Coroner meltdown

Dateline: Tue 12 Sep 2006

Brendan O'Shaughnessy continues to do excellent reporting on his city-county beat. Today he writes in the Star that the Marion County Coroner's office is being investigated by the prosecutor after the theft of $3,000 from a body was discovered. There are also computer irregularities and serious security breaches.

Indiana needs to get its act together on the important position of coroner. Kenneth Ackles runs the show for Marion County, and his qualifications are that he is a chiropractor and a Dem.

Remember that the state was a national laughingstock after the coroner in Grant County failed to correctly identify victims of a horrendous car crash involving Taylor University students.

But the problems in Marion County run deep, according to O'Shaughnessy:

"The investigation comes as Ackles is involved in a contract dispute with the forensic pathology firm that does autopsies for his office in homicide cases. Ackles in June canceled the firm's five-year contract. The forensic pathologists will continue in their roles until December. What happens after that point is uncertain.

"The probe also follows on the heels of the firing of John Linehan, the former chief deputy coroner, following accusations that he worked as a paramedic at Methodist Hospital while on the county's clock."

What is the root cause of the problems here? Sounds like money and politics, as usual.

comment; ruth@ruthholladay.com

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