Coroners FAQ

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COVID-19 Amended Operations
Due to emergency declarations currently in place the Coroner’s Office is required to respond to all hospice deaths. Operations differ slightly during this time, and will return to normal as soon as the emergency declarations are lifted.

How and/or When do I contact the Coroner?
Any death outside of a medical institution w/ the exception of persons on hospice (hospice RN’s will notify & report to the coroner) must be reported to the Coroner as soon as the death occurs. You need to call Cencom at 479-273-5532 (press “1”), or dial 911.

How long will it take to get an toxicology report?
All toxicology samples drawn by a coroner anywhere in the state are sent to the Arkansas State Crime Lab in Little Rock. We have no control on the time frame, but generally we receive the results in about 6 to 8 weeks.

How long will it take to get a autopsy report?
All autopsies are preformed at the Arkansas State Crime Lab. Homicide cases get 1st priority. Depending on their case load, we’ll receive a preliminary report within a few days. The completed report takes 4 to 5 months.

How do I get a copy of a DC, toxicology, or other reports?
Contact the Coroner’s Office at 479-621-0223.

What funeral home do I use?
The Coroners office can/willl not recommend a funeral home. However we will provide upon request a list of all Benton county funeral homes, you are not required to use a local funeral home, you may use a home anywhere in or out of state. They will contact a local funeral home or embalming service. We encourage you to speak with local directors about options and services offered.

When I contact the Coroner what is my expected wait time and what steps are in place?
When you contact a dispatcher they will take your information & a law enforcement officer and in most cases E.M.S. will be sent to your location. Law enforcement may remain on scene for an extended period of time BEFORE they request a coroner, the average response time for the coroners office is 18 minutes or less.

Who removes the body and where are they taken?
The body will removed by the funeral home of choice unless there is no next of kin present, or they were a victim of a crime in which case the body will be removed by the coroners office. Most motor vehicle accident victims are removed from the scene by the coroner & taken to the Benton County Coroners Office. Crime victims will be taken to the Benton County Sheriff Office or Benton County Coroners Office to await the Ar. State crime lab.

When will the body be released by the Coroner/State Crime Lab?
If the body is not going for an autopsy it will be released from the Coroner’s office as soon as next of kin is notified and a funeral home is contacted. Most autopsies are done the next business day and usually released that afternoon depending on the case load, we have no control of this.

Is an autopsy required in all cases?
No. Deaths caused by violence, state custody deaths, and unexplained deaths will be sent to the State Crime Lab for an autopsy. Other deaths are determined on a case by case basis and may or may not require the State Crime Lab. Most medical and unattended deaths do not require an autopsy.

Why does law enforcement respond?
State law requires that all deaths be investigated by law enforcement to insure that no crime, neglect, or foul play is involved.