Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1992 NO. 6 > May 20 1992

RCW 70.58.390 authorizes the issuance of a presumptive death certificate if there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to indicate that a person has died as a result of an accident or natural disaster.  A presumptive death certificate could not issue pursuant to RCW 70.58.390 if the only evidence is a suicide note and a missing body.

AGO 1998 NO. 11 > Oct 28 1998

The county coroner or equivalent officer has discretion to decide whether to issue a certificate of presumptive death as to a person whose body has not been found but who may be presumed to have drowned in the waters of the county or in contiguous waters as a result of an accident or natural disaster; the officer's decision must take into account where the person was last seen and where the events occurred which probably caused the person's death, in addition to such other factors as may be relevant.

AGO 1980 NO. 15 > Jun 20 1980

Under the applicable state statutes relating to the issuance of death certificates (RCW 70.58.160-70.58.180) a county coroner does not have the authority to issue a presumptive death certificate based on circumstantial evidence where no body has been found

AGO 1953 NO. 65 > Jun 4 1953

1. Where death occurs without medical attendance and circumstances suggest that the death or still-birth [[stillbirth]]was caused by unlawful or unnatural causes, the coroner, or if there is no coroner, the prosecuting attorney should sign the death certificate. 2. Where death occurs without medical attendance and there is no suspicion of death from unlawful or unnatural causes, either the local health officer, his deputy, or the coroner; or if there is no health officer and no coroner, then the prosecuting attorney should sign the certificate.

AGO 1956 NO. 185 > Jan 13 1956

A vacancy created in the legislature by the death of a senator must be filled by appointment if one or part of one regular session of the legislature remains.  If there is only an eventuality of a special session then the appointment is to be made upon calling of the special session.  The salary of the appointee commences when he has qualified and taken his oath of office.