Local officials to discuss need for medical examiner's office in Brazos County

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - Brazos Valley leaders are meeting Tuesday to discuss an issue affecting families and local law enforcement. There's a growing need for a medical examiner's office closer to home.

College Station is home to a caring community and successful schools with opportunities around every corner, but Mayor Karl Mooney says something is missing.

"How is it that we don't have a toxicology lab and medical examiner's office right here in Brazos County?" said Mooney.

Mooney says 40 counties, including Brazos, all rely on the same medical examiner's office in Austin for autopsy results. because of the backlog, families and law enforcement here are sometimes left without answers for months following a death.

"In the case of Ashli Stewart who was just recently killed here over the holidays, there was no DNA report and so in the meantime what is a suspect doing while we have to sit and wait?" said Mooney.

The mayor says when his wife unexpectedly passed away in October, he gained perspective on what other families go through during this process.

"I gained first-hand experience in the difficulty that residents in our area and surrounding counties face when a family member, loved one is deceased and an autopsy is required," said Mooney.

Because of this, the mayor will meet Tuesday with the Intergovernmental Committee at the Brazos Valley Council of Governments to begin formal talks of creating a toxicology lab and medical examiners office in Brazos County. He says it's a first step in the right direction.

"I feel if we don't explore it, we're doing our citizens a disservice knowing what we know at this point," said Mooney. 

From the council decides to move forward with the idea, they'll have to get the matter on an agenda to go before the county commissioners.

The county commissioners considered a similar proposal almost a decade ago but because of the cost, they declined to move forward with it.