New equipment could help solve murder investigations

Alfie Ballew is the Marion County Chief Deputy Coroner. (WISH Photo/Julian Grace)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Marion County Coroner’s Office performs a variety of autopsies each year including fatal accidents, suspicious deaths and bodies riddled with bullets.

The average autopsy takes an hour and half, but conducting an autopsy on a body with multiple bullets can take anywhere from four to five hours.

During the process of an autopsy, organs are removed and weighed as each bullet and fragments are pulled out. This is a detailed process because each piece of a bullet could be used as evidence.

“We have to be very careful on how we recover those, because those will later be used as evidence,” said Alfie Ballew, chief deputy coroner.

The office is currently looking at purchasing portable x-ray equipment that will give coroners a picture of where the bullets are located in the body.

Complicating matters is the various types of bullets the coroner is pulling out of the body.

“We’ve seen a variety of different types of bullets that are being used. We have a difficult time recovering bullets that are going into the body,” said Ballew.

The Marion County Coroner’s Office hopes to add x-ray machines in the 2016.

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