Graham Hetrick
1271 South 28th Street
Harrisburg, PA  17111
Phone: (717) 564-4567
Fax: 717-558-1135

The Coroner is elected to a four-year term to investigate sudden, unexplained deaths, accidental deaths, homicides, suicides and other deaths of questionable circumstances. 

The Coroner plays a crucial role in gathering forensic evidence for the criminal justice system in Dauphin County.

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To the Citizens of Dauphin County:

It is the primary purpose of the Coroner’s office to determine the cause and manner of death, where the death falls under our purview.  Over the past thirty years I have grown to understand the importance of what the dead tell us through the study of their patterns of death.  If we strive to understand how we die, then we should be able to understand how we are living and how we should be living.          

Each year seems to have its challenges.  In the past year, we had moved out of the COVID-19 shut-down effects.  There were no substantial rises or declines in our various manners of death from last year (2022) to the year before (2021).  To arrive at a true statistical difference, more yearly comparisons would be required.  Evaluating a five-to-ten-year analysis would give us a more accurate indication of trends in each category.

It is my impression, even though I have not done a five-to-ten-year analysis, that we have been on an upward trend in most categories.  National statistics published by the insurance companies show an epidemiological shift in all cause of death categories in the United States of America, with the greatest increase in the forty-and-under age category.

The overall impression from national statistics is that America is more stressed, more violent, and more divided.  I don’t really think that I need to tell most Americans these facts.  We are less healthy, and the life expectancy rate for both men and women are lower than last year’s.

The need to realize that we have severe issues to face in the future as to health, psychological and spiritual issues, and defining the future role of government and it’s balancing with personal freedoms, must be brought into a civil discussion.  We cannot change America for the good without using rational thinking and accepting open thought and debate.  There is a reason that the very First Amendment to the Constitution is the protection of free speech.  Discernment and the use of deductive and inductive thinking can provide us alternatives for a better life in a changing world.  Seeking truth through open debate is our greatest tool for a better America.

Graham S. Hetrick, MS, FD, B.E.F.E

Dauphin County Coroner


Mission Statement
The main function of the Coroner's office is to determine the cause and manner of death in cases where the death is determined to fall under Coroner jurisdiction. The coroner's office investigators and staff treat each death with respect, dignity and kindness.
An investigator is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to evaluate cases and provide information.
While the death of a loved one is a difficult and emotional time, the Coroner's office strives to assist family members with any concerns or questions and to aid in the grieving process in a professional and courteous manner.
Description and Purpose of the Coroner's Office
The Coroner is an elected position, voted into office by the citizens of Dauphin County.
It is the duty of the Dauphin County Coroner's Office to conduct a comprehensive investigation of all unattended deaths in the county.
The Coroner staff recognize the tragedy surrounding an untimely death. Throughout an investigation, efforts are made to supply assistance to the grieving family.
The investigator's responsibilities include responding to scenes and performing death investigations. This includes taking jurisdiction of the decedent's person, collecting of physical evidence, interviewing witnesses and family members, establishing the legal next of kin, making death notifications, securing personal property, confirming positive identification, and report writing.

**For questions please use the Contact Us link to contact the Coroner's office.**