County coroner

The Coroner's office responds to calls twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week to investigate and determine Cause and Manner of Death. This investigation is independent of the sheriff, police, and fire departments, but is done in conjunction with the other entities.

These investigation happen when any person dies under the following circumstances:

  • As result of violence

  • By suicide or casualty

  • Suddenly when in apparent good health

  • When unattended by a physician

  • Any suspicious manner

  • Any children from birth to 16 years of age.

  • Death of inmates that die within 24 hours of been admitted to a hospital

  • Any foul play or accidental death

  • Take charge of the body

  • Pronouncement of death on any of the above circumstances

  • Signing of Death Certificates,on manner and cause of death

Howard Sanders
County Coroner

Contact Information


(706) 338-4674

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 131
Lexington, GA 30648

​A post-mortem examination (autopsy) is ordered by this office only when it is vital in the determination of Cause and Manner of Death. When ordered by this office, a charge for the autopsy is never incurred by the family. The Coroner's Office does not bring revenue into the County, but by signing Death Cerificates, millions of dollars a year is sent to the people on Death Insurance Claims.

On completion of our Coroner’s investigation and post-mortem examination, the Coroner or his Deputy, upon delivery of a death certificate initiated by the Funeral Home, will complete said death certificate and return the certificate to the Funeral Director who is then responsible for having it certified. The death certificate is then made available to the family following the funeral or services. After that initial period, copies may be purchased from the Oglethorpe County Probate Court by calling 706-743-5350 . The Probate Court is located in the Oglethorpe County Courthouse at 109 E. Boggs Street, Lexington, GA 30648. The Georgia Department of Public Health also can provide death certificates. Click here for more information. 

If any personal items of the deceased are retained by the Coroner’s Office, you must possess and present a current photo identification card and proof that you are the next of kin or executor of the will to pick up such items. Any prescription medications collected during our investigation will be destroyed following the investigation and not returned to the family.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to obtain a Coroner’s report, autopsy report and toxicology report?

In most cases the Coroner’s report is available within three business days. However in conjunction with any law enforcement agencies ongoing criminal investigation a Coroner’s report may be withheld to prevent any disclosure of privileged information that could harm the efforts of the investigation. Simple autopsy reports such as heart attacks or strokes, where the cause of death is obvious are normally ready within thirty days. An autopsy report may take as long as 26 weeks, depending on the level and type of test being done. To obtain autopsy reports from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, please direct your Open Records Act requests (under O.C.G.A. 50-18-70) to: Open Records Unit
Georgia Bureau of Investigation
3121 Panthersville Road
Decatur, Georgia 30034 Or Fax your request to 404-270-8529 Or Email your request to To assist you in obtaining the information that you need, please provide the following information in your request:

  • Your full name
  • Your mailing address
  • Your contact telephone number (and fax number if available)
  • The names of the subjects or victims of the investigation or report
  • The Georgia county or city where the incident occurred
  • The date of the investigation or incident associated with your request
All records requests are subject to the Georgia Open Records Act and may result in the requestor being billed for the requested information before the records are released. If you have questions, contact the GBI Open Records Unit at 404-270-8527.

How do I get a death certificate?

The funeral home selected by the family will generate a death certificate and send it to the Coroner’s Office for signature; we sign the certificate and return it to the funeral home which in turn files it with the Georgia Department of Health, Vital Records section.

Who decides if an autopsy is required?

The law. According to the law, the cause and manner of death must be determined for every death. In most non-violent cases, we use medical information from the decedent’s medical record and family history to establish the most likely cause of death. If medical evidence cannot be established from these sources, then an autopsy is required.

What happens to the personal property of the deceased?

Once the closest next of kinship has been established or a court order is issued naming an individual as the administrator of the estate, all property is released to that person or persons.

What happens to the prescription drugs issued to the deceased?

Federal Law states that it is a violation to be in possession of drugs not issued to you by prescription. Therefore, when a person dies, all drugs issued to the deceased person are removed and destroyed.

Does the Coroner's Office assist with funerals?

No. It is the family’s responsibility to assume custody of the decedent and bury the body. Even if there is no insurance on the decedent, it is NOT the responsibility of the Coroner's Office to bury the family member.

What happens to unclaimed bodies?

If the death has occurred within the last couple of hours and the body can be or has been removed to a refrigerated (morgue) room and NO next of kin is located the body may be turned over to science for research or teaching purposes. Some unclaimed bodies are buried in the "Paupers Cemetery" by the Coroner's Office.