Brazos Valley Looking To Get Medical Examiner's Office

By: Rashi Vats Email
By: Rashi Vats Email

When it comes to investigating deaths, Brazos County and surrounding governments want their own medical examiner.

Usually bodies are sent to distant cities for autopsies. You've seen us report on deaths. In the past week, their have been 3 in Brazos County. At the end of some of the stories we tell you the victim's body is going to another city's medical examiner for an autopsy. The lack of a medical examiners office here costs money.

"Budgets are strained everywhere. We have to in government make do with what we have. Right now we don't really have really control over who passes away and the circumstances where they pass away, but the county still has or the city still has the responsibility to investigate," said Michael Parks with the Brazos Valley Council of Governments.

That's why a medical examiner's office in the Brazos Valley is in the works. County leaders from all 7 counties in the Brazos Valley Council of Governments have met to discuss future plans.

"How would we govern this? We know what the costs are, we have figured those out, but how would we govern this? What does it look like? Is one county going to do it and have agreements with other counties? Could it be an independent agency," said Parks.

Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk is helping with the planning process.

"There certainly are a list of both pros and cons, but we think that ultimately it will be very beneficial for us to have one here in Brazos County," said Sheriff Kirk.

We obtained statistics that show just how much tax payer money is spent on autopsies.

From 2007 to 2010, 864 autopsies have been performed for the 7 area counties at cost of more than $1.6 million dollars.

Each autopsy costs between $1400-$3,000, and those costs are rising. That's why the council of governments says it will diligently plan to continue meeting with local leaders to map out the logistics of a M.E.'s office.

The council of governments says it's possible the medical examiners office can open up within a year.

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