JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Hinds County has found a solution to the lack of storage space for the deceased awaiting autopsies.
Thursday, the Hinds County Board of Supervisors announced that they have found a facility to serve as a temporary morgue.
"This really relieves a lot of stress off of me," said Hinds County Coroner Sharon Grisham Stewart.
After more than four years of using private storage space, the county medical examiner received news from the Hinds County Board of Supervisors that she will finally have a permanent facility to house the deceased awaiting autopsy.
“It gives me so much relief to know that when I go to sleep at night I don’t have to say a prayer and hope that we don’t have a homicide or a car wreck or anybody that I would need to pick up and transport and hold,” said Stewart during Thursday’s news conference.
Board President Robert Graham announced the allocation of an undisclosed building and use of space at the State Medical Examiner’s Office. According to Graham, a private entity was involved in the acquisition of the existing facility.
Without a morgue, the lack of space at private facilities escalated with the crime lab backlog and COVID-19 deaths.
“We were able to put this together by working hard, by having good relationships and making sure that everyone understood what we needed to do and the seriousness of the situations,” said Graham. “It’s going to be a minimal cost to taxpayers and the public.”
The board credited Governor Tate Reeves, Senator David Blount and Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell with acquiring the county morgue. There are eight cases awaiting autopsies.
The coroner said the facility requires minor modifications before occupancy in the very near future.
The Board of Supervisors also announced the retirement of Hinds County Emergency Operation Center Director Ricky Moore. Effective August 31, he will be leaving to be a caretaker to his father.
The 65-year-old has worked 45 years in government in Hinds County, Jackson and Utica.
Moore has overseen crises spanning from Hurricane Katrina to February’s floods and the coronavirus.