COLUMBUS, Ga (WRBL) – Over 800 death investigations this year. 41 of those have been homicides.
That many investigations have to greatly impact the workload for Muscogee County’s four coroners.
The 41st homicide came after a 20-year-old died from multiple gunshot wounds at the Parkway Place apartments Christmas evening.
Chief Coroner Buddy Bryan says although the number is high… it doesn’t surprise him at all. He’s conducted tens of thousands of death investigations. He was elected to be the Chief Coroner in Muscogee County in 2012.
“The first year (2012) we had 626 death investigations, that includes homicides, suicides, accidental deaths.. things of that nature,” Bryan says.
Bryan says since then the number has increased. “Last year we had 850, so that’s a big increase and it’s in every category.”
In 2019, the Coroner’s office was called out to 839 death investigations with 41 of them homicides.
“A lot of the public don’t realize the extent of the number of calls we have to make and that we’re out on,” Bryan says.
For the last seven years, the City only employed three coroners. During that time, Bryan says he was working 580 hours a month. That’s not just on scene hours. It includes being on call, working an extra shift and not being able to leave the city limits.
But In June, the city council approved a fourth coroner to try and lighten the load. But with the crime in Columbus Bryan says there’s a possibility he’ll hear the phone ring more.
“I expect more gang violence activity, I actually expect to have another death or two this year,” he says.
Bryan would like for the community to pray for the families who have lost a loved one this year.