Kankakee County Coroner
Kankakee County Coroner


Welcome to the Kankakee County Coroner's Website



Kankakee County Coroner Robert Gessner

The Kankakee County Coroner's Office investigates all deaths occurring in Kankakee County. The Coroner's Creed establishes questions that must be answered to fulfill the requirements of these investigations, as well as provide care and justice for the deceased and for the family and friends of the deceased. These questions are: who, how, where, when, and why? Based on the findings of the toxicology and/or autopsy results, the manner of death can sometimes be determined as well. It is also the responsibility of the Coroner's Office to notify next of kin. When an investigation has been completed and these questions have been answered, the information becomes available through the Freedom of Information Act. For information regarding the costs associated with obtaining copies of reports, please see the Public Information Policy

Bob Gessner has been the Kankakee Coroner since James Kelly left office at the end of 2003. He was then appointed Coroner. He was later elected to the position in November of 2004 and then re-elected in 2008 and has served the county well ever since.

Kankakee County Coroner Office Hours:8:30am-2:30pm M-F




3000 S. Justice Way
Kankakee, IL 60901


p.(815) 802-7190

f. (815) 802-7191

May 23, 2017- First Carfentanil Death in Kankakee County

Kankakee County reached a grim milestone earlier this month as the county recorded its first ever death from the highly potent and deadly drug, Carfentanil. The decedent was a 38 year old male who resided in Kankakee and was found deceased on May, 4 2017. An autopsy was conducted and toxicology testing returned on May, 22, 2017 and confirmed the cause of death was due to Carfentanil Intoxication.

Since December 1, 2016 Kankakee County has recorded 24 drug overdose deaths. Many of these deaths are the result of Heroin and Fentanyl overdoses. Several cases have tested positive for Acetyl Fentanyl and Acryl Fentanyl. Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times as strong as morphine. Over the past few months, several other counties in Illinois have reported cases involving Carfentanil. Carfentanil is never prescribed to humans and is used to tranquilize large animals such as elephant and elk. Experts say Carfentanil is 10,000 times more powerful than morphine and 100 times more powerful than Fentanyl.

December 6, 2016 – Kankakee, IL – Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey and Kankakee County Coroner Bob Gessner are reporting multiple heroin/fentanyl overdoses in the area.

“Area hospitals have reported several today alone,” said Sheriff Downey. “We’re not certain if there is a bad batch being distributed throughout Kankakee County or if it is extremely potent. All law enforcement officers have been advised of the deadly situation and are keeping an extra eye out for the deadly strain.”

“To date, we’ve had over 25 fatal overdoses this calendar year,” said Coroner Gessner. “We’ve already suffered the same fatal OD’s this year than all of last year with a full month to go. Unfortunately, these drugs are often laced or cut with other substances, often which is more potent or a synthetic opiate. It’s too bad that the drug user is unaware of what they’re ingesting, and that these unknowns often result in their deaths.”

Sheriff Downey and Coroner Gessner are encouraging the community to work with our area law enforcement to report anyone they suspect of distributing or possessing these dangerous substances. Sheriff Downey and Coroner Gessner are pleading with those that may be reluctant or fearful to contact police to call CrimeStoppers at (815) 93-CRIME.

You can remain completely anonymous!

It is the purpose of this office to do professional death investigations. We want to do this by making a commitment to “Care of the deceased and concern for the living