Calcasieu Coroner’s Office sustains additional damage due to Hurricane Delta

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 10:47 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - Since Hurricane Laura, the Calcasieu Coroner’s office has been storing bodies in a freezer truck, operating without their transport vehicle and dealing with spotty WiFi. Now, Calcasieu Parish Coroner, Dr. Terry Welke explained there’s even more damage as a result of Delta.

“Some of the repairs, they had started after Laura, and obviously they were not fixed permanently, temporarily, and some of those areas had additional damage,” Dr. Welke said.

It’s even impacted how employees at the Coroner’s Office do their jobs.

“Workflow has probably slowed down a little bit from Laura,” Dr. Welke said. "Laura was a major problem though, not so much with Delta. Delta’s only been here since a week ago, so we still haven’t seen all the results of that.”

They have made it a priority to make sure the evidence isn’t contaminated.

“That is primarily our main focus, especially on criminal cases where we have anything like that,” said Charlie Hunter Jr, chief investigator for the Calcasieu Coroner’s Office. "We take extreme pride in making sure everything is taken care of.”

Considering the ceiling damage and the lack of lights within the building which is especially evident in the autopsy room, it’s a feat.

“We have to conduct the post-mortem examination here, while we have rain that would potentially be coming in from one spot on the ceiling and rain coming in from the other spot on the building," Hunter said. "So, we’re essentially conducting a post-mortem exam in between rain showers to where the body is not contaminated, and the employees are obviously not getting wet from the rain.”

The Coroner’s Office doesn’t have a timeline on when repairs will be made.

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