After using a local funeral home as a base of operations for almost 25 years, Tate County Coroner Pat Kizziah finally has a place of his own.
Kizziah moved into what is now officially known as the Tate County Medical Examiner’s Office & Morgue, located at 906 E.F. Hale Drive in Senatobia, last fall but the finishing touches were added recently when the county purchased a new 10 by 12-foot mortuary cooler with enough space to hold up to 12 bodies.
“The cooler at Pate-Jones Funeral Home they shared with the county holds three bodies and it normally stays full,” said Kizziah, who was appointed deputy coroner in 1990 before he was elected to the position full-time in 1996. “This will give us more flexibility, especially if there is a tornado or some other type of disaster in our area.”
At its recessed meeting in August, the Tate County Board of Supervisors recognized Pate-Jones Funeral Home by presenting Brian Jones, Mary Anne Jones-Sinquefield and Olivia Jones with a resolution in their honor.
“We thoroughly appreciate everything you have done for this county,” Billy Saunders, Vice-President of the Board of Supervisors, told the Jones family. “We want you to know the service you provided for our citizens did not go unnoticed.”
The building that houses the Tate County Medical Examiner’s Office was once used by MedStat, a previous ambulance provider for the county. Renovations were made to the 3,000 square-foot structure to include ample meeting space, offices, embalming tables, lighting, and a backup generator. The building also has two large vehicle bays and an equipment storage area for the Tate County Emergency Management Agency.
“It’s nice when you get called out in the middle of the night to be able to push a button, back a vehicle in and lock the door again,” Kizziah pointed out. “It’s safe and secure, especially being located so close to the sheriff’s office with deputies constantly driving by.”
The Tate County Medical Examiner’s Office is responsible for keeping death records for individuals who passed away in the county and determines a deceased person's time and cause of death, often in the case of sudden or unexpected deaths.
TCMEO identifies bodies, notifies the next of kin, and returns personal belongings to the family. It also works closely with the Tate County Sheriff’s Office and Senatobia Police Department investigating suspicious or violent deaths and creates death records that can be used in criminal investigations or to resolve insurance claims.
“We are deeply grateful and honored the Jones family was willing to work with us and help our county for so many years,” said Cole Massie, Tate County Administrator. “Supervisors saw a need for something like this for our coroner and pulled together to make it happen.”