New South Carolina Law Means More Death Investigations

February 1, 2013

Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler says a change in state law means his office investigated an average of one death a day in 2012.

Fowler says his office investigated 365 deaths last year, up 29 percent from 2011. Fowler says much of the increase is because of a new state law requiring coroners to investigate when hospital patients die within 24 hours of being admitted or within 48 hours of major surgery.

Fowler says his office investigated four homicides, 23 accidental deaths and 13 suicides in 2012. Deaths in all of those categories were lower than last year.

The coroner says five deaths last year still haven’t been classified because his office is awaiting test results and other information.

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