Questions for medical examiner go unanswered

January 25, 2012 8:19:43 PM PST
Cook County Medical Examiner Dr. Nancy Jones, incommunicado since the morgue scandal began, is "not doing any interviews" according to a county spokeswoman. "She and the president's office are putting their focus on running ME's office operations," said Liane Jackson, press secretary for Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle.

The ABC7 I-Teams request to tour the morgue was also denied. "We don't schedule tours of the ME's office for privacy reasons" stated Ms. Jackson, who did not respond to our follow-up questions to determine who's privacy would be in jeopardy?

In view of Wednesday's I-Team report about a body that was apparently unaccounted for in early January, we also asked what measures are in place to document remains at the morgue, secure possessions and notify surviving family members?

This is Ms. Jackson's reply:

"When a body comes in, whoever delivers the body has paperwork that needs to be signed off by an ME autopsy technician, intake attendant and the transport worker. A clothing inventory and inventory of personal effects are done, and items then go into a chute that goes into a locked safe. Toe tags and wrist IDs are put on, and the body is placed in the cooler. Several other internal signoffs then take place, and the body is also logged into an intake book with identifying information .

"In Cook Co. b/c (sic) of the large population and geographic area, the responsibility for notifying next of kin rests with the police agency signing off on a body that is transported to the ME'S office or doing an investigation. All property is inventoried and kept in the safe or in the locked storage room if it is something too large to fit in the safe."