Cause of Death

The cause of death is considered the medical cause.

Manner of Death

Manner of death concerns the medical explanation of how the death occurs. In Colorado, five categories are recognized for manner of death:
  • Accidental - Death which occurs by an unintentional event or chain of events. This can include falls, motor vehicle crashes, skier vs. tree, climbing incidents, etc.
  • Homicide - Death which results from the actions of another whether inflicted by gross recklessness, behavior which is implicit (silent observer or assist in) or explicit (elements present and obvious). It is not the coroner’s job to make a case against the accused, just to illustrate cause and manner and by what means.
  • Natural - Death caused by a disease process occurring naturally such as heart, liver, or renal disease.
  • Suicide - Intentional act of ending ones own life by various means.
  • Undetermined - Is assigned when manner of death is unclear or not defined. This can happen when no medical cause is found upon autopsy or when remains are found that can’t explain manner.


In many cases where an individual has pertinent medical history, the cause of death may be found through medical records and past medical history, interviewing, and scene findings.An autopsy is ordered when there may be more than one explanation for a death or in cases of sudden, unexplained deaths.In most cases, we follow the National Association of Medical Examiner Autopsy Guidelines.