The Coroner's Office conducts independent investigations of deaths in Charleston County, serving as a representative of the decedents and survivors. The investigation's purpose is to determine the cause and manner of death and ensure that the circumstances surrounding it are thoroughly understood.
The King of England appointed the first Coroner of South Carolina by relocating him from England to Charleston. Until 1706, the only Coroner in the colony lived in Charleston. Beginning in 1785, Justices of the County Court selected the Coroners who were commissioned by the Governor for two-year terms. Since 1868, and in accordance with the S.C. Constitution, each of the state's 46 counties have elected a Coroner to four-year terms.
Autopsy - A through external and internal examination of a deceased person which includes the dissection and examination of bone, tissue, organs and foreign objects for the purpose of determining the cause and manner of death.
Book of Inquisitions - A record of all inquests within the county, together with evidence taken before juries and all proceedings conducted before or after the Coroner's findings.
Coroner's Inquest - An official judicial inquiry before a Coroner and Coroner's Jury for the purpose of determining the manner of death.
Victim-Witness Assistance Program - A program that provides assistance to victims and witnesses by: making available information concerning their cases; supporting their rights to protection from intimidation; making referrals to medical, social, counseling and compensation services; assisting in preparation for court; and supporting families or survivors of victims.
A: Currently Charleston County nor the State of South Carolina provide monies for burial or cremation services except through the Victim-Witness Assistance Program, operated by the Solicitor's Office.
A: Pursuant to S. C. Code Ann., § 17-5-130(A)(1), to qualify as a candidate for Coroner, an individual must 1) be a citizen of the United States; 2) be a resident of the county in which the person seeks the office of coroner for at least one year before qualifying for the election to the office; 3) be a registered voter; 4) attain the age of 21 before the date of qualifying for office; 5) have earned a high school or its recognized equivalent by the State Department of Education; and 6) not have been convicted of a felony offense or any offense involving immoral behavior.
In addition to the above requirements of subsection (A)(1), a Coroner in this state shall have at least one of the following qualifications, the person shall: a) have at least three years of experience in death investigation with a law enforcement agency, coroner or medical examiner agency; b) have a two-year associate degree and two years experience in death investigation with a law enforcement agency, coroner or medical examiner agency; c) have a four-year baccalaureate degree and one year of experience in death investigation with a law enforcement agency, coroner or medical examiner agency; d) be a law enforcement officer, as defined by Section 23-23-10(E)(1), and who is, pursuant to S. C. Code Ann., § 17-5-130(A)(2)(d), certified by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council with a minimum of two years of experience; e) have completed a recognized forensic science degree or certification program or be enrolled in a recognized forensic science degree or certification program to be completed within one year of being elected to the office of coroner; f) be a medical doctor; or g) have a bachelor of science degree in nursing.
A: A law enforcement agency, medical facility or hospice agency notifies the Coroner's Office of any death which meets certain criteria.
A: No. Permission is not needed in order to perform a Forensic Autopsy however the Coroner's Office will work closely with the next-of-kin.
A: Copies of your loved ones death certificate will be provided to you by the funeral home or South Carolina Vital Records. The Coroner's Office does not issue certified death certificates.
A: If you are interested in organ or tissue donation you should contact the South Carolina Donor Referral Network at (800)269-9777 or the American Red Cross at (843)744-8021
City of Charleston
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Town of Awendaw
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Town of Ravenel
Town of Rockville
Town of Seabrook Island
Town of Sullivan's Island
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