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October 16, 2020

Skagit County receives Bureau of Justice Assistance grant to build morgue

Today, Skagit County announced that it has received a Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement grant of $250,000 to help build a new morgue for the Coroner’s office. This grant was provided by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Currently, the Skagit County Coroner utilizes the morgue at Skagit Valley Hospital. The Skagit County Coroner’s office in Mount Vernon will be renovated to include the new morgue. The new space will more than triple the number of cases the Coroner is able to hold or work on at one time, allow for increased tissue donation from non-hospital deaths, and give families more time to make appropriate plans for their loved ones remains.

“We currently share five total morgue spaces with Skagit Valley Hospital, and while we’re grateful for their partnership, it’s not enough space,” said Skagit County Coroner Hayley Thompson. “This new facility will increase capacity drastically, allowing us to better serve Skagitonians and their families for years to come. I’m so thankful for all the Coroner’s office staff who worked on this grant and made this possible.”

Chair of the Skagit County Board of Commissioners Ron Wesen added, “The Coroner’s office provides an invaluable function in our community. Accurate, timely, professional death investigations are needed to serve not just the deceased individuals and their families, but the community at large. What we learn from death investigations helps inform public health policy and direct funding where it’s most needed.”

Commissioner Lisa Janicki said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has made good death investigations and good death data more important than ever. This project is timely and will help us deal with some of the most pressing issues in our community.”

Commissioner Ken Dahlstedt says, “We’re thankful for Coroner Thompson and her leadership on this project, and grateful to our partners, the Department of Justice, and the community at large for their continued support.”

Construction on the new morgue is expected to begin in 2022. In addition to Coroner Hayley Thompson, the Skagit Coroner’s Office employs one full time Deputy Coroner and five part-time on-call Coroners to assist with cases as needed. 

If you have questions, or need additional information on the project, call Skagit County Coroner’s Office at 360-416-1996 or email coroner@co.skagit.wa.us.