Ribbon-cutting ceremony held for new Beaufort Co. forensic pathology suite

Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 4:55 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The new forensic pathology suite is now complete at the Beaufort County coroner’s office.

The new area allows the coroner to be able to perform autopsies locally. The county council approved the half a million-dollar project as part of their $142 million budget in May.

The ceremony welcomed Lowcountry leaders and citizens into the new autopsy suite that has already proven to be beneficial.

“The new suite will give our families closure in hours instead of days or weeks,” District 4 Beaufort County Councilmember Alice Howard said.

The coroner said that’s been proven in the last few weeks, as they’ve performed seven autopsies before the bow was even tied.

“I do want to emphasize our availability to the families and to our local law enforcement agencies,” said Dr. Joni Skipper, a forensic pathologist in Beaufort County.

To law enforcement, the new suite means faster cause of death results during an investigation. With those benefits along with family closure, local leaders say this project is for the entire area.

“This brings a true sense of community to a very difficult time in people’s lives,” District 124 Rep. Shannon Erickson said.

“Really this is about the human factor and allowing us to close quicker with the families,” Port Royal Mayor Joe DeVito said.

With that established, the coroner says there’s one thing he’s proud of above all else.

“Most importantly it’s going to aid us in a faster time in getting the family back to the funeral home of their choice,” Beaufort County Coroner David Ott said.