Skip to content

Seven Oaks Will Donate Coroner’s Van

A coroner’s van is a vehicle used by the coroner, a public official responsible for the investigation of violent, sudden, or suspicious deaths.

Staff Report

WATER VALLEY – In last week’s edition, the Herald incorrectly reported that Garner-Harper Funeral Home will transport all bodies in deaths the coroner is summoned to investigate a death.

    The story, which followed the details of a supervisors’ decision to hire Garner-Harper to pickup deceased bodies, did not provide precise details of the arrangement.

    “We fielded a number of phone calls after the story was published in last week’s paper,” Herald Editor David Howell reported.

    “What the story should have reported was that the decision to hire Garner-Harper was only applicable for unclaimed bodies, or bodies on which an autopsy was scheduled, and not for every coroner call” Howell continued.

    “We apologize for the confusion, especially to Seven Oaks Funeral Home owner/operator Liz Reynolds and to Coroner Ronnie Stark.”

    This means Seven Oaks, or a funeral home of the victim’s family’s choice, will continue to pick up the deceased for families who already have arrangements, just as before.

    While Stark averages six to eight coroner calls only a monthly basis, only around a dozen calls per year involve bodies that would be sent to Jackson for an autopsy or that are initially unclaimed.

    “An example of an unclaimed body may be a person involved in a fatality on I-55 who is from Chicago,” Stark explained.

    “In this case, the body would be initially transported by the funeral home hired by the county until the family is notified and the funeral home of their choice picks up the body,” Stark continued.

    Reynolds also reported that as many of half of their funerals involve a deceased person in which the coroner was summoned.

    Seven Oaks has handled the pickup service for a number of years, charging $180 for a pickup. Previously Reynolds had not charged the county  for the actual storage of the body, which at times could be for several days if an out-of-town funeral home was handling the arrangements.

    In early August, Stark told supervisors that Reynolds would increase her rates from $180 per pickup to $380 and begin charging a $60 if a body is  stored over three hours.

    Two weeks later, Supervisors agreed to hire Garner-Harper to provide pickup for the unclaimed bodies or bodies on which autopsies are scheduled, at a cost of $275 per call after Stark told supervisors that Reynolds no longer wanted to perform this service.

    “We also felt like people in the county would be better-served if Stark had a removal vehicle,” Reynolds told the Herald about that decision. If fact, Reynolds and her husband, Representative Tommy Reynolds, feel strongly enough about this situation they have decided to donate a vehicle to the county for Stark.

    “This is something we felt like we could do to help our county,” Reynolds said. “I want our coroner to do the best job for Yalobusha County while at the same time alleviating us from handling emergencies calls or unclaimed bodies,” Reynolds explained.

    “Ronnie would actually respond in this vehicle,” Reynolds explained, adding that Seven Oaks would also offer to provide a backup if the county’s pickup vehicle is on another call or transporting a body to Jackson for an autopsy.

Leave a Comment