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The Latest: Colorado coroner accused of official misconduct

September 9, 2019

LEADVILLE, Colo. (AP) — The Latest on the indictment of a Colorado coroner (all times local):

4:30 p.m.

An indictment says the coroner in a remote Colorado mountain community sent his wife to handle three death scenes even though she wasn’t authorized to do so.

The indictment, announced Monday, charges Lake County Coroner Shannon Kent with second-degree official misconduct. Kent said he was waiting to consult with his attorney before commenting.

District Attorney Bruce Brown said Kent’s wife, Staci Kent, is not accused of any crime.

The indictment accuses Shannon Kent of having his wife act as a deputy coroner. Brown says state law requires deputy coroners to take an oath administered by a county clerk or a judge, and that Staci Kent hadn’t done that.

A portion of the indictment released Monday says Staci Kent was delayed in responding to one call because the van she was driving was stuck in the snow with two bodies inside.

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12:30 p.m.

The coroner in a remote Colorado mountain community has been accused of sending his wife to handle numerous death scenes even though she wasn’t authorized to do so.

District Attorney Bruce Brown said Monday that Lake County Coroner Shannon Kent was indicted on a charge of second-degree official misconduct.

Kent said he was waiting to consult with his attorney before commenting.

Kent is based in Leadville, 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Denver. He was appointed to the job in 2012 and elected to four-year terms in 2014 and 2018.

He’s the second elected official in Brown’s district to be indicted this summer.

Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek was charged with official misconduct in August over expenditures from a reserve fund. Van Beek said Brown had misinterpreted the rules.

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This story has been corrected to say the coroner was accused of having his wife respond to death scenes, not investigate deaths.

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