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Mississippi Medical Examiner resigns after being on leave

January 29, 2021 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State Medical Examiner Dr. Mark Levaughn has resigned, more than two months after he was placed on administrative leave for an undisclosed “personnel matter.”

Department of Public Safety Spokesman Chris Vignes confirmed with WLBT-TV on Thursday that Levaughn was stepping down.

Levaughn was placed on leave in November. Mississippi Department of Public Safety officials haven’t said why, and no criminal charges have been filed against Levaughn.

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Levaughn spent around a decade with the State Medical Examiner’s office. His departure comes as the state’s underfunded and overburdened death investigations unit is facing a slew of backlogs and delays.

Hinds County District Attorney Jody Owens told the television station this week he is waiting for hundreds of autopsy reports to be completed.

“Before last year, we had 88 autopsies that were outstanding before the Mississippi State Crime Lab ... we had 137 murders in our county last year,” Owens said.

Coroners have struggled to get even autopsies scheduled.

“We can basically expect a two week or more time period from the time of someone’s death until the time we can have an autopsy scheduled,” Madison County Coroner Alex Breeland told WLBT-TV