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Possible shakeup ahead for Wayne coroner’s office

The county coroner job isn’t an elected position most of us think about, said Wayne County Administrator Rick House, but the work the office does is vital.

“The job of coroner is never in the spotlight,” House said. “But it has the potential to have a huge impact upon families” if the process goes badly.

And in Wayne County, House said that happened under former coroner Dr. Karen Nickell, who succeeded longtime coroner Dr. David Hannan, who retired in 2016.

The result, he said, is a backlog of coroner office-related activities that resulted in, among other incidents, a botched death certificate case in Lyons that delayed a life insurance payout and a misidentified body being sent to the wrong town.

Death certificates have been delayed in other cases as well, House added.

In the case of the delayed life insurance payout, it took five months to receive an amended death certificate, he said.

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