State gets first full-time medical examiner since '95

By NEMS Daily Journal

JACKSON – Dr. Mark LeVaughn was announced Monday as Mississippi’s first full-time state medical examiner since 1995.
“Adding someone of Dr. LeVaughn’s intellect and stature in the field of forensic pathology is a coup for the state of Mississippi,” said Public Safety Commissioner Albert Santa Cruz, who made the announcement.
“He is well-respected by his colleagues, and adding him as our medical examiner means we are without a doubt moving this office in the right direction.”
LeVaughn begins his new job after serving as deputy chief medical examiner for the Erie County Medical Examiner’s Office in Buffalo, N.Y., for the past three years.
Before that, he served as deputy medical examiner for the Kentucky State Medical Examiner’s office and as regional medical examiner-forensic pathologist for coroners in Indiana and Illinois.
“We will conduct forensic investigations in a timely manner without bias,” said LeVaughn. “The coroners, law enforcement agencies and citizens of Mississippi deserve a well-run medical examiner’s office and with the help of Dr. Adel Shakr and our staff that is what we will provide.”
Shakr, hired in November from the Alabama State Medical Examiner’s Office, will serve as deputy chief medical examiner.
The state’s medical office has been vacant since 1995. For most of the time since then, autopsies were performed by Dr. Steven Hayne, whose work was questioned in several criminal cases.
In August 2008, then-Public Safety Commissioner Steve Simpson did not renew Hayne’s contract.
Since then, Mississippi has been contracting its autopsies to Forensic Medical, a private firm in Nashville.