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SLO City News

Sheriff Hires Fulltime Medical Examiner By Neil Farrell

The County Sheriff has pegged a true trailblazer to become the first full-time medical examiner in San Luis Obispo County history.

Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Cipolla announced that Sheriff Ian Parkinson has hired Dr. Joye M. Carter, MD, as the County’s full-time forensic pathologist, coming to the Central Coast of California from her previous assignment as chief medical examiner of Harris County, Texas, the greater Houston Area that was just ravaged by Hurricane Harvey. Dr. Carter started work on Sept. 11.

She takes over for the County’s embattled former contract medical examiner, Dr. Gary Walter, who’s had a tough year or so after he was involved in a DUI collision while en route to the County Morgue to conduct an autopsy. He’s also come under fire for a determination he made in the case of Andrew Holland, a County Jail inmate who died after being strapped in a restraint chair for 46 straight hours, succumbing to an embolism once released. Dr. Walter deemed Holland’s demise a “natural” death. The County later settled with Holland’s Family for $5 million.

Dr. Carter comes to SLO County with a number of claims to fame, including writing several books, and she comes with an impressive resume. “Dr. Carter,” Cipolla said, “is a triple board certified physician who has specialized in the field of Forensic Pathology. She is a graduate of Howard University College of Medicine and Wittenberg University, respectively. She is a veteran of the United States Air Force. Dr. Carter is the first African-American to be appointed a Chief Medical Examiner in the history of the United States.”

She has worked as the deputy chief medical examiner of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner Department, was chief M.E. of the District of Columbia and C.M.E. of Harris County in Houston. She has more than 30 years of experience.

“She was the first African-American and female to be appointed as the Chief Forensic Pathologist to the Coroner of Indianapolis, Indiana,” said Cipolla. “Dr. Carter is also a published author with three books to her credit and she is currently working on her fourth.”

Though the County Sheriff is the official “coroner” of SLO County, Dr. Carter will take over the operations at the morgue.  “Dr. Carter will perform all required autopsies, medical inspections and medical record reviews mandated by the Sheriff-Coroner’s Office,” said Cipolla.

She will be available during regular business hours, and on-call, 24/7 for consultations, suspicious death incidents and homicide scenes, and court testimony.

Cipolla said Dr. Carter will make $248,788 a year, plus benefits and also received $3,000 in moving expenses.

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