Mid-to-late August is the current timeframe when autopsies will begin happening locally after many years of having them performed in Colorado.
The official date is pending Bexar County’s outgoing Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Randall Frost who is moving from San Antonio, Texas to Lander where he will be able to retire – for the most part.
“We are very excited about it,” Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen explained about Dr. Frost agreeing to do Fremont County autopsies.
It’s been over fifteen years since Fremont County had a pathologist due to the high cost of employing that level of a specialist. That combined with the 28-30 autopsies that are performed annually, it was more feasible to have the examinations happen in Colorado.
Having been in communication with Dr. Frost for years, Stratmoen proposed this idea to the Fremont County Commissioners back in March 2020. They gave the green light to look into it. This plan was officially approved by the Commissioners at the end of June with the approval of the FY 20-21 county budget.
“This will save us a good amount of money,” Stratmoen said. Reducing the amount of Deputy wages for a 15-hour transport to Colorado, as well as, saving on the facility and autopsy assistant fees. This was how they were able to cut their budget.
Law enforcement won’t have to travel when they need to be present during the autopsy for major cases, he noted. This should also save the County Attorney money.
Stratmoen, Chief Deputy Coroner Erin Ivie, and Operations Deputy Tony Simmer have been working with the County to prepare the Lander facility for Dr. Frost’s arrival. The facility has been there for years but needed some refurbishing and a few updates. All done at minimal expense, according to Stratmoen.
“Dr. frost is going to be a very positive addition to the community,” Stratmoen said. “He has family up here and is very familiar with the area.”