KENNEWICK,WA - The Benton County Coroner normally send all their toxicology tests to the State Patrol Crime Lab, but due to a backlog they have been sending them to a private lab.
The reason for the backlog is because the lab is not getting the proper funding, which in turn makes it difficult to maintain the staff and proper equipment. This has led to many problems. A big problem is when it comes to giving families death certificates.
"The number one problem is the families who are waiting for death certificates to be completed," said William Leach who is the Benton County coroner. "We have to wait for the toxicology to come back on many of them before we can sign the death certificate."
Another issue is the usage of the private lab costs money unlike the State Patrol Crime Lab. This has caused the coroner to dip into their autopsy budget to make up for the backlog.
Leach is unsure when the problem will be resolved in the meantime they plan to continue using the private lab. But if they run out of funds they will have to go to county to request more money.