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Coroner Division

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The Sheriff is an elected Public Official who also serves as the Coroner of Madera County. The Coroner is required by state law (Government Code 27491) to investigate all deaths. It is the responsibility of the Coroner to establish positive identification of the deceased; determine date, place and time of death; and the cause and classification of death. The Coroner's investigation is not limited to the examination of the deceased, but may include interviews with family members and other witnesses, as well as collecting physical evidence, and the safeguarding of personal property found at the death scene.

Special Message 

On behalf of the Madera County Coroner, we extend our deepest sympathy to you at this time.  To assist you during this difficult time, we have prepared this to answer some of the commonly asked questions.

 Frequently Asked Questions

Where is my loved one being taken?

 The deceased is being removed and taken to the Madera County Coroner’s Office, our holding facility. 

Can I come see him/her?

Viewing of the deceased is not permitted or required at the Coroner facility.  It is more appropriate for your loved one to be viewed at a funeral home, where they can be prepared for viewing. 

What should I do now?

As soon as possible, select a funeral home and inform the funeral director that the death is being handled by the Coroner’s Office.  Ask them to please notify us.  Our office does not select funeral homes nor do we make arrangements.  In the event someone is making the arrangements for the family, the Coroner must be provided with an authorization to release the deceased, signed by the legal next of kin. This is usually provided by the funeral home selected by the family.

When can I obtain a death certificate?

The Coroner Division cannot provide death certificates.  Once you have selected a funeral home, you will be asked how many Death Certificates you would like to order as part of your arrangement process.  The funeral home completes and files the Death Certificate using information that you and the doctor that is signing the death certificate provide them.  You may obtain the finished, certified copies, by ordering them through the funeral establishment, or through the Madera County Health Department-Vital Statistics. 

Can I contact the Coroner’s Office?

 Certainly.  You may call between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Our telephone number is 559-675-7774.

Why is the coroner involved? 

 State law requires the Coroner to inquire into and determine the circumstances, manner, and cause of all sudden, violent, or unusual deaths and those deaths where the decedent has not been seen by a physician 20 days prior to death.

Will an autopsy be performed? 

 Not all deaths that fall under California Coroner laws require an autopsy.  The Coroner will decide if an autopsy is necessary to establish the cause and circumstances of death.  We may not perform an autopsy if the cause of death can be determined to be from “natural causes” and the deceased has been under the care of a physician who knows the medical history and will furnish the Coroner with information relative to the probable cause of death.

Will autopsy reports be available? 

 Yes.  You may obtain a copy by calling the main Coroner’s Office at

559-675-7770, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Please ask to speak to the Coroner Secretary and have your case number handy.  At that time, you will be informed of the cost of this service, if any, and how this document and other Coroner records can be obtained.

 Can my loved one be an organ tissue donor?

 Yes.  Loved ones organ/tissue can be donated once:

    1.      The heart is no longer beating and is within 24 hours of death.

   2.      The next of kin has granted consent for donation.

   3.      The patient has been evaluated by a tissue bank coordinator and meets medical criteria.

   4.      The Coroner releases the body for donation.

 For more information on donation please call:  Donor Network West at 1-925-480-3800.

 When can I see my loved one?

 This is a determination for the funeral home.  Please express when making arrangements that you would like to see your loved one as soon as possible.  A list of funeral homes in Madera County is provided below.  You may select a funeral home in a different city or county to assist you.  All funeral homes can assist with either burial or cremation.  This is a list of all local facilities for your convenience.

 Funeral Home
Phone Number 
 Jay Chapel  1121 Roberts Blvd., Madera, Ca.    559-674-8814
 Palm Memorial - Sierra Chapel  49269 Road 426, Oakhurst, Ca.     559-683-4370
 Palm Memorial - Worden Chapel  140 S. Sixth Street, Chowchilla, Ca   559-665-3012
 Smith Manor Grace Chapel  801 E. Yosemite Ave., Madera Ca   559-662-8825 


 There are no funds available for burial, what can I do?

 If the deceased or the legal next of kin do not have sufficient funds for burial, the alternative may be County disposition.  The next of kin should contact Social Services at 559-675-2300, and additional information will be made available.  If County disposition is authorized, there may be substantial delays in receiving death certificates and as a consequence, certain benefits.

 How and when can personal possessions be claimed?

 Any personal possessions in the custody of the Coroner may be claimed by the legal next of kin.  Governmental documents (driver’s license, passports, military identification cards) and credit cards will not be released to the next of kin.  These documents will be returned to the issuing agency or company for disposition.  Firearms require additional processing before they can be returned. Please call the Property Technician in Madera at 559-675-7770 or Bass Lake Substation at 559-642-3201 to make an appointment and arrange for pick-up of releasable property.  Clothing is not usually considered property, unless there is a need to hold clothing as evidence.  It is released to the mortuary recovering the deceased.  If you need to enter your relative/friend’s residence, but it is sealed, you need to obtain permission from the Coroner per Government Code Section 27491.3.

Local Resources

 Madera County Health Department  559-675-7893 Vital Statistics — Death Certificates 
 Madera County Behavioral Health  559-673-3508  
 Victim Services  559-661-1000  Crisis Line– 1-800-355-8989
 Madera County Veterans/Public Guardian  559-675-7766  
 Madera County Social Services  559-675-2300  Indigent Services/county cremation
 Social Security Office  559-661-4446   or 1-800-772-1213
 Hinds Hospice of Madera  559-674-0407  
 Calvary Cemetery  559-674-6052  
 Arbor Vitae Cemetery  559-674-8826  
 Donor Network West  1-925-480-3800  
 Crime Scene/Tragedy Cleanup  Aftermath:  866-942-6583  Action Bio-Care:  877-493-4605

We hope that advice and counseling provided by your Funeral Director and the information provided on this webpage will help you during this time of loss.  However, should you need additional assistance, please telephone our office at 559-675-7774 during regular business hours.