Refrigerated trucks could cost more than $100,000 as Hinds Co. scrambles to find space for bodies

Lack of morgue forces Hinds Co. to find space for deceased

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Each fatal shooting or accident takes a toll on families who recently have waited weeks for closure.

Hinds County is feeling the greatest impact because it has no place to store the deceased as cases mount at the State Medical Examiner’s Office.

Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham Stewart's dilemma Monday was where would she place Jackson's latest homicide victim until autopsy at the backlogged State Medical Examiners Office.

“Let me get to the scene and do what I’ve go to do there, and then I’ll figure out what I’ll do when I leave there,” recalled Grisham Stewart before responding to Manship Street.

Hinds County has no morgue and relies on available space at private facilities and hospitals. The county has 10 deceased in three different locations and no more space in the private facility.

"I've worn out my welcome there. We've more or less taken over the place," said the coroner. "I was informed Sunday should I have any additional cases that they would prefer that I find other facilities for storage".

Hinds County supervisors are researching temporarily renting refrigerated freezers.

Board President Robert Graham said the cost is $7,000 per week with a $15,000 mobilization fee.

Fuel costs are extra.

The coroner said the state is also trying to help.

"I've been in contact with a representative from MEMA, and he is assisting," said Grisham Stewart. "There are some options that are being explored and this would provide some relief".

Meanwhile Hinds County has the highest death rate from homicides and COVID-19.

"We do not have any additional space as of this moment and again cross our fingers, and we hope that we don't have any need for additional," added the county medical examiner.

Supervisor Graham said purchasing a refrigerated freezer could be in excess of $100,000.

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