearing, as required by the subpoena, he shall be discharged, either with or without the payment of the costs of the attachment, at the discretion of the coroner, but if he fail to show any good and sufficient reason for not attending, he shall be fined in such sum as the coroner shall think reasonable to impose, not exceeding ten dollars, and may be committed to the city or county jail until such fine and costs are paid, in like manner as persons may be committed for the nonpayment of fine and costs in criminal cases, and any fine so imposed and collected shall be paid into the school fund of the county or city in which the coroner holds his position.

(RSMo 1939 § 13262)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11643; 1919 § 5951; 1909 § 2956

Coroner to notify witnesses to appear.

58.420. When an inquest shall be continued by the coroner, it shall be his duty forthwith to call before him all witnesses summoned in the case, and verbally notify such as may attend to appear before him, to testify at the inquest on the day set for the continuance of the same, which verbal notice shall be in all respects as valid as a summons, and the coroner shall take note of the names of the witnesses so notified. No further summons shall thereafter issue to any witness so notified, and such notification shall have the same effect as an original summons, and may be the basis for an attachment of the witness.

(RSMo 1939 § 13263)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11644; 1919 § 5952; 1909 § 2957

Witness attached may be discharged on bail.

58.430. When a writ of attachment, issued by the coroner, shall be executed, the officer may discharge such witness on his entering into recognizance to the state of Missouri, with sufficient bond, in the sum of one hundred dollars, with one or more sureties signing the same. The officer executing the writ is hereby authorized to take the same, providing for the appearance and due attendance of such witness, according to the command of such writ.

(RSMo 1939 § 13264)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11645; 1919 § 5953; 1909 § 2958

Refusal to testify--penalty.

58.440. Any person summoned as a witness to appear before the coroner, and attending, who shall refuse to give evidence which may be lawfully required to be given by such person, on oath or affirmation, may be committed to the city or county jail by the coroner, there to remain without bail until he give such evidence or be discharged by due course of law.

(RSMo 1939 § 13265)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11646; 1919 § 5954; 1909 § 2959

Deaths due to motor vehicle or motorized watercraft accidents--reportrequired when--tests for alcohol and drugs, when.

58.445. 1. If any person within a coroner's or medical examiner's jurisdiction dies within eight hours of, and as a result of, an accident involving a motor vehicle, the coroner or medical examiner shall report the death and circumstances of the accident to the Missouri state highway patrol in writing. If any person within a coroner's or medical examiner's jurisdiction dies within eight hours of, and as a result of, an accident involving a motorized watercraft and was thought to have been the operator of such watercraft, the coroner or medical examiner shall report the death and circumstances of the accident to the Missouri state highway patrol, water patrol division, in writing. The report required by this subsection shall be made within five days of the conclusion of the tests required in subsection 2 of this section.

2. The coroner or medical examiner shall make, or cause to be made, such tests as are necessary to determine the presence and percentage concentration of alcohol, and drugs if feasible, in the blood of the deceased. The results of these tests shall be included in the coroner's or medical examiner's report to the state highway patrol as required by subsection 1 of this section.

(L. 1973 S.B. 41 §§ 1, 2, A.L. 1982 S.B. 513, A.L. 1993 S.B. 180, A.L. 1995 H.B. 217, A.L. 2010 H.B. 1868)

Test results, how used, released, when.

58.449. The contents of the report and results of any test made pursuant to the requirements or authorizations of sections 58.445 to 58.449 shall be used primarily for statistical purposes which do not reveal the identity of the deceased and shall not be public information. The contents of the report and the results of any test so made shall be released upon request to any person involved in the accident, spouse of or any family member related within the second degree of consanguinity to a person killed in the accident, attorney for a person involved in the accident, or insurer of a person involved in the accident or whose property is involved in an accident for purposes of investigation of any civil claim or defense. This information shall be released to other parties only upon the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum by a court of competent jurisdiction for use in any civil or criminal action arising out of the accident.

(L. 1973 S.B. 41 § 4, A.L. 1982 S.B. 513, A.L. 2000 H.B. 1353)

Death to be reported and investigated by coroner, certain counties,when--place of death, two counties involved, howdetermined--efforts to accommodate organ donation.

58.451. 1. When any person, in any county in which a coroner is required by section 58.010, dies and there is reasonable ground to believe that such person died as a result of:

(1) Violence by homicide, suicide, or accident;

(2) Criminal abortions, including those self-induced;

(3) Some unforeseen sudden occurrence and the deceased had not been attended by a physician during the thirty-six-hour period preceding the death;

(4) In any unusual or suspicious manner;

(5) Any injury or illness while in the custody of the law or while an inmate in a public institution;

the police, sheriff, law enforcement officer or official, or any person having knowledge of such a death shall immediately notify the coroner of the known facts concerning the time, place, manner and circumstances of the death. Immediately upon receipt of notification, the coroner or deputy coroner shall take charge of the dead body and fully investigate the essential facts concerning the medical causes of death, including whether by the act of man, and the manner of death. The coroner or deputy coroner may take the names and addresses of witnesses to the death and shall file this information in the coroner's office. The coroner or deputy coroner shall take possession of all property of value found on the body, making exact inventory of such property on the report and shall direct the return of such property to the person entitled to its custody or possession. The coroner or deputy coroner shall take possession of any object or article which, in the coroner's* or the deputy coroner's opinion, may be useful in establishing the cause of death, and deliver it to the prosecuting attorney of the county.

2. When a death occurs outside a licensed health care facility, the first licensed medical professional or law enforcement official learning of such death shall immediately contact the county coroner. Immediately upon receipt of such notification, the coroner or the coroner's deputy shall make the determination if further investigation is necessary, based on information provided by the individual contacting the coroner, and immediately advise such individual of the coroner's intentions.

3. Upon taking charge of the dead body and before moving the body the coroner shall notify the police department of any city in which the dead body is found, or if the dead body is found in the unincorporated area of a county governed by the provisions of sections 58.451 to 58.457, the coroner shall notify the county sheriff or the highway patrol and cause the body to remain unmoved until the police department, sheriff or the highway patrol has inspected the body and the surrounding circumstances and carefully noted the appearance, the condition and position of the body and recorded every fact and circumstance tending to show the cause and manner of death, with the names and addresses of all known witnesses, and shall subscribe the same and make such record a part of the coroner's report.

4. In any case of sudden, violent or suspicious death after which the body was buried without any investigation or autopsy, the coroner, upon being advised of such facts, may at the coroner's own discretion request that the prosecuting attorney apply for a court order requiring the body to be exhumed.

5. The coroner may certify the cause of death in any case where death occurred without medical attendance or where an attending physician refuses to sign a certificate of death or when a physician is unavailable to sign a certificate of death.

6. When the cause of death is established by the coroner, the coroner shall file a copy of the findings in the coroner's office within thirty days.

7. If on view of the dead body and after personal inquiry into the cause and manner of death, the coroner determines that a further examination is necessary in the public interest, the coroner on the coroner's own authority may make or cause to be made an autopsy on the body. The coroner may on the coroner's own authority employ the services of a pathologist, chemist, or other expert to aid in the examination of the body or of substances supposed to have caused or contributed to death, and if the pathologist, chemist, or other expert is not already employed by the city or county for the discharge of such services, the pathologist, chemist, or other expert shall, upon written authorization of the coroner, be allowed reasonable compensation, payable by the city or county, in the manner provided in section 58.530. The coroner shall, at the time of the autopsy, record or cause to be recorded each fact and circumstance tending to show the condition of the body and the cause and manner of death.

8. If on view of the dead body and after personal inquiry into the cause and manner of death, the coroner considers a further inquiry and examination necessary in the public interest, the coroner shall make out the coroner's warrant directed to the sheriff of the city or county requiring the sheriff forthwith to summon six good and lawful citizens of the county to appear before the coroner, at the time and place expressed in the warrant, and to inquire how and by whom the deceased died.

9. (1) When a person is being transferred from one county to another county for medical treatment and such person dies while being transferred, or dies while being treated in the emergency room of the receiving facility the place which the person is determined to be dead shall be considered the place of death and the county coroner or medical examiner of the county from which the person was originally being transferred shall be responsible for determining the cause and manner of death for the Missouri certificate of death.

(2) The coroner or medical examiner in the county in which the person is determined to be dead may with authorization of the coroner or medical examiner from the original transferring county, investigate and conduct postmortem examinations at the expense of the coroner or medical examiner from the original transferring county. The coroner or medical examiner from the original transferring county shall be responsible for investigating the circumstances of such and completing the Missouri certificate of death. The certificate of death shall be filed in the county where the deceased was pronounced dead.

(3) Such coroner or medical examiner of the county where a person is determined to be dead shall immediately notify the coroner or medical examiner of the county from which the person was originally being transferred of the death of such person, and shall make available information and records obtained for investigation of the death.

(4) If a person does not die while being transferred and is institutionalized as a regularly admitted patient after such transfer and subsequently dies while in such institution, the coroner or medical examiner of the county in which the person is determined to be dead shall immediately notify the coroner or medical examiner of the county from which such person was originally transferred of the death of such person. In such cases, the county in which the deceased was institutionalized shall be considered the place of death. If the manner of death is by homicide, suicide, accident, criminal abortion including those that are self-induced, child fatality, or any unusual or suspicious manner, the investigation of the cause and manner of death shall revert to the county of origin, and this coroner or medical examiner shall be responsible for the Missouri certificate of death. The certificate of death shall be filed in the county where the deceased was pronounced dead.

10. There shall not be any statute of limitations or time limits on the cause of death when death is the final result or determined to be caused by homicide, suicide, accident, child fatality, criminal abortion including those self-induced, or any unusual or suspicious manner. The place of death shall be the place in which the person is determined to be dead. The final investigation of death in determining the cause and matter of death shall revert to the county of origin, and the coroner or medical examiner of such county shall be responsible for the Missouri certificate of death. The certificate of death shall be filed in the county where the deceased was pronounced dead.

11. Except as provided in subsection 9 of this section, if a person dies in one county and the body is subsequently transferred to another county, for burial or other reasons, the county coroner or medical examiner where the death occurred shall be responsible for the certificate of death and for investigating the cause and manner of the death.

12. In performing the duties, the coroner or medical examiner shall comply with sections 58.775 to 58.785 with respect to organ donation.

(L. 1957 p. 334 § 1, A.L. 1959 H.B. 396, A.L. 1969 p. 118, A.L. 1973 S.B. 122, A.L. 1983 H.B. 477, A.L. 1986 H.B. 1164, A.L. 1989 S.B. 389, A.L. 1990 H.B. 1416, A.L. 1996 H.B. 811, A.L. 2008 S.B. 1139)

*Word "coroner" appears in original rolls.

CROSS REFERENCES:

Autopsy, consent required, 194.115

Pituitary gland to be retained unless contrary indication by decedent or next of kin, 58.770

Child's death under age eighteen, notice to coroner by persons havingknowledge--referral to child fatality review panel,when--procedure for nonsuspicious death, form, duties--autopsy,child death pathologist, when--disagreement on need for autopsy,procedure--violation by coroner, penalty.

58.452. 1. When any person, in any county in which a coroner is required by section 58.010, dies and there are reasonable grounds to believe that such person was less than eighteen years of age, who is eligible to receive a certificate of live birth, the police, sheriff, law enforcement officer or official, health practitioner or hospital or any person having knowledge of such a death shall immediately notify the coroner of the known facts concerning the time, place, manner and circumstances of the death. The coroner shall notify the division of the child's death pursuant to section 210.115. The coroner shall immediately evaluate the necessity for child fatality review and shall immediately notify the chairman of the child fatality review panel. The child fatality review panel shall be activated within twenty-four hours of such notice to review any death which includes one or more of the suspicious circumstances described in the protocol developed by the department of social services, state technical assistance team pursuant to section 210.194.

2. If the coroner determines that the death of the person under age eighteen years, who is eligible to receive a certificate of live birth, does not include any suspicious circumstances listed in the protocol, the coroner shall complete a nonsuspicious child death form provided by the department of social services, state technical assistance team and have the form cosigned by the chairman of the child fatality review panel and forward the original to the department of social services, state technical assistance team within forty-eight hours of receiving notice of the child's death.

3. When a child under the age of eighteen years, who is eligible to receive a certificate of live birth dies, the coroner shall notify a certified child death pathologist to determine the need for an autopsy. The certified child death pathologist, in conjunction with the coroner, shall determine the need for an autopsy. If there is disagreement concerning the need for the autopsy, the certified child death pathologist shall make the determination unless the child fatality review panel, within twelve hours, decides against the certified child death pathologist.

4. When there is a disagreement regarding the necessity for an autopsy, the certified child death pathologist shall file a report with the chairman of the child fatality review panel indicating the basis for the disagreement. The pathologist's report on the disagreement shall be included in the report to the department of social services, state technical assistance team. If an autopsy is determined necessary, the autopsy shall be performed by a certified child death pathologist within twenty-four hours of receipt of the body by the pathologist or within twenty-four hours of the agreement by the pathologist to perform the autopsy, whichever occurs later.

5. Knowing failure by a coroner to refer a suspicious death of a child under the age of eighteen years, who is eligible to receive a certificate of live birth, to a child fatality review panel or to a certified child death pathologist is a class A misdemeanor.

(L. 1991 H.B. 185, A.L. 1994 S.B. 595)

Death certificate, how furnished, form, where filed, when (certaincounties).

58.455. The coroner, in all deaths supposed to have been caused by violence or in a suspicious or unusual manner or unusual circumstances by the action of chemical, thermal or electrical agents, or following abortion, or from diseases resulting from injury or infection, or suddenly when not disabled by recognizable disease, shall furnish a death certificate in manner and form as provided by section 193.145. The death certificate shall be filed with the state registrar of vital statistics within thirty-six hours after the cause of death is known.

(L. 1957 p. 334 § 2, A.L. 1959 H.B. 396, A.L. 1969 H.B. 314, A.L. 1973 S.B. 122, A.L. 1983 H.B. 477, A.L. 1986 H.B. 1164, A.L. 1989 S.B. 389)

Penalty for failure to report death (certain counties).

58.457. Any person failing to supply the information required by section 58.451 is guilty of a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than sixty days, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

(L. 1957 p. 334 § 3, A.L. 1959 H.B. 396)

Disposition of body a duty of coroner, when.

58.460. Whenever an inquest shall be held, or any case in which the coroner is involved, if there be no relative or friend of the deceased, nor any person willing to bury the body, nor any person whose duty it is to attend to such burial, the coroner shall order the embalming of the body, procure an inexpensive plain coffin, and cause a grave to be dug and the body to be conveyed thereto and buried, or shall cause the body to be cremated and shall cause the cremated remains to be disposed of in a lawful manner in a marked grave. It shall be the duty of the coroner, in so doing, to avoid all unnecessary expense, and to render to the commission an accurate statement of all money expended by him for such purpose; and the county commission shall make to him a reasonable allowance for his actual expenses in procuring the coffin, transporting the deceased to the grave, digging the grave and burying the body, or in obtaining such cremation and disposition of the cremated remains in a marked grave; and also a reasonable allowance, according to the circumstances, for his own time and services in attending to such preparations and burial, or to such cremation and disposition in a marked grave.

(RSMo 1939 § 13245, A.L. 1989 H.B. 64 merged with S.B. 389)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11626; 1919 § 5934; 1909 § 2939

Death by poisoning--coroner may have analysis and examination made.

58.470. Whenever an inquest shall be held, and the coroner shall have good reason to believe that the deceased came to his death by poison administered by the hand of some person other than the deceased, he may, at the request of the jury, cause chemical analysis and microscopical examination of the body of the deceased, or any part of it, to be made; and the testimony of medical and chemical experts may be introduced for the purpose of showing how and in what manner the deceased came to his death; and the coroner shall certify to the county commission of his county the fact of such analysis or examination, and testimony of such medical or chemical experts, and that the same was, in his opinion, necessary to an examination into the cause of the death of the deceased; and the commission shall allow such fees or compensation for such analysis, examination or medical or chemical testimony of experts as shall be deemed by said commission to be just and reasonable.

(RSMo 1939 § 13258)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11639; 1919 § 5947; 1909 § 2952

CROSS REFERENCE:

Autopsy, consent required, 194.115

Unclaimed money or property found on deceased, turned over topublic administrator by coroner.

58.490. The coroner, within thirty days after an inquest upon a dead body, shall deliver to the county or city public administrator any money or other property that may be found upon the body, unless claimed in the meantime by the legal representatives of the deceased. If he or she fails to do so, the public administrator may proceed against him or her for its recovery by a civil action in the name of the state for the use of the county or city.

(RSMo 1939 § 13266, A.L. 2001 H.B. 745)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11647; 1919 § 5955; 1909 § 2960

Duty of public administrator on receipt of money or property.

58.500. Upon delivery of any money to the public administrator, he or she shall follow the procedures as set out in section 473.743.

(RSMo 1939 § 13267, A.L. 2007 S.B. 22 merged with S.B. 497)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11648; 1919 § 5956; 1909 § 2961

Fees of coroners.

58.520. Coroners shall be allowed fees for their services as follows; provided, that when persons come to their death at the same time or by the same casualty, fees shall only be paid as for one examination:

For the view of a dead body $5.00 For issuing a warrant summoning each jury of inquest .75 For swearing each jury .50 For each subpoena for witnesses (all names to be put in one subpoena if possible) .25 For taking each recognizance (all names to be put in one recognizance) .75 For going from his residence to the place of viewing a dead body and return, each mile .08

The above fees, together with the fees allowed jurors, constables and witnesses, in all inquests, shall be paid out of the county treasury as other demands. For performing the duties of sheriff, the coroners shall be entitled to the same fees as are for the time being allowed to sheriffs for the same services.

(RSMo 1939 § 13424)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11802; 1919 § 11010; 1909 § 10713

Additional fees, when allowed.

58.530. Whenever the coroner, being himself a physician or surgeon, shall conduct a postmortem examination of the dead body of a person who came to his death by violence or casualty, and it shall appear to the county commission that such examination was necessary to ascertain the cause of such person's death, the county commission may allow the coroner therefor an additional fee, not exceeding twenty-five dollars, to be paid as his other fees in views and inquests; but section 58.560 shall not be construed to apply to any such examination when made by the coroner himself.

(RSMo 1939 § 13257)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11638; 1919 § 5946; 1909 § 2951

Compensation for taking testimony.

58.540. For taking down the testimony at an inquest, the coroner shall be allowed ten cents for every hundred words, and twenty-five cents for certifying the same.

(RSMo 1939 § 13247)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11628; 1919 § 5936; 1909 § 2941

Liability for costs.

58.550. If an inquest is held over the body of a minor, the parent or conservator of the minor is liable for the costs and expenses of burial. If the person over whose body an inquest is held has any estate, the cost and expenses of burial shall be paid out of his estate. If there is no estate nor person liable and able to pay the expenses, they shall be allowed by the county commission out of the county treasury.

(RSMo 1939 § 13249, A.L. 1959 S.B. 69, A.L. 1983 S.B. 44 & 45)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11630; 1919 § 5938; 1909 § 2943

Surgeon's fee for postmortem examination, how paid.

58.560. When a physician, surgeon or pathologist shall be called on by the coroner, or any associate circuit judge of the county acting as the coroner, to conduct a postmortem examination, the county commission of said county shall be authorized to allow such physician, surgeon, or pathologist to be paid out of the county treasury, such fees or compensation as shall be deemed by said commission to be just and reasonable.

(RSMo 1939 § 13250, A.L. 1949 p. 298)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11631; 1919 § 5939; 1909 § 2944

Coroner to certify costs to county commission.

58.570. The coroner or other officer holding an inquest, as provided for by this chapter, shall present to the county commission within thirty days of the termination of the inquest a certified statement of all the costs and expenses of the inquest, including his own fees, the fees of jurors, witnesses, constables and others entitled to fees for which the county is liable; and the county commission shall audit and allow the same, and shall make a certified copy of the same, without delay, and deliver such copy to the county treasurer, which copy shall be deemed a sufficient warrant or order on the treasurer for the payment of the fees therein specified to each person entitled to such fees. The county treasurer shall pay to each person on demand, or to his legal representatives, the fees to which he is thus entitled, and shall take the proper receipt therefor, and produce the same in his settlements with the county commission as vouchers for the money so paid out by him.

(RSMo 1939 § 13251, A.L. 1957 p. 339)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11632; 1919 § 5940; 1909 § 2945

Costs and fees, when not allowed.

58.580. No costs or fees to the coroner shall be allowed by the county commission, in any case of the view of or inquest on a dead body, unless it appears to the commission that the coroner, either before or during the view or inquest, had reasonable cause to believe that such body was that of a person who had come to his death by violence or casualty, or who, being unknown, was found dead within such county; but where any such inquest or view has been held by the coroner, on a notification by some person, without reasonable cause to suppose that such dead body was that of a person unknown, or who had come to his death by violence or casualty, the person giving such notification, without reasonable cause, as aforesaid, shall be liable to pay all the costs, fees and expenses of such view or inquest.

(RSMo 1939 § 13252)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11633; 1919 § 5941; 1909 § 2946

When costs to be paid by relatives.

58.590. Whenever any known person shall have died from any cause other than violence or casualty, and a certificate of the cause of death is necessary for the burial of the body of such person, the coroner shall, at the request of the relatives or friends of such person, hold a view or inquest on the body, and the person making such request shall pay all costs, fees and expenses of such inquest or view, nor shall the county be liable for any of them unless it shall appear to the county commission that in such a view or inquest there appeared reasonable cause to suspect that said dead person came to his death by violence or casualty, in which case the costs, fees and expenses of such view or inquest shall be paid as in ordinary cases; and although such person may have died from disease or natural cause, where, under this section, the county is not liable for the fees, costs and expenses of a view or inquest, and the same cannot be made out of the person requesting the same, or out of the estate of the deceased, the county commission may, in its discretion, allow and pay the fees of necessary witnesses at the view or inquest; but all services of the coroner, constable and other officers in or about the same shall be rendered gratuitously, as in the case of a suit by a plaintiff permitted to sue as a poor person.

(RSMo 1939 § 13253)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11634; 1919 § 5942; 1909 § 2947

Fraudulent charges--penalty.

58.600. Any coroner who shall knowingly charge to any person, or present to the county commission for allowance, any items of fees, costs and expenses not authorized by law, or for any service not actually performed, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction thereof, shall forthwith be removed from office. Such removal shall be declared in the judgment for such misdemeanor, and thereupon the office of such coroner shall be declared vacant, and his successor appointed according to law.

(RSMo 1939 § 13254)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11635; 1919 § 5943; 1909 § 2948

Costs, when paid in advance.

58.610. The county commission may authorize and require the coroner to pay, at the view or inquest itself, the legal fees due to jurors, witnesses and interpreters at the same, out of money to be advanced to him, from time to time, out of the county funds, and for the legal disbursement of which he and his sureties shall be liable on his official bond, in any county in which such order shall have been made by the county commission thereof; jurors, witnesses and interpreters, at any view or inquest, shall receive only such fees as are allowed by law, for the time being, for like services in a civil case before an associate circuit judge; and the county commission may prescribe the form and manner in which the coroner shall make proof to it of his payment of such fees. It shall be the duty of the coroner to summon to the view or inquest only such number of witnesses as, from a preliminary inquiry into the nature of the case, and the cause of the death, may reasonably appear sufficient to prove the essential facts thereof; and if it shall appear to the county commission that any witness had been unnecessarily summoned to testify at a view or inquest, the fees paid as aforesaid to such witness shall not be allowed in favor of the coroner in the settlement of his account for the money so advanced to him as aforesaid, except in a case in which some credible person shall have declared, under oath, to the coroner, that the person whose body is to be viewed came to his death by violence, or other criminal act of another, the coroner shall not summon any jury, but shall himself view the body and declare the cause of death.

(RSMo 1939 § 13255, A.L. 1978 H.B. 1634)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11636; 1919 § 5944; 1909 § 2949

Effective 1-2-79

Coroner's duties as to costs.

58.620. It shall be the duty of the coroner to execute any requirement of the county commission, made by virtue of section 58.610, for the payment of fees at views and inquests.

(RSMo 1939 § 13256, A.L. 1955 p. 347)

Prior revisions: 1929 § 11637; 1919 § 5945; 1909 § 2950

Medical examiner appointed, certain counties--option for certaincounties with elected office of coroner to retain coroner or appointa medical examiner, procedure, compensation.

58.700. 1. Except as provided in subsection 2 and subsection 3 of this section, the governing body of all counties of the second classification which prior to January 1, 1975, have a population of more than one hundred twenty thousand and less than two hundred thousand and all counties of the first classification not having a charter form of government shall appoint a county medical examiner and set his compensation.

2. The county governing body of any county of the first classification which has a population of at least ninety thousand but less than ninety-one thousand inhabitants and the county governing body of any county of the first classification which has a population of at least sixty thousand but less than seventy thousand inhabitants which borders a county of the third classification which has a population of at least thirty-five thousand inhabitants may, within one year after becoming a county of the first classification, elect to retain the office of coroner as set forth in this chapter, or may appoint a county medical examiner within such year or at any time thereafter, except that any decision to appoint a county medical examiner after such year shall be made at least one year prior to the expiration of the term of office of the county coroner. Notwithstanding any other provisions of law to the contrary, the governing body of the county shall set the compensation of the coroner or medical examiner without regard to any schedule.

3. The county governing body of any county which becomes a county of the first classification after December 31, 1998, may, within one year after becoming a county of the first classification, adopt an order retaining the county coroner until such time as the county commission subsequently adopts an order appointing a medical examiner. Any subsequent decision to appoint a county medical examiner shall be made at least one year prior to the expiration of the term of office of the county coroner. The governing body of the county shall set the compensation of the coroner or medical examiner without regard to any schedule.

(L. 1983 S.B. 122 § 1, A.L. 1991 S.B. 386, A.L. 1996 H.B. 1504 merged with S.B. 806, A.L. 1997 S.B. 11)

Qualifications, tenure--vacancy, how filled (certain counties).

58.705. 1. The county medical examiner shall be a physician duly licensed to practice by the state board of the healing arts.

2. The county medical examiner shall serve at the pleasure of the governing body of the county. In the event of a vacancy in the office of county medical examiner, the governing body of the county shall appoint a successor.

(L. 1973 S.B. 122 §§ 2, 3)

Assistant examiners and employees--appointment, compensation (certaincounties).

58.710. 1. The county medical examiner may appoint, with the approval of the governing body of the county and subject to such terms and conditions and at such rates of compensation as the governing body of the county may prescribe, assistant county medical examiners and such other professional or technical personnel, clerks and other employees as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of sections 58.010, 58.020, 58.060, 58.090, 58.160, 58.375, 58.451, 58.455 and 58.700 to 58.765 in that county.

2. Assistant county medical examiners shall have the same qualifications as the county medical examiner and may perform all duties of the county medical examiner during his absence.

(L. 1973 S.B. 122 §§ 4, 5)

Duties of medical examiner--prosecuting attorney to act as sheriff,when (certain counties).

58.715. In addition to the duties prescribed by sections 58.010, 58.020, 58.060, 58.090, 58.160, 58.375, 58.451, 58.455 and 58.700 to 58.765 the medical examiner shall perform those duties and functions prescribed by law for coroners which are not in conflict with the provisions of sections 58.010, 58.020, 58.060, 58.090, 58.160, 58.375, 58.451, 58.455, and 58.700 to 58.765; except that, the medical examiner shall not perform any duty of the sheriff. The duties of the sheriff which are prescribed by law for coroners shall be performed by the prosecuting attorney in all counties in which there is a medical examiner.

(L. 1973 S.B. 122 § 6)

Medical examiner, certain counties, to investigate, when--deathcertificate issued, when--place of death--two counties involved,how determined--efforts to accommodate organ donation.

58.720. 1. When any person dies within a county having a medical examiner as a result of:

(1) Violence by homicide, suicide, or accident;

(2) Thermal, chemical, electrical, or radiation injury;

(3) Criminal abortions, including those self-induced;

(4) Disease thought to be of a hazardous and contagious nature or which might constitute a threat to public health; or when any person dies:

(a) Suddenly when in apparent good health;

(b) When unattended by a physician, chiropractor, or an accredited Christian Science practitioner, during the period of thirty-six hours immediately preceding his death;

(c) While in the custody of the law, or while an inmate in a public institution;

(d) In any unusual or suspicious manner;

the police, sheriff, law enforcement officer or official, or any person having knowledge of such a death shall immediately notify the office of the medical examiner of the known facts concerning the time, place, manner and circumstances of the death. Immediately upon receipt of notification, the medical examiner or his designated assistant shall take charge of the dead body and fully investigate the essential facts concerning the medical causes of death. He may take the names and addresses of witnesses to the death and shall file this information in his office. The medical examiner or his designated assistant shall take possession of all property of value found on the body, making exact inventory thereof on his report and shall direct the return of such property to the person entitled to its custody or possession. The medical examiner or his designated assistant examiner shall take possession of any object or article which, in his opinion, may be useful in establishing the cause of death, and deliver it to the prosecuting attorney of the county.

2. When a death occurs outside a licensed health care facility, the first licensed medical professional or law enforcement official learning of such death shall contact the county medical examiner. Immediately upon receipt of such notification, the medical examiner or the medical examiner's deputy shall make a determination if further investigation is necessary, based on information provided by the individual contacting the medical examiner, and immediately advise such individual of the medical examiner's intentions.

3. In any case of sudden, violent or suspicious death after which the body was buried without any investigation or autopsy, the medical examiner, upon being advised of such facts, may at his own discretion request that the prosecuting attorney apply for a court order requiring the body to be exhumed.

4. The medical examiner shall certify the cause of death in any case where death occurred without medical attendance or where an attending physician refuses to sign a certificate of death, and may sign a certificate of death in the case of any death.

5. When the cause of death is established by the medical examiner, he shall file a copy of his findings in his office within thirty days after notification of the death.

6. (1) When a person is being transferred from one county to another county for medical treatment and such person dies while being transferred, or dies while being treated in the emergency room of the receiving facility, the place which the person is determined to be dead shall be considered the place of death and the county coroner or the medical examiner of the county from which the person was originally being transferred shall be responsible for determining the cause and manner of death for the Missouri certificate of death.

(2) The coroner or medical examiner in the county in which the person is determined to be dead may, with authorization of the coroner or medical examiner from the transferring county, investigate and conduct postmortem examinations at the expense of the coroner or medical examiner from the transferring county. The coroner or medical examiner from the transferring county shall be responsible for investigating the circumstances of such and completing the Missouri certificate of death. The certificate of death shall be filed in the county where the deceased was pronounced dead.

(3) Such coroner or medical examiner, or the county where a person is determined to be dead, shall immediately notify the coroner or medical examiner of the county from which the person was originally being transferred of the death of such person and shall make available information and records obtained for investigation of death.

(4) If a person does not die while being transferred and is institutionalized as a regularly admitted patient after such transfer and subsequently dies while in such institution, the coroner or medical examiner of the county in which the person is determined to be dead shall immediately notify the coroner or medical examiner of the county from which such person was originally transferred of the death of such person. In such cases, the county in which the deceased was institutionalized shall be considered the place of death. If the manner of death is by homicide, suicide, accident, criminal abortion including those that are self-induced, child fatality, or any unusual or suspicious manner, the investigation of the cause and manner of death shall revert to the county of origin, and this coroner or medical examiner shall be responsible for the Missouri certificate of death. The certificate of death shall be filed in the county where the deceased was pronounced dead.

7. There shall not be any statute of limitations or time limits on cause of death when death is the final result or determined to be caused by homicide, suicide, accident, criminal abortion including those self-induced, child fatality, or any unusual or suspicious manner. The place of death shall be the place in which the person is determined to be dead, but the final investigation of death determining the cause and manner of death shall revert to the county of origin, and this coroner or medical examiner shall be responsible for the Missouri certificate of death. The certificate of death shall be filed in the county where the deceased was pronounced dead.

8. Except as provided in subsection 6 of this section, if a person dies in one county and the body is subsequently transferred to another county, for burial or other reasons, the county coroner or medical examiner where the death occurred shall be responsible for the certificate of death and for investigating the cause and manner of the death.

9. In performing the duties, the coroner or medical examiner shall comply with sections 58.775 to 58.785 with respect to organ donation.

(L. 1973 S.B. 122 §§ 7, 8, A.L. 1989 S.B. 389, A.L. 1990 H.B. 1416, A.L. 1996 H.B. 811, A.L. 2008 S.B. 1139)

Child's death under age eighteen, notice to medical examiner bypersons having knowledge--referral to child fatality reviewpanel, when--procedure for nonsuspicious death, form,duties--autopsy, child death pathologist, when--disagreement onneed for autopsy, procedure--violation by medical examiner,penalty.

58.722. 1. When any person dies within a county having a medical examiner and there are reasonable grounds to believe that such person was less than eighteen years of age, who was eligible to receive a certificate of live birth, the police, sheriff, law enforcement officer or official, or any person having knowledge of such a death shall immediately notify the medical examiner of the known facts concerning the time, place, manner and circumstances of the death. The medical examiner shall notify the division of the child's death pursuant to section 210.115. The medical examiner shall immediately evaluate the necessity for child fatality review and shall immediately notify the chairman of the child fatality review panel. The child fatality review panel shall be activated within twenty-four hours of such notice to review any death which includes one or more of the suspicious circumstances described in the protocol developed by the department of social services, state technical assistance team pursuant to section 210.194.

2. If the medical examiner determines that the death of the person under age eighteen years, who is eligible to receive a certificate of live birth, does not include any suspicious circumstances listed in the protocol, the medical examiner shall complete a nonsuspicious child death form provided by the department of social services, state technical assistance team, have the form cosigned by the chairman of the child fatality review panel and forward the original to the department of social services, state technical assistance team within forty-eight hours of receiving notice of the child's death.

3. When a child under the age of eighteen years, who is eligible to receive a certificate of live birth, dies, the medical examiner shall notify a certified child death pathologist to determine the need for an autopsy. The certified child death pathologist, in conjunction with the medical examiner, shall determine the need for an autopsy. If there is disagreement concerning the need for the autopsy, the certified child death pathologist shall make the determination unless the child fatality review panel, within twelve hours, decides against the certified child death pathologist.

4. When there is a disagreement regarding the necessity for an autopsy, the certified child death pathologist shall file a report with the chairman of the child fatality review panel indicating the basis for the disagreement. The pathologist's report on the disagreement shall be included in the report to the department of social services, state technical assistance team. If an autopsy is determined necessary, the autopsy shall be performed by a certified child death pathologist within twenty-four hours of receipt of the body by the pathologist or within twenty-four hours of the agreement by the pathologist to perform the autopsy, whichever occurs later.

5. Knowing failure by a medical examiner to refer a suspicious death of a child under the age of eighteen years, who is eligible to receive a certificate of live birth, to a child fatality review panel or to a certified child death pathologist is a class A misdemeanor.

(L. 1991 H.B. 185, A.L. 1994 S.B. 595)

Autopsy, when--performed by whom--report filed (certain counties).

58.725. In cases in which, in the opinion of the medical examiner, an autopsy is necessary, the autopsy shall be performed by the medical examiner if he is a pathologist or by such competent pathologist as may be authorized and employed by the medical examiner. A detailed description of the findings of the autopsy, and the conclusions drawn therefrom, shall be filed in the office of the medical examiner.

(L. 1973 S.B. 122 § 9)

CROSS REFERENCE:

Pituitary gland to be retained unless contrary indication by decedent or next of kin, 58.770

Law enforcement officers to cooperate with medical examiner (certaincounties).

58.730. All law enforcement officers and other officials shall cooperate fully with the department of the medical examiner and shall report immediately any death which comes to their knowledge under any of the circumstances set forth in section 58.720, subsection 1.

(L. 1973 S.B. 122 § 10)

Dead body, how disposed of (certain counties).

58.735. After an investigation has been completed, including an autopsy if one is made, the dead body shall be delivered to the relatives or friends of the deceased person for burial. If no person claims the body, it shall be disposed of as provided by law.

(L. 1973 S.B. 122 § 11)

Records, contents, how kept (certain counties)

58.740. The medical examiner shall keep full and complete records in his office, properly indexed, giving the name, if known, of each* deceased person investigated under sections 58.010, 58.020, 58.060, 58.090, 58.160, 58.375, 58.451, 58.455 and 58.700 to 58.765 the place where the body was found, date and cause of death, and all other available information. The original report of the medical examiner or pathologist and the detailed findings of the autopsy, if any, shall be attached to the record of each case. The medical examiner shall promptly deliver to the prosecuting attorney of the county copies of all records relating to every death in which, in the judgment of such medical examiner, further investigation may be deemed advisable. The prosecuting attorney of the county may obtain from the office of the medical examiner copies of these records or other information which he may deem necessary.

(L. 1973 S.B. 122 § 12)

*Word "each" does not appear in original rolls.

Oaths, shall administer--examinations--affidavits (certain counties).

58.745. The medical examiners shall administer oaths and affirmations, take affidavits, and make examinations as to any matter within the jurisdiction of their respective offices, but the medical examiners shall not be required to summon a jury of inquisition.

(L. 1973 S.B. 122 § 13)

Penalty for failing to supply information (certain counties).

58.750. Any person failing to supply the information required by section 58.720, subsection 4, is guilty of misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than sixty days, or by both the fine and imprisonment.

(L. 1973 S.B. 122 § 14)

Election to adopt, when--form of ballot--transition provisions(certain counties).

58.760. 1. The provisions of sections 58.010, 58.020, 58.060, 58.090, 58.160, 58.375, 58.451, 58.455 and 58.700 to 58.765 may be adopted by any other county of this state after approval by a vote of the people of the county. The governing body of the county may make an order presenting the question for the establishment of a county medical examiner and shall, upon a petition signed by a number of voters in the county equal to five percent of the total vote cast in the county at the last preceding election for governor requesting an election on the question, submit the proposition at an election.

2. The proposition shall be submitted in substantially the following form:

Shall the office of county medical examiner be established?

3. If a majority of those voting on the question vote for the adoption of a county medical examiner, the provisions of sections 58.010, 58.020, 58.060, 58.090, 58.160, 58.375, 58.451, 58.455 and 58.700 to 58.765 shall apply to the county.

4. The coroner in any county adopting sections 58.010, 58.020, 58.060, 58.090, 58.160, 58.375, 58.451, 58.455 and 58.700 to 58.765 in office at the time the county adopts sections 58.010, 58.020, 58.060, 58.090, 58.160, 58.375, 58.451, 58.455 and 58.700 to 58.765 shall not be removed from office during the remainder of the term of office for which he was elected, but upon the expiration of his term, or upon his death or resignation, the office of coroner is abolished in the county and a county medical examiner shall be approved as provided in sections 58.010, 58.020, 58.060, 58.090, 58.160, 58.375, 58.451, 58.455 and 58.700 to 58.765.

5. As used in sections 58.700 through 58.765 in reference to any county of the first class composed entirely of a city with a population of more than six hundred thousand, the term "governing body of the county" means the mayor of such city, and the terms "city medical examiner" or "assistant city medical examiner" shall be used in lieu of "county medical examiner" or "assistant county medical examiner".

(L. 1973 S.B. 122 § 16, A.L. 1978 H.B. 971)

Two or more counties may contract for medical examiner to serve themjointly (certain counties).

58.765. Any two or more counties adopting the provisions of sections 58.010, 58.020, 58.060, 58.090, 58.160, 58.375, 58.451, 58.455 and 58.700 to 58.765 or to whom sections 58.010, 58.020, 58.060, 58.090, 58.160, 58.375, 58.451, 58.455 and 58.700 to 58.765 apply may by contract among themselves join in the appointment of a county medical examiner to serve all such counties. The governing body of all the counties shall approve the contract, administer the appointment and allocate the costs among the counties.

(L. 1973 S.B. 122 § 17)

Pituitary gland to be retained when autopsy is performed unlessdecedent or next of kin has indicated a contrary intention.

58.770. When an autopsy is performed by a coroner's physician or medical examiner under authority granted by sections 58.451 and 58.725, the physician or medical examiner may retain the pituitary gland removed at the time of autopsy unless a contrary indication was given by the decedent or is declared by the next of kin for purposes of medical research, education and therapy.

(L. 1977 H.B. 726 § 1)

Applicability of definitions.

58.775. For the purpose of sections 58.775 to 58.785, the definitions in section 194.210 are applicable.

(L. 2008 S.B. 1139)

Cooperation with procurement organization required--postmortemexamination requirements--removal of body parts permitted, when.

58.780. 1. A coroner or medical examiner shall cooperate with a procurement organization to maximize the opportunity to recover anatomical gifts for the purpose of transplantation, therapy, research, or education.

2. If a coroner or medical examiner receives notice from a procurement organization that an anatomical gift might be available or was made with respect to a decedent whose body is under the jurisdiction of the coroner or medical examiner and a postmortem examination is going to be performed, unless the coroner or medical examiner denies recovery in accordance with section 58.785, the coroner or medical examiner or designee shall conduct a postmortem examination of the body or the part in a manner and within a time period compatible with its preservation for the purposes of the gift.

3. A part may not be removed from the body of a decedent under the jurisdiction of a coroner or medical examiner for transplantation, therapy, research, or education unless the part is the subject of an anatomical gift. The body of a decedent under the jurisdiction of the coroner or medical examiner may not be delivered to a person for research or education unless the body is the subject of an anatomical gift. This subsection does not preclude a coroner or medical examiner from performing the medicolegal investigation upon the body or parts of a decedent under the jurisdiction of the coroner or medical examiner.

(L. 2008 S.B. 1139)

Release of decedent information to procurement organizations,when--medicolegal examination permitted--recovery of body parts,requirements.

58.785. 1. Upon request of a procurement organization, a coroner or medical examiner shall release to the procurement organization the name, contact information, and available medical and social history of a decedent whose body is under the jurisdiction of the coroner or medical examiner. If the decedent's body or part is medically suitable for transplantation, therapy, research, or education, the coroner or medical examiner shall release postmortem examination results to the procurement organization. The procurement organization may make a subsequent disclosure of the postmortem examination results or other information received from the coroner or medical examiner only if relevant to transplantation or therapy.

2. The coroner or medical examiner may conduct a medicolegal examination by reviewing all medical records, laboratory test results, x-rays, other diagnostic results, and other information that any person possesses about a prospective donor or a donor whose body is under the jurisdiction of the coroner or medical examiner which the coroner or medical examiner determines may be relevant to the investigation.

3. A person that has any information requested by a coroner or medical examiner under subsection 2 of this section shall provide that information as expeditiously as possible to allow the coroner or medical examiner to conduct the medicolegal investigation within a period compatible with the preservation of parts for purposes of transplantation, therapy, research, or education.

4. If an anatomical gift has been or might be made of a part of a decedent whose body is under the jurisdiction of the coroner or medical examiner and a postmortem examination is not required, or the coroner or medical examiner determines that a postmortem examination is required but that the recovery of the part that is the subject of an anatomical gift will not interfere with the examination, the coroner or medical examiner and procurement organization shall cooperate in the timely removal of the part from the decedent for purposes of transplantation, therapy, research, or education.

5. If an anatomical gift of a part from the decedent under the jurisdiction of the coroner or medical examiner has been or might be made, but the coroner or medical examiner initially believes that the recovery of the part could interfere with the postmortem investigation into the decedent's cause or manner of death, the coroner or medical examiner shall consult with the procurement organization or physician or technician designated by the procurement organization about the proposed recovery. After consultation, the coroner or medical examiner may allow recovery.

6. Following the consultation under subsection 5 of this section, in the absence of mutually agreed upon protocols to resolve conflict between the coroner or medical examiner and the procurement organization, if the coroner or medical examiner intends to deny recovery, the coroner or medical examiner or his or her designee, at the request of the procurement organization, shall attend the removal procedure for the part before making a final determination not to allow the procurement organization to recover the part. During the removal procedure, the coroner or medical examiner or his or her designee may allow recovery by the procurement organization to proceed, or, if the coroner or medical examiner or his or her designee reasonably believes that the part may be involved in determining the decedent's cause or manner of death, deny recovery by the procurement organization.

7. If the coroner or medical examiner or his or her designee denies recovery under subsection 6 of this section, the coroner or medical examiner or his or her designee shall:

(1) Explain in a record the specific reasons for not allowing recovery of the part;

(2) Include the specific reasons in the records of the coroner or medical examiner; and

(3) Provide a record with the specific reasons to the procurement organization.

8. If the coroner or medical examiner or his or her designee allows recovery of a part under subsection 4, 5, or 6 of this section, the procurement organization shall, upon request, cause the physician or technician who removes the part to provide the coroner or medical examiner with a record describing the condition of the part, a biopsy, photograph, and any other information and observations that would assist in the postmortem examination.

9. If a coroner or medical examiner or his or her designee is required to be present at a removal procedure under subsection 6 of this section, the procurement organization requesting the recovery of the part shall, upon request, reimburse the coroner or medical examiner or his or her designee for the additional costs incurred in complying with subsection 6 of this section.

(L. 2008 S.B. 1139)


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