County medical examiner needs money to deal with spike in bodies

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The Maricopa County Examiner's Office is seeing a spike in bodies it wasn't prepared for. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) The Maricopa County Examiner's Office is seeing a spike in bodies it wasn't prepared for. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
The Maricopa County Examiner's Office is asking for an additional $278,000 to deal with the rise in bodies. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) The Maricopa County Examiner's Office is asking for an additional $278,000 to deal with the rise in bodies. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Maricopa County Examiner's Office is asking for another $300,000 to deal with a spike in bodies filling up their morgue. 

The cause for the rise remains unclear, but the chief medical examiner said Wednesday that he suspects it could be related the rise in heroin addiction. 

"Certainly it's on our radar. It's looking at if they are drug-related deaths. I think that's the most likely cause," said Jeff Johnson, the chief medical examiner for Maricopa County. 

Johnson said his office noticed the grim trend at the start of the year and will not know for sure what's behind the rise until sometime next year. 

Johnson will ask the County Board of Supervisors for an additional $278,000 on Monday. 

The money will be used to hire two more examiners to help with the growing caseload as well as clearing nearly 1,700 reports that remain open. 

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Dennis WlechVeteran political reporter Dennis Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona.

Dennis Welch
Political Editor

Before making the move to television, Welch wrote and edited for the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California. Welch is a well-respected political expert in Arizona and his addition means 3TV will provide a stronger, more robust political presence in Arizona. He joins 3TV from the Arizona Guardian, a highly influential online news site dedicated to Arizona politics and government where he served as owner and editor. During his Guardian days, Welch was a frequent guest on “Politics Unplugged” and has been a regular fixture on the state political landscape since 2005 appearing on numerous radio and television talk shows. “I am thrilled to start working with such a talented and dedicated staff of journalists,” said Welch. “This is a great opportunity to broaden the reach of my political coverage and tell stories that affect Arizona voters and their families.” With more than 13 years of experience under his belt, Welch’s arrival only strengthens 3TV’s commitment to providing first-rate political and government coverage across all platforms. When not covering politics, Welch is an avid runner and fronts a punk rock band that plays frequently throughout the Southwest and California.

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