Requesting Autopsies/Coroner Reports
Autopsy & postmortem reports from the Coroner's Office are NOT up for Public record.
This means, ONLY family and certain agencies involved are able to obtain these records.
"FAMILY" means: the surviving spouse, state registered domestic partner, or any child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, or sister of the decedent, or any person who was guardian of the decedent at the time of death.
Please see, RCW 68.50.105 for the list of those that are applicable to obtain these.
FAMILIES REQUESTING REPORTS:
If you are listed, in the RCW's, as one that is able to obtain a report, please contact the coroner's office and we would be happy to provide these to you.
Please be prepared to provide your identification as well as possibly your birth certificate, if your name does not match the decedent, and we have not previously identified you as family. This is to verify you are related to the decedent.
Reports do NOT go out until the case is completely closed. This means ALL documents, including forensic testing, labs, autopsy reports, etc. have to be received and our case has been finalized and closed out, prior to these records being released.
Autopsies, postmortems—Reports and records confidential—Exceptions.
(1) Reports and records of autopsies or postmortems shall be confidential, except that the following persons may examine and obtain copies of any such report or record: The personal representative of the decedent as defined in RCW 11.02.005, any family member, the attending physician or advanced registered nurse practitioner, the prosecuting attorney or law enforcement agencies having jurisdiction, public health officials, the department of labor and industries in cases in which it has an interest under RCW 68.50.103, the secretary of the department of children, youth, and families or his or her designee in cases being reviewed under RCW 74.13.640, or the secretary of the department of social and health services or his or her designee under chapter 74.34 RCW.
(2)(a) Notwithstanding the restrictions contained in this section regarding the dissemination of records and reports of autopsies or postmortems, nor the exemptions referenced under RCW 42.56.240(1), nothing in this chapter prohibits a coroner, medical examiner, or his or her designee, from publicly discussing his or her findings as to any death subject to the jurisdiction of his or her office where actions of a law enforcement officer or corrections officer have been determined to be a proximate cause of the death, except as provided in (b) of this subsection.
(b) A coroner, medical examiner, or his or her designee may not publicly discuss his or her findings outside of formal court or inquest proceedings if there is a pending or active criminal investigation, or a criminal or civil action, concerning a death that has commenced prior to January 1, 2014.
(3) The coroner, the medical examiner, or the attending physician shall, upon request, meet with the family of the decedent to discuss the findings of the autopsy or postmortem. For the purposes of this section, the term "family" means the surviving spouse, state registered domestic partner, or any child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, brother, or sister of the decedent, or any person who was guardian of the decedent at the time of death.