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Prowers County Coroner denies accusations he refuses to pick up bodies, wants to be full-time

PROWERS COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) - The Prowers County coroner denies recent accusations that he refused to pick up a dead body.     

KRDO13 Investigates found he's trying to convince county commissioners to make him a full-time employee.     

Earlier this month, EMS crews in Prowers County called the County Coroner, Tommy Dunagan, for a death investigation.    

According to EMS, Dunagan said due to him being a part-time employee, he couldn't work any more hours that week and he wouldn't be able to respond until the next day when he was back on the clock.      

Then Dunagan apparently told crews on-scene that if they didn't like his decision they could take it up with County Commissioners.     

"You actually gave them, the ambulance crew, my phone number," Commissioner Cook said in a meeting.

"All of your phone numbers," Dunagan responded.  

Dunagan eventually did agree to respond to the call but only if commissioners called a meeting to discuss his part-time employment.    

The Commissioners say they've already made up their minds in January, and argue that the relatively small number of deaths in the county doesn't require a full-time coroner.   

Dunagan disagrees.      

"I believe this year they're going to double from 2021 whatever it was.  I believe deaths will double," Dunagan said.  

In the special meeting, the Commissioners told Dunagan, they couldn't change his salary until 2026 and cited state law for that.     

Meanwhile, Dunagan told KRDO13 Investigates he feels commissioners aren't taking his calls for help seriously.    

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Josh Helmuth

Josh is an anchor for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Josh here.

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Emily Arseneau

Emily is the Digital Content Director for KRDO NewsChannel 13 Learn more about her here.


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