Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner
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|Jurisdiction||Los Angeles County, California|
|Headquarters||Boyle Heights, California|
The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner (formerly the Department of Coroner) was created in its present form in Boyle Heights on December 17, 1920 by an ordinance approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, although it has existed in some form since the late 19th century. On September 3, 2020, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the name change for the department, from the Department of the Coroner to the Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
On July 9, 2010, the Board of Supervisors approved the appointment of Mark A. Fajardo, the Chief Forensic Pathologist at Riverside County, as the new Medical Examiner-Coroner, at an annual salary of $275,000. He formally replaced Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran, who served 2 years as the Coroner, in August 2013.
Dr. Mark Fajardo resigned in March 2016. A news report indicated that "he left because it became common to have up to 50 bodies waiting to be processed and the backlog of bodies was 'nuts'. ... and toxicology tests were taking six months to complete" due to inadequate staffing.
Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran was re-appointed, but as interim coroner, on April 11, 2016. As of December 30, 2016, the position of Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner had not been permanently filled. A search process had been initiated by the county, with Ralph Andersen & Associates working "to develop a customized recruitment brochure for this position".
Dr. Jonathan R. Lucas was appointed as the Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner on July 10, 2017. Dr. Lucas announced his intent to leave DMEC (The Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner) in September of 2022. On November 4, 2022, Dr. Odey C. Ukpo, Medical Director of the Department, was sworn in as Interim Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner. Dr. Ukpo is the first African American to serve as Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner since the office was established in 1850. Dr. Ukpo joined the department in 2014 and served as a Senior Deputy Medical Examiner before being named Medical Director in June 2022. 
List of coroners
- Horace G. Cates: 1892-1896
- Theodore Curphey: March 19, 1957 – October 25, 1967
- Thomas Noguchi: October 26, 1967 – April 27, 1982
- Ronald Kornblum: April 27, 1982 – July 1, 1990
- J. Lawrence Cogan (Acting): July 2, 1990 – February 18, 1992
- Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran: February 18, 1992 – March 31, 2013
- Mark A. Fajardo: August 12, 2013 – April 11, 2016
- Lakshmanan Sathyavagiswaran (interim): April 11, 2016 – January 18, 2017
- Christopher Rogers (Acting): January 19, 2017 – July 9, 2017
- Jonathan R. Lucas: July 10, 2017 – November 4, 2022
- Odey C. Ukpo (interim): November 4, 2022 – present
- "Countywide Classification Actions to Change the Name of the Department of Coroner and Implement the Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Final Budget" (PDF). Chief Executive Office. County of Los Angeles. 3 September 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "Appointment, Salary, and Relocation Reimbursement for Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner" (PDF). Chief Executive Office. County of Los Angeles. 9 July 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- Villacorte, Christina (September 4, 2013). "L.A.'s first new coroner in decades faces tough tasks". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "2016 in Review: 16 LA stories that mattered this year - Coroner Resigns". Los Angeles Daily News. December 30, 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
- "Chief Medical Examiner – Coroner – Los Angeles County". Ralph Andersen & Associates. Ralph Andersen & Associates. 2016. Retrieved December 31, 2016.
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- "LLA County appoints Ukpo as interim coroner". Los Angeles Daily News. November 6, 2022. Retrieved 22 November 2022.
- "Dr. Odey C. Ukpo appointed by Board of Supervisors as Interim Chief Medical Examiner-Coroner". County of Los Angeles Medical Examiner-Coroner. 4 November 2022. Retrieved 22 November 2022.