The Marion County Coroner’s office in Indianapolis is being investigated by a prosecutor after more than $3,000 was stolen from a body, revealing lapses in computer and storage security, the Indianapolis Star reports. In Indiana, coroners are elected, and the job is a part-time position that requires no medical training. Kenneth Ackles, a chiropractor, took over the coroner’s office in 2005 for a four-year term.
A police investigation found a lack of computer security that allowed nearly three-dozen employees to alter property receipts without detection, according to a confidential memo obtained by the Star. That lapse has raised concerns that evidence could be corrupted. The memo reported that several thousand dollars worth of county equipment was missing and concluded that the coroner’s office, “at least on the administrative level, is incompetent and careless.” David Cook, the county’s chief public defender, said the allegations were red flags that could prompt defense lawyers to challenge evidence handled by the coroner and appeal convictions. “If there ever becomes credibility issues with the coroner’s office or the forensic pathologists, it jeopardizes the ability to get a conviction,” he said.