1. In Lancaster County, the Sheriff acts as the Deputy County Coroner. They will be called to the death of anyone dying outside of a hospital. The Sheriff has the right to call the County Attorney. The County Attorney has the right to order an autopsy at will. Once the Coroner is involved and the autopsy is ordered by the County Attorney (not chosen by the family), there is no cost to the family.
2. At this time, Lancaster County does not have a coroner. The Sheriff will arrange for transportation of your loved one to the Douglas County Health Center in Omaha for the doctor (a pathologist) to perform the autopsy.
3. A pick up service will then come to the place of death.
4. The pick up service or the sheriff should ask which funeral home you have chosen. They should then call the funeral home. It is your right to choose the funeral home. Any funeral home can work with a coroner’s case in Lancaster County. The pick up service is contracted with Lancaster County only for transportation, not funeral services.
5. The pick up service will transport your loved one to the Douglas County Health Center in Omaha.
6. Most autopsies take place the morning following the removal from the place of death. It is best to just work with your funeral home. We will have the best knowledge of the procedure including where your loved is. If we don’t know, we will find out and call you back. Please call the funeral home with questions.
NOTE: Most autopsies require lab work. Result times vary. It could be up to 60 days before results are found. A death certificate will not be certified until the cause of death is determined. Your funeral home will call you at that time. They will issue a certificate with "Pending cause of death" so the cremation can be performed. It is not available to the family. A family must wait for a certifide copy for any use.
7. The pick up service will then return your loved one to the funeral home you have chosen in Lincoln after the autopsy.
8. Your funeral home will contact you to make further arrangements.