Mississippi’s chief medical examiner resigns

News

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV/AP) – The chief medical examiner for Mississippi has resigned. Dr. Mark LeVaughn was placed on administrative leave in November 2020.

Leaders for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety (DPS) confirmed to 12 News that LeVaughn resigned. Chris Vignes, the director of marketing and public relations for DPS, said the department “does not comment on personnel issues.”

DPs officials haven’t said why LeVaughn was placed on administrative leave, and no criminal charges have been filed against him.

The State Medical Examiner’s Office is responsible for determining the cause and manner of death for all reportable deaths requiring investigation.

Levaughn spent around a decade with the State Medical Examiner’s office. His departure comes as the state’s underfunded and overburdened death investigations unit is facing a slew of backlogs and delays.

Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens said he is waiting for hundreds of autopsy reports to be completed.

“Before last year, we had 88 autopsies that were outstanding before the Mississippi State Crime Lab … we had 137 murders in our county last year,” Owens said.

Coroners have struggled to get even autopsies scheduled.

“We can basically expect a two week or more time period from the time of someone’s death until the time we can have an autopsy scheduled,” said Madison County Coroner Alex Breeland.

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