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Coroner
Coroner Chuck Harris
Coroner Chuck Harris

Coroner's office
It is the duty of the Porter County Coroners office to ensure, on behalf of the community, that sudden and unexpected death, or those deaths that occur under violent or suspicious circumstances are thoroughly investigated.  the role is undertaken by investigative and medical staff to find answers to the questions which are important to the deceased family, involved law enforcement agencies, insurance companies and the Indiana Department of Health to name a few.



Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the Coroner involved in the death of my loved one?

A: The following is a list of death in which the Coroner's office is contacted*:

1.     Sudden death of a healthy child.

2.     Death occurring within 24 hours of admission at a hospital or health care facility (NOT  a  Nursing Home)

3.     Physician unable to state cause of death, after careful review of medical chart, or decedent does not have a physician

4.     Known or suspected homicide

5.     Known or suspected suicide

6.     Related to or following known suspected self-induced or criminal abortion

7.     Following an accident or injury primary or contributory, either old or recent

8.     Drowning, fire, exposure, acute alcoholism, drug addiction, strangulation, aspiration or malnutrition

9.     Accidental poisoning (food, chemical, drug, therapeutic agents)

10.   Occupational disease or occupational hazards

11.   Known or suspect contagious disease constituting a public hazard, excluding A.I.D.S.

12.   All deaths where patient is under anesthetic

13.   Incarceration

14.   All deaths of unidentified persons

* The Coroner will determine if the death will be investigated or if the death certificate can be routinely signed by the attending physician.




When will I know the cause of death?


If established after a preliminary investigation, forensic examination of the decedent's body and review of medical records, the cause of death will be available to the relatives within 24-48 hours after the death is reported to the coroners office.  If further testing and investigation is required, it could take several months.

May I come to the coroners office to view my loved one?

No.  Because our office does not have its own facilities we cannot give permission.


Why are Autopsies Performed?

A: There are a number of reasons autopsies are performed. However, the basic reason is to determine the medical cause of death. The primary reason is to gather evidence for presentation in a court of law.


 Is there a charge for these services?

A: No, not if performed by our office


Statistics

 414 Deaths Reported to the Coroner's Office in 2015 vs.358 in 2014

DRUG Deaths - 2015 - (36 TOTAL DRUG OVERDOSES)

11 Heroin Deaths in 2015

5 Fentanyl
9 Alcohol
24 Opioid Related Deaths
3 Cocaine
12 Rx (other than opioids)

‡ The homicide deaths occurring in Porter Co. average over the past 18 years is 3 per year.
    We had 4 homicides in 2015

†† The average number of autopsies per year (standard and forensic) is 75. (55 in 2015)

25 Suicides in 2015

18 Motor Vehicle Accidents in 2015



Contact Us
Chuck Harris, D-ABMDI
Coroner
Email

155 Indiana Ave.
Suite 101
Valparaiso, IN 46383

Ph: 219-548-0208
Fx: 219-548-5830

Hours
Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.