‘We need to be prepared’: Coroner needs more resources from government officials

Knott County coroner
Knott County coroner(WYMT)
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 6:02 PM EDT
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KNOTT COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Knott County coroner, Corey Watson said his lack of resources make his job even harder.

“A lot of people think coroners are just people that run out and pick up the body and then leave, but we’re actually the chief death investigator for the state of Kentucky,” said Watson.

After the flash floods in late July, the death toll in Knott County reached 17 people. Watson said it was hard to deal with each investigation because he knew many of the people personally.

“I knew most of them. Most of them I’ve known personally on a first name basis and been to their house. I went to church with one lady usually every Sunday,” he said. “Every other Sunday we were at one of the churches together.”

His office has a three person morgue, and after the flood they dealt with minimal space, no power and looters.

“We had multiple calls at one time. So, the volunteers they would guard the facility because we had looters that were trying to get the generator that was running the morgue,” said Watson.

He said he is passionate about his job but the lack of resources make it harder, and the government officials he has reached out to have not responded.

“Every since I was elected coroner I have said I would much rather have equipment to work with then to have a large pay check,” he said. “I just wish that some of the money that is coming in from the state would be allocated to the coroners that were effected by this. We lost radios, computers and those radios I bought.”

He said he believes now more than ever that coroners need to be prepared with resources to help them.