Thursday, June 29, 2017

From the desk of Bates County Coroner Greg Mullinax

Bates County Coroner Greg D. Mullinax has completed 2017 Medicolegal Death Investigation training hosted by the Missouri Coroners and Medical Examiners Association at their conference in Jefferson City.

One area of focus was the rapidly emerging trend of Fentanyl, Fentanyl Analogs, and Heroin drugs. One drug in particular, Carfentanil, is approximately 10,000 times more potent than morphine. 

The drug is so potent that in one case study, a sheriff's deputy became ill within seconds of only a splash exposure. Knowing where these drugs originate, and identifying signs of fatal overdose, is essential to a Coroner today.

A cold case Homicide was presented by the U.S. Department of Justice and Missouri State Highway Patrol, demonstrating the importance of diligence in cold cases and techniques for preserving evidence throughout many years. Although cold cases can be the most challenging, many outside resources exist for assistance.
Other topics covered included gunshot wound analysis and ballistic evidence, and forensic entomology in the determination of accurate time of death.

"The challenges to a Coroner today in determining an accurate cause of death are complex," said Coroner Mullinax. "New drug analogs are finding their way into our neighborhoods at an mind-blowing rate, and the potency of these substances is almost impossible to comprehend. I have to stay current on what is known of these substances and how to identify them, otherwise a cause of death could potentially be mistaken.”

"I'm grateful that our Commissioners and my office's budget allow for these types of training, because they do cost money - but you can never have enough. Even today, I'm looking ahead to courses available and planning to attend. The Bates County Coroner's Office will stay on the cutting edge of death investigation technology and practice.”