Hamilton County Coroner upset about cutbacks

By Sara Gouedy - bio | email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX 19) - Hamilton County Coroner Odell Owens is upset about a series of county cutbacks that leaves his office closed on various days through the month.

"This has tremendous implications and what the county has to decide is where is that point in which you decide, ok, we can't cut anymore?" says Owens.

Owens says closing the morgue two Mondays a month and limiting his office in other ways should be a huge matter of concern for the public.  He says his office had to do it because of county budget cuts.

"Criminals will walk the streets longer than they should," says Owens.

Owens says his office already had to delay two autopsies this week. One delay was for the body of a man who died after riding Kings Island's Firehawk roller coaster. He says the other day was for the body of Veronica Cooper Bryant.  She died Sunday in Westwood. Both autopsies were completed Tuesday.

"The sad part, there are people right now in my drawer, cases waiting to be processed, that will be delayed," says Owens.

He says there are other impacts too.

"The more serious problem is the forensic laboratory. The laboratory will be closed two days in a row therefore that will again add to the backlog" says Owens. "What we've had to do because of the budget cuts, is to limit what we'll test. If you bring me in ten items, then I'm going to test three. If I can answer your question, was this person at this scene, then we stop."

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