Medical Examiner's Office
3291 Loma Vista Rd., Ventura CA 93003
The Ventura County Medical Examiner's mission is to provide respectful, professional, accurate and timely death investigation services to all people in Ventura County, while complying with applicable California statutes.
Our purpose is to determine accurately the cause, manner and circumstances of deaths that fall under our jurisdiction as defined by California statutes, to identify decedents, to locate and notify next-of-kin, in a compassionate and timely fashion.
What We Do
We begin by taking initial reports of death from reporting parties such as police, health care providers, families and funeral directors. These initial reports are taken by medical examiner investigators, usually by phone. The investigator decides whether the death falls under Medical Examiner's jurisdiction and initiates death investigations when appropriate. The investigator also decides how extensive an investigation should be. This varies based on findings that unfold during an investigation. Investigations may be simple, with a few phone calls to verify an expected death from a known terminal condition. They may be complex, including a thorough death scene investigation, property protection, multiple interviews. They may also include autopsy, identification procedures, location and notification of next-of-kin, consultations with other experts, and extensive laboratory testing. As needed, the investigator may consult with one or both of the physician medical examiners who may decide an autopsy is needed or give other investigative guidance.
Eventually, death certificates are generated, investigative reports and autopsy reports are prepared, and testimony in courts is given when needed.
We employ two physician forensic pathologists (who also act as department administrators), five investigators who provide 24-hour County coverage, one forensic pathology technician, one or two part-time weekend/holiday forensic pathology technician, and one secretary.
Resources and Information
You may obtain documents from the following sources:
- Death certificate: The funeral home, or the Public Health Office of Vital Records, 805-981-5172.
- Autopsy report: Call us at 805-641-4400.
- A police report from the police agency or Sheriff Department investigating a death, accident or crime.
- Medical records from the hospital or clinic where the deceased was taken. Note: It takes varying amounts of time to obtain death certificates, medical records, autopsy and police reports. Please ask officials when you can expect them.
- You may file for social security benefits by contacting the Social Security Administration.
- If the deceased was a veteran and was collecting veteran's benefits, contact the Veterans Administration Regional Office. The mortuary you select will assist with obtaining burial benefits from the Veterans Administration.
- Notify the insurance agent and the bank of the person who has died.
- If a criminal case is pending, contact the district attorney in the county where the crime occurred for more information.
- The families of violent crime victims should contact the District Attorney's Office Victim Assistance Division at 805-654-3622.
Additional Resources California State Coroner's Association National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME)
Identification and Viewing:
Contrary to popular belief, it is not required or usually necessary for the next of kin to come to the Medical Examiner Coroner's facility to visually identify the decedent. We understand you may wish to see the decedent as soon as possible. In consideration of this, we will work with the funeral home or cremation service of choice to expedite the release of the decedent for viewing purposes. You can then work directly with them to arrange for the service.
If the deceased's estate does not have sufficient funds to cover the cost of the disposition of the remains and you are unable to assume the financial responsibility, you may apply for assistance from the Health Care Agency's Public Administrator's Office
. Your funeral director or cremation service director will be able to assist you in this process.
Extent of Investigation by the Medical Examiner
The Medical Examiner Coroner has the authority to determine the extent of inquiry into reportable deaths. Not all Coroner investigations include autopsies. The Medical Examiner may authorize attending physicians to certify reportable deaths that are clearly from natural causes.