DeSoto County Administrative Building graphic
Bob Bakken|DTT

The now vacant position of DeSoto County Coroner will be added to the Nov. 6 general election ballot following action by the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday.

The action by the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors was taken in accordance with Mississippi state law which states that steps to hold an election to a vacated position of county coroner need to be made within 10 days of a coroner's death.

An announcement on an interim appointment who could serve until the November election could come as early as next Tuesday.

Longtime DeSoto County Coroner Jeff Pounders died unexpectedly at age 63 on Dec. 17.

Deputy coroners Daimon Weaver and Billy Baldwin will continue to serve DeSoto County in their capacities.

The position of coroner is also known by its more professional term as medical examiner.

Pounders was known to first responders and county officials with the courtesy title of "ME-1."

Under Mississippi law, each county medical examiner investigator (CMEI) shall be a nonphysician who shall, as a minimum, possess a high school graduation diploma or its equivalent. Extra consideration for the CMEI position may be given for experience and/or training in health-related fields and medicolegal death investigations.

The law states that "each coroner elected in the 1987 general election and thereafter, upon successful completion of the death investigation training school shall be recognized as a county medical examiner or county medical examiner investigator, and shall be designated the chief for the county in which he was elected."

The law also provides for the appointment of a coroner pro tempore.

"The coroner pro tempore then shall become a deputy CME or CMEI, provided he has successfully completed the death investigation training school."

The County Coroner’s offices from the 82 counties of Mississippi are served by the State Medical Examiner’s Office to assist with medical-legal death investigations. Approximately 1,450 autopsies are performed at the State Medical Examiner’s office per year. The State Medical Examiner’s Office monitors and maintains the certification of all Coroners and Deputy Coroners within the state of Mississippi. The Medical Examiner’s Office participates in the education and training of the County Coroners by providing a 40 hour training seminar to newly-elected Coroners, and by assisting with the bi-annual Coroner’s conference.

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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