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Missouri House considers changes to coroner system

jay minor
ABC 17 News
Jay Minor, left, hugs his fiance Debbie Ferguson after testifying to the House Judiciary Committee. Minor's son is the namesake of a bill that would require training for county coroners.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

A House of Representatives committee is considering a bill that would require greater training for county coroners.

The House Judiciary Committee discussed a bill from Rep. Dan Houx (R-Warrensburg) that would establish a Coroners Standard and Training Commission. The commission would write training standards for coroners, and would also require coroners to complete the training in order to sign death certificates.

ABC 17 News Investigates profiled issues with the lack of coroner training in November. Pathologists and coroners alike said better training standards are needed in Missouri to help guide difficult decisions coroners must make.

Jay Minor, whose son Jayke died in Fayette in 2011, said the improved training will help prevent coroners doing poor jobs. Howard County Coroner Frank Flaspohler did not order an autopsy for Jayke despite no apparent signs pointing toward a cause of death.

"There was a terrible job done on his death records to the point where I'll never have the answers on what happened to him," Minor said.

The bill would send one dollar of the fee charged for a death certificate to a new fund to pay for the training. A fiscal note for the bill estimated this would generate $357,595 for the fund.

Saline County Coroner Willie Harlow said the board will also hold coroners accountable for mistakes made.

Houx told ABC 17 News he expects the committee to vote on the bill next week. It would then move to the full House of Representatives for a vote.

ABC 17 News Investigates / Cole / Governor of Missouri / Miller / Missouri / Missouri Politics / MO General Assembly / News / Politics

Lucas Geisler

Lucas Geisler anchors the 5 p.m. show for ABC 17 News and reports on the latest news around mid-Missouri at 9 and 10 p.m.

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