Franklin County Coroner Requests Body Cooler

September 13, 2013

By MJ Kneiser, WLHR Radio, Lavonia

Franklin County’s Coroner is asking the County to pay for the purchase of a body cooler.

At their regular meeting Monday evening, the board of commissioners heard from Franklin County Deputy Coroner Kenny Smith.

Smith told the board Franklin County has no place to store bodies and purchasing a cooler is not a luxury but a dire necessity.

“In the last six months it’s happened five times where we’ve had nowhere to put them (bodies),” Smith said. “In my 20 years it has never happened to me that we’ve had every single place we’ve had access to filled. The (GBI) Crime lab was absolutely filled this last time with bodies.”

Currently, when the county needs to store a body until it can be transported for autopsy, they are taken to the Hartwell Chapel of Strickland Funeral Home, which has the nearest available cooler.

Smith said the county then pays Strickland a $75 a day storage fee.

Smith said after doing some research, he was able to find a three-drawer body cooler for $6,073 from StarSouth Distribution of Tampa, FL.

Smith said Ty Cobb Regional Medical Center CEO Greg Hearn has offered space at the hospital for the cooler, rent free on the condition the hospital can also use it from time to time.

After hearing from Smith, commission chair Thomas Bridges said he was ready to move forward with the purchase of the cooler.

Commissioner Jeff Jacques asked for time to find the money.

“I have no problem. I’m in favor of it. I just want to know that when we vote on this, we know where the money is coming from,” Jacques said.

No vote was taken and commissioners plan to take up the matter again at their work session later this month.