Letter: Answering some coroner questions

Hello, my name is Sue Franciose, and I’m running for Eagle County coroner in the upcoming Nov. 4 election. During the campaign process, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of residents who have similar questions. I’d like to take this time to answer these questions and clarify some areas.

1. Where did the coroner’s role come from?

The Office of Coroner was formally established in England in 1194 to “keep the pleas of the Crown (Latin, Coronae).” “Coroner” referred to an officer whose job was to determine how and when a person died and to collect taxes. In more recent history, the coroner was seen as an unbiased, non-political position and in many states given the authority to arrest the sheriff, providing a check-and-balance system.

2. What are the qualifications to be a Colorado county coroner?

The requirements for a Colorado county coroner are a high school diploma, no felony conviction and a county residence. Many Colorado county coroners have no medical background.

3. What does the county coroner do?

The Eagle County coroner (or one of the six deputy coroners) responds to any unexpected or unattended death in the county. They do a scene investigation, identify the deceased, notify the next of kin, determine the cause and manner of death and issue a death certificate. An autopsy is usually required to accurately determine the cause and manner of death. The Eagle County coroner does not perform autopsies. The autopsies are done by pathologists, and the findings or report is then sent to the Coroner’s Office. The Coroner’s Office reports the findings to the family and issues a death certificate.

I hope this clarifies some areas. Learn more at or email me at with any questions.

Sue Franciose

Eagle County Coroner candidate