The Charleston County Coroner’s Office has been awarded $53,820 in funds through a Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grant, which is administered by the S.C. Department of Public Safety’s Office of Highway Safety and Justice Programs.
The funds will be used to hire a forensic autopsy technician who will assist with the examination and documentation of forensic findings during forensic autopsies completed at the coroner’s office, according to a news release.
In 2021, the Charleston County Coroner’s Office completed 579 forensic autopsies. Of those, 475 were conducted at the coroner’s office, while the remaining 104 were completed at a local hospital, the news release said. Those numbers are anticipated to rise in 2022, according to the news release. An updated count is available on the website, where the number stood at 311 for the year when it was updated July 5.
“Charleston County has been hit hard by the opioid epidemic and our overdose numbers continue to rise as well as the number of homicides, suicides and pedestrian/motor vehicle accidents,” Coroner Bobbi Jo O’Neal said in the release. “We are honored to have been awarded funds that will provide for a forensic autopsy technician who will assist as we care for those who have died and lost their voice while providing needed information to surviving families.”