The Sullivan County Coroner’s Office functions 24-hours/day, 365 Days a year. It is a 4-year elected position and serves as a Row Officer of County Government.

The primary role of the Coroner is to determine Cause and Manner of death. There are only 5 accepted manners of death that may be entered on a Death Certificate:

  1. Natural
  2. Accidental
  3. Homicide
  4. Suicide
  5. Pending Investigation
  6. Could not be Determined

Responsibilities of the Coroner

Pursuant to Pennsylvania Statute, the coroner is responsible to investigate deaths under the following circumstances:

  • Sudden deaths not caused by readily recognizable disease, or wherein the cause of death cannot be properly certified by a physician on the basis of prior (recent) medical attendance;
  • Deaths occurring under suspicious circumstances, including those where alcohol, drugs or other toxic substances may have had a direct bearing on the outcome;
  • Deaths occurring as a result of violence or trauma, whether apparently homicidal, suicidal or accidental (including, but not limited to, those due to mechanical, thermal, chemical, electrical or radiational injury, drowning, cave-ins and subsidences);
  • Any death in which trauma, chemical injury, drug overdose or reaction to drugs or medication or medical treatment was a primary or secondary, direct or indirect, contributory, aggravating or precipitating cause of death;
  • Operative and peri-operative deaths in which the death is not readily explainable on the basis of prior disease;
  • Any death wherein the body is unidentified or unclaimed;
  • Deaths known or suspected as due to contagious disease and constituting a public hazard;
  • Deaths occurring in prison or a penal institution or while in the custody of the police;
  • Deaths of persons whose bodies are to be cremated, buried at sea or otherwise disposed of so as to be thereafter unavailable for examination;
  • Sudden infant death syndrome; and
  • Stillbirths.

Deaths are investigated through the physical inspection/assessment of a decedent, the scene, bystander or family/associate interviews, review of medical records, and when necessary, toxicology or a full forensic autopsy. Currently, autopsies are conducted at either Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, or Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, PA.

If at the conclusion of an investigation a Cause/Manner of death cannot be determined, the Coroner may call an inquest which may be public or not.

In addition, the Coroner is responsible for issuing Permits for Cremation for any individual who dies in Sullivan County and wishes to be cremated. Permit fee is $20 and most often handled through the funeral home or agency responsible for arrangements.

Additional Responsibilities/Involvement

  • Determining Positive Identification of a Decedent
  • Notification of Next of Kin
  • Retaining/Protecting Property of Decedent until family can claim
  • Serves as the Chair of the Sullivan Count Child Death Review Team
  • Promote Infant Safe Sleep through “Cribs for Kids” program
  • Liaison to the Sullivan County Health Partnership


Contacting Coroner

Mailing Address
Sullivan County Coroner
P.O. Box 168
Eagles Mere, PA 17731

Phone Number

Contact Coroner


  • Wendy Hastings – Coroner
  • Donna Klarsch – Chief Deputy Coroner
  • John Yonkin – Deputy Coroner