Monday afternoon marked the end of local judges having to send victims of auto accidents, homicides, or questionable deaths to Dallas for autopsy. Since last year when the Southeast Forensic Center closed it’s doors victims had to be transported at an extensive cost to Dallas in the cost of the autopsy and transportation costs. Many cases families of the victims had to delay funerals or pay extra costs for a Dallas funeral home to deliver a loved one back to Montgomery County after the autopsy was complete.
Due to the number of autopsies done in Montgomery county each year which between the two pathologists could number over 600. Harris County was unable to handle the work load.
The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office was burdened with the cost of having to send detectives to view the autopsy. This sometimes entailed an overnight stay just to be there first thing in the morning. The same with Conroe Police, Montgomery County Fire Marshal’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies that worked their own crime scenes.
With the opening of the Montgomery County Forensic Center which is directly across the street from the Sheriff’s Office detectives are able to walk over from their office on a moments notice.
The center was a long time coming, planning, easements, and construction delays set the opening date further and further back.
The land was purchased by the county in July of 2010 for $1.2 million. The purchase was for 6 acres of land. The estimate was to have the center up and going within 90 days of the purchase.
Brett Ligon was on hand for the open house Monday afternoon and was thrilled to have the center finally completed and operational. He said that Dr. Sparks Veasey was well qualified candidate for the director of the new Montgomery County Forensic Center. Dr. Veasey came from south of Houston where along with being a pathologist he was a prosecutor. Dr. Veasey joined the Southeast Forensic Center before Dr. Brown closed it. He was then asked by Montgomery County to take the helm of the new center. Dr. Veasey also served on two occassions as Chief Medical Examiner for the University of Texas in Galveston.
The Montgomery County Forensic Center will not just handle local Montgomery County cases but will be available through agreements with other surrounding counties to perform their autopsies therefore funding the center .
The grand opening ended at 4:00p.m. and within minutes the first of the Justice of the Peace autopsies started arriving.