I-Team sources: Dr. Nancy Jones out as chief medical examiner

Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Nancy Jones

June 18, 2012 8:44:49 PM PDT
Less than five months after the ABC7 I-Team revealed photos of indigent bodies grotesquely piled up at the Cook County Morgue, embattled Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Nancy Jones will be stepping down, according to several sources inside county government. "It's my understanding she's out," said one county official who requested not to be named.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has scheduled a news conference for 9:30 a.m. Tuesday "to announce changes in personnel, policy and procedure at the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office."

A spokesperson for Preckwinkle was not immediately available for comment and Dr. Jones has not answered our request for details.

Since the body scandal at the morgue broke in January, Ms. Preckwinkle has said numerous times that Dr. Jones was not a target of her plans to overhaul the office. However, the first legislative move made by the Cook County board included limits on what historically had been the medical examiner's "lifetime appointment."

Jones was appointed in 2007 by former Board President Todd Stroger. Under the county ordinance at the time, "the Medical Examiner's term continues until he or she resigns or is removed for cause following notice and an opportunity to be heard."

The county law changed a few months ago to allow for easier dismissal of the Medical Examiner.

Dr. Jones, described by some colleagues as a brilliant pathologist but who lacked administrative passion and skills, has remained out of public view since the scandal in her office began early this year. ABC7 has attempted on numerous occasions to speak with Jones about the functions of the ME and her capabilities but she has consistently refused.

On some occasions Jones, a public employee, has gone to great lengths to avoid being presented with a reporter's question. She once covered her face while walking down a public street as an ABC7 producer inquired about her office. Another time, at a speech she was giving to funeral home operators, Dr. Jones used side and back exits to duck ABC7.

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