On Monday evening, April 15, at the Scott County Quorum Court meeting, Judge James Forbes and members of the court went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.
Upon reconvening, Judge James Forbes stated that Scott County Coroner, Sam Callahan and Deputy Coroner, Billy Biggs had resigned.
“…It will be up to the Quorum Court to appoint a new coroner in accordance with state law. The Quorum Court has indicated that I run it in the paper for two weeks. They will review all applicants and make a decision. I take full responsibility for all these actions and we will leave it at that. The Quorum Court understands, and I appreciate your patience in this matter.”
Forbes then instructed Sheriff Randy Shores that if there is a call about a body or a death that requires the coroner’s presence that he will be required to get a hold of the JP for that district and the judge.
“We will both be there,” Forbes stated. “The JPs most likely don’t know a lot about this, but I know a little bit more due to the fact I’ve had todeal with the laws…we will deal with that issue as we go along…I am taking 100 percent of the responsibility for this, period. Our coroner did a good job, a fine job.”
Callahan stated the reason for his resignation was “in his letter to the court.”
In that letter, Callahan thanked the citizens of Scott County for allowing him to serve for the past 10 plus years. He noted that lack of funding for the office prohibited him from carrying out his duties as coroner. Furthermore, recent issues of the handling of an unclaimed body.
According to Callahan’s letter, “I was advised that it was the county’s responsibility to provide for the final disposition of the deceased. I requested to be put on the agenda to ask for funds for the final disposition and was told it was too late…After two weeks of not being able to resolve this matter, my wife and I felt it was our Christian duty and as human beings to lay the deceased to rest with dignity and respect. Therefore, the individual was laid to rest…With great regret I feel I must resign as Scott County Coroner for the following reasons. I feel that it is a conflict of interest for me to own a funeral home and that funeral home be responsible for paying the fees for storage of deceased individuals, for which the coroner’s office must receive into our care for legal investigation or be responsible for the final disposition of unclaimed deceased persons.”
Callahan’s resignation was effective as of midnight on Monday, April 15. The Quorum Court will accept applications for the position for the next two weeks and then meet to appoint Callahan’s replacement.
Mansfield native, with roots in Scott County. Daughter, sister, wife and Christian.
Education: 1995 MHS graduate; 1999 Arkansas Tech University Graduate - BA in Journalism. Career: Managing Editor - The Citizen; Copy Writer - Southwest Times Record; Editor - Resident Press. 20+ years experience in the news.