It's been a busy day at the State Medical Examiner's Office in Madisonville. Before unpacking the boxes in his office, Dr. Gregory Wanger performed an autopsy on his first day at his new job.
"And that's our ultimate goal. The purpose of the Medical Examiner's Office is to explain the death. What happened and why did this death occur? And that's why we're here. We're not the who done it people, we're the what happened people," Dr. Gregory Wanger said.
Dr. Wanger moved here from Fort Thomas, Kentucky. Hopkins County Coroner, Dennis Mayfield says for the past year and a half, this office was closed because the previous doctor quit, and it's hard to find a certified medical examiner.
"It is welcomed here because we don't longer have to drive to Louisville for cases here in western Kentucky," Dennis Mayfield said.
Mayfield says on homicide and suspicious cases he has been making the trip to the Kentucky Medical Examiner's Office in Louisville with an officer, leaving at 4:30 a.m. A long day, with a longer wait to get those results back. He says transporting a body to Louisville and back to Hopkins County, cost taxpayers $800. The County Treasurer says in the past year and a half, the county has spent $10,500 transporting bodies.
"Oh it's going to be a tremendous change. Once we had to go to Louisville, we also had not only did it take away from the coroner going to Louisville, it also many times affected law enforcement because they also had to accompany us to Louisville," Mayfield said.
The coroner says now they'll get the autopsy results a couple weeks sooner, which helps give the family a little ease of mind and may give investigators quicker answers.
The Madisonville office serves 24 counties. Dr. Wanger says he expects to perform 260 autopsies a year.