Hamilton County Coroner's Office

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Forensic scientists are starting to use a new instrument that can detect synthetic drugs at the nanogram level. That's important, according to Hamilton County Coroner's Crime Lab Director Michael Trimpe, because "Someone doesn't have to take very much before they die. That's why we're having  all these overdose deaths."

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

The Hamilton County Coroner's office, which houses the county crime lab, will no longer process rape kits from the Cincinnati's police department, according to Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

The last Hamilton County commission meeting of 2017 produced a temporary general fund budget, a budget for the Metropolitan Sewer District, and started the ball rolling on a new crime lab for the coroner's office.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Cincinnati Police say there's a federal indictment in an incident where shots were fired at a downtown skyscraper. 

In January 2015, Rayshawn Herald allegedly shot at the Great American Tower on at least four different nights.  He was arrested after a separate shootout in Mount Auburn in May. 

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

Chris Monzel says the state of the county is strong.  The Hamilton County commission president delivered the annual State of the County address Thursday. 

Provided, Hamilton County Coroner

  Hamilton County commissioners met behind closed doors with the county coroner Wednesday morning to discuss acquiring property for a new crime lab, but apparently came no closer to choosing a site.

In February, commissioners abandoned a plan on using part of the old Mercy Mount Airy Hospital for the new crime lab. Coroner Lakshmi Sammarco says finding a new home for the crime lab is a must, because the old one is cramped and out-of-date.

Sammarco came out of this morning's (Wednesday's) meeting saying they were making progress.

Sarah Ramsey

Replacement parts for 40-year-old body coolers are hard to find. But after some searching, Hamilton County officials have found the part needed to fix the broken compressor on the main body cooler in the coroner's office.

County Administrator Christian Sigman says the part was found in Louisville and costs $3,500, but it's the only one the company has. He says he hopes to have the cooler back in service by Friday. Sigman says the county will continue the search for a second part just in case something goes wrong with the back-up body cooler.

Sarah Ramsey

On top of needing a new facility, Hamilton County's Coroner has a new problem -  one of the county's two body coolers broke over the weekend.

The county coroner, Lakshmi Sammarco, told the county commissioners this morning that the compressor on the cooler went out around 3:45 p.m. Saturday.

Sammarco said the estimated repair cost would be $20,000.

For now her office has moved all the bodies into the backup cooler which is normally used only for decomposed remains.