AL Forensics No Longer Transporting Bodies

RUSSELL COUNTY, Ala.  (WXTX) -- There's apparently no escaping the budget axe, even for the dead.   State budget cuts are forcing Alabama counties to find extra money for transporting human remains to the crime lab for an autopsy.

Normally, if you every drive pass a bad accident or crime scene; you know when the coroner is there someone has died.  Typically, investigators are nearby and a short time later the coroner takes the body to a local morgue.  "Then department of forensics send a vehicle from Montgomery to pick up the remains for the examination then delivered them to the funeral home," said Russell County Sheriff Tommy Boswell.

The state forensics department says that will not happen anymore in Alabama as of Monday, January 19th.  State budget cuts are forcing each county coroner to transport the bodies for autopsies to and from Montgomery.  Russell County Coroner Arthur Sumbry went before Russell Co. Commissioners Wednesday morning informing them those trips could cost his department about $300 dollars round trip.  "It will affect who we send for an autopsy.   We will have to be a little tighter with the budget.   Basically, making sure we send people that need to go," said Sumbry.

Sheriff Tommy Boswell says some options the commissioners could explore is contract with an ambulance company or the coroner's office will have to transport the bodies.  "Its also the possibility the family may pay for the funeral home to go to Montgomery and transport the remains back to their facility," said Boswell.

County Administrator Leann Horne plans to meet with the coroner, sheriff, and district attorney over the next several days to come up with some options to bring back to the commission