FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Florence County's Coroner is now using a private lab to help him work faster. Test results in some crime cases are being sent off to a private lab, and results are guaranteed to return within ten days.
"You know the test results we get back, through the comprehensive toxicology, are very important to our investigations," said Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken.
Coroner von Lutcken said time is of the essence, when trying to determine how and when someone died. For this reason, von Lutcken has decided to send some toxicology tests to a private lab.The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is normally the state agency that performs all lab work, but due to a large workload, it often times can take months to get results back from the agency.
"Instead of a two, three, or four month turnaround, a private lab guarantees a ten day turnaround time," said Keith von Lutcken.
Just weeks ago, von Lutcken says he started using the private lab to handle some tests.
"In any homicide investigation, especially, time is of the essence. It is very important that we get the test results back quickly," said von Lutcken.
The coroner added in the months it sometimes takes SLED to complete test work, murder suspects could be tampering with evidence and hindering the justice process, in other ways.
"We still use SLED, and we will continue using SLED until we get to the point financially that we can start using the private lab," said von Lutcken.
Von Lutcken says it cost the county around $185 per case to get test results from the private firm. Von Lutcken says that price tag isn't much when a family is waiting for results.
"Families in a lot of situations can't start receiving death benefits from life insurance, military until a manner and cause of death has been ruled on," said von Lutcken.
Lutcken says when funding is available he would like to stop sending tests to SLED altogether and just use the private lab.
"It's very important for the families of Florence County to get some closure at a quicker rate than having to drag it out and waiting," said von Lutcken.
Friday, April 18 2014 7:35 AM EDT2014-04-18 11:35:54 GMT
TABOR CITY, NC (WECT) – Two men were injured Wednesday night in a shooting that Tabor City's police chief believes was in response to a February murder. Police Chief Donald Dowless said shots were firedMore >>
Two men were injured Wednesday night in a shooting that Tabor City's police chief believes was in response to a February murder.More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 7:26 AM EDT2014-04-18 11:26:47 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Temperatures tonight will not be as cold as the last several nights. Temperatures will drop into the middle to upper 40s. Skies will start out mostly clear, but start to turnMore >>
Temperatures tonight will not be as cold as the last several nights. Temperatures will drop into the middle to upper 40s. Skies will start out mostly clear, but start to turn mostly cloudy by daybreak Friday.More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 7:07 AM EDT2014-04-18 11:07:35 GMT
Latta, SC (WMBF)-Latta's town council meeting brought over 100 people out. Many of these people wanted the mayor to discuss the firing of Former Police Chief Crystal Moore but that did not happen. InsteadMore >>
Over 100 people showed up the Latta town council meeting Thursday evening, many to discuss and protest the firing of former Police Chief Crystal Moore. More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 6:13 AM EDT2014-04-18 10:13:03 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A lot of people avoid downtown Myrtle Beach because it can be tough to find a place to park - especially in the summer. But the Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment CorporationMore >>
The Myrtle Beach Downtown Redevelopment Corporation has a plan in the works to add four-to-six small, public parking garages.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-04-18 02:43:40 GMT
CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – The Horry County Sheriff's Office, along with AARP South Carolina and Shred Alert, is hosting a shred event on Friday, May 2, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The event is free and openMore >>
The Horry County Sheriff's Office, along with AARP South Carolina and Shred Alert, is hosting a shred event on Friday, May 2, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 10:21 PM EDT2014-04-18 02:21:36 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The novel authored by local Paul Grimshaw will be featured in seven Walmart stores throughout the Palmetto state, including the Seaboard Street location. Grimshaw's debut time-travelMore >>
The novel authored by local Paul Grimshaw will be featured in seven Walmart stores throughout the Palmetto state, including the Seaboard Street location.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 10:12 PM EDT2014-04-18 02:12:39 GMT
CONWAY, SC – (WMBF) - Coast RTA submitted a letter to SCDOT to discuss its options to repay more than $300,000 of debt Thursday afternoon. The public transportation company has a balance of $324,093 owedMore >>
Coast RTA submitted a letter to SCDOT to discuss its options to repay more than $300,000 of debt, Thursday afternoon.More >>