Texas County Coroner receives ABMDI certification

                                                                  Photo by Shari Harris
Texas County Coroner Marie Lasater received her certificate of accreditation to ABMDI.
By Shari Harris

Texas County Coroner Marie Lasater has achieved a distinction few coroners in the state can claim. After two and a half years of study, she has earned the status of Board Certified Fellow of the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators.
ABMDI “certifies individuals who have the proven knowledge and skills necessary to perform medicolegal death investigations….” The Dept. of Justice is encouraging more coroners and coroners’ offices to become accredited. Grants are being offered this year to assist in that. Lasater is currently working to have the Texas County Coroner’s Office be the first one in Missouri to receive ABMDI certification.
The certification is not required; a person must only meet the criteria to run for the office of coroner and be voted into office. With the advances in technology and citizens’ awareness of crime scene investigation, however, inadequate investigations have become more obvious and frustrating to families of the deceased.
Lasater explained she likes being able to “assure families their loved ones’ death is fully investigated.” The improvements to the coroner’s office she is currently undertaking to receive accreditation will help her keep that assurance.
Another benefit to the accreditation is in the courtroom, where Lasater is now certified as an expert witness regarding death scene investigation in any case where she is called to testify.
“I always want to be the best at what I do,” said Lasater, when asked why she sought the accreditation. “I’m proud of…being thorough.”
She expressed how important it was for her to be able to give loved ones an answer after a death. “It’s important to people to know how their family member died.” With further investigation, at times what may seem like an obvious cause of death is found to be something altogether different.
Lasater’s push to certify the coroner’s office includes the compilation of the Annual Report of the Texas County Coroner’s Office, which is summarized on B3 of this edition of The Licking News and can be found in full at the county’s website, texascountymissouri.gov, under the Coroner tab. This report provides information to the public about trends in the county and highlights the public health aspect of the job, relating to the cause of natural deaths in the county. Potentially, a reduction in deaths may be possible if trends in a specific disease are identified with the report.
A portable x-ray to aid in investigations and autopsies is being sought by Lasater as another upgrade for the Coroner’s Office. She is seeking a grant for the equipment, as well as other Dept. of Justice grants to meet the multiple requirements necessary to receive accreditation for the office.



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