‘Speed this thing up’: Coroner pushes for new office to help close cases

Families are waiting weeks to learn how their loved ones died, and the coroner in one of the largest counties in our area says they have critical needs to help them.

Right now, officials have to travel hours away for forensic autopsies because York County doesn’t have a certified forensic pathologist.

But even with new staff, the York County Coroner says she needs a new building for them to work out of. That comes with a multi-million dollar price tag, but some say it’s worth every penny.

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“He was loved; he is still loved, he is missed very deeply,” said Quadrena Adams, the mother of TJ Hubert.

Hubert was killed in June of 2022; his body was found in Lake Wylie Park. Because the York County Coroner’s Office doesn’t have a forensic pathologist, his body was sent more than three hours away, to Charleston, for an autopsy.

It was a process that left Adams and her family waiting about eight weeks.

Adams said, “As a parent, as a taxpayer, as a victim most importantly, you kinda get selfish and [think] like, ‘Hey can you speed this thing up?’”

York County Coroner Sabrina Gast says she’s been asking county leaders to do just that for years. She says they can help by hiring a forensic pathologist and building a new office with a morgue and room for her employees.

“It would cut down on wait time for final autopsy results significantly,” Gast told Channel 9′s Tina Terry on Monday.

York County Council hasn’t approved that forensic pathologist yet, but it is making plans for a new coroner’s office.

“I’m on board with understanding their space need; the coroner definitely needs a new office,” said York County Councilman William “Bump” Roddey.

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Roddey and some other members say the $7 million project budget needs some trimming.

“My job is to drive this number down to save the taxpayers money on projects like these, because we have several other projects we’re looking at over the next few years,” Roddey told Terry.

Council members will talk about approving an architectural contract for the new building Monday night.

As for the pathologist, some council members say that is not a priority right now, but it could happen in the future.

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