Abbeville County Coroner Office

Dr. Mark Dorn, DNP, FNP, BC, Coroner

903 West Greenwood Street
Abbeville, SC  29620

Telephone: (864) 366-8451
Fax: (864) 366-6636

Deputy Coroners: Travis Alewine, Ronnie Vaughn, Clay Martin, Terri Brown & Ray Graham

Investigators: Betsy Dorn

Volunteer: Sam Ferguson and John Martin

About the Coroner’s Office

The Coroner is a county official who is elected to serve a four year term.

The Coroner is the “Chief Death Investigator” and has jurisdiction over all deaths occurring in the county. The Coroner and his team are a highly experience team of investigators that bring many years of medical, forensic, and law enforcement investigative experience to the table. All are highly educated in the auspices of death investigations including child fatalities, under-water crime scene, arson investigation, and motor-vehicle fatalities. We take care of each and every case with the utmost compassion, care, professionalism, discipline, and diligence that is needed for every case. When our investigations are completed, we will continue to be a resource to the families for as long as they need us during these difficult times.

Responsibilities of the Coroners Office

The Abbeville County Coroner’s Offices main duty is to determine the manner of death of every fatality in Abbeville County. The Coroner must investigate each casualty and determine the circumstances whether it be suspicious, violent, or sudden. Certain deaths occurring from natural causes must also be investigated, along with deaths occurring less than 24 hours after admission to a hospital or emergency room. The Coroner signs death certificates, issues burial removal permits, issues cremation permits, and conducts inquests.

Process of Investigation

The Coroner must ensure that the scene of death and all evidence is preserved. The Coroner must determine through the investigation whether the death was natural, accidental, homicidal, suicidal, or of undetermined causes. The body must be examined and the surroundings of the scene are considered. The Coroner is the Chief Investigating Officer and coordinates the investigation involving multiple investigative agencies including Law Enforcement. Experts from anthropology, toxicology, odontology, entomology, trace evidence collection, and other forensic specialties may assist in the process. The Coroner determines when an autopsy is performed and in many cases must witness the autopsy. It is the Coroners responsibility to ensure that all personal belongings of the decedent are protected and returned to the family. The Coroner is responsible for notifying the relatives and/or loved ones of the unfortunate death and does this in person when at all possible. After the investigation the body of the deceased will be released for the family to make appropriate arrangements. Each member of the Coroners Office makes certain that this process be accomplished showing courtesy and sympathy to the loved ones throughout its entirety.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. It is necessary for me to come to the Coroner’s Office to identify the body?

A. No, in a majority of the cases, visual identification is not necessary to positively identify the deceased.

Q. Why is an autopsy performed?

A. The Coroner authorizes an autopsy when one is needed to establish the cause and manner of death. Usually an autopsy is not needed when the death is clearly from natural causes. Should an autopsy be necessary, the Coroner will certify a death certificate soon after the examination is complete.

Q. Will autopsy reports be available?

A. Yes, the next of kin may obtain a copy by written request. This document and other Coroner records will be available after completion of the death investigation.  To request a report; click the “Online Forms” link located left side of this page; click on “Coroner”, and then click link to open PDF form.  Complete and submit as directed.

Q. Will there be a charge for the Coroner service?

A. No.

Q. Where can I obtain a death certificate?

A. (1)Certified copies of death certificates are provided by the Funeral Director that served your family at the time of death.

(2)Can purchase additional certified copies directly from the Greenwood County Health Department at 1736 Main Street, Greenwood, SC

(3)Also can be obtained by submitting a “Vital Records Death Application” to SCDHEC.  The form is available under our “Online Forms” link located on the left side of this page.  Click on “Coroner” and click the link for the application to access the PDF form.  Complete and submit as directed.

Q. Can I donate my relative’s organs and tissue?

A. South Carolina has a law that provides an opportunity for the next of kin to donate organs and tissues. Donation can dramatically improve, even save the lives of others. We are glad to assist you by contacting the appropriate agency for you so they can explain to you all options and benefits of donating. If you prefer, you may call the Sharing Hope of SC at 1 (800) 462 0755. Operators are available 24 hours a day.