WHNT.com

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — For the first time in the history of the Marshall County Coroner’s Office, the coroner will actually have an office.

The county commission approved the measure and is now seeking bids for an office building to be used by the coroner.

According to the Marshall County Coroner’s Office (MCCO), their records are currently scattered throughout five private homes and businesses. Since 2019, they say investigations from their office have doubled with the county’s homicide rates growing tremendously. In fact, there have been 37 homicides over those last four years.

Needless to say, having an actual office will be essential to their work.

“We have seen a huge increase in just the number of homicide deaths as well, which take a lot more investigation,” said Marshall County Coroner Cody Nugent. “Having an office that’s set up just for our office that we don’t have to worry about unpacking our vehicles with our equipment to bring into a funeral home to work is going to be tremendous for us.”

While most of the work done by the coroner involves the deceased, Nugent says what he does also leads to improved lives for the living.

“A few cases we were able to track numerous deaths within a couple of days period back to one source,” he explained. “And that information was passed on to the drug unit. They were the ones that proceeded with the prosecution and tried to work a case on it, so our office does a lot and that helps save lives.”

Nugent says the commission’s vote to set aside $800,000 for a building is a huge step in getting the coroner’s office better equipped with all its assets under one roof.

“We have a property down at the EMA [emergency management agency] facility, that’s where that building will be built,” said Marshall County Commission Chairman James Hutchenson. “We have some extra room down there so we already have the land what we need to do now is to get the architect drawn and proceed from there depending on how the bid comes out.”

The commission says the ideal building needs a nice office space with a conference room, a place to store records and bodies, and parking for up to six workers.