Missouri coroner accused of stealing from a dead person, misstating causes of death

Feb 8, 2024, 11:52 AM

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey filed criminal charges Thursday accusing a county coroner of stealing cash from a dead person and misstating the causes of death for several people.

Bailey also filed a motion that seeks to remove Cape Girardeau County Coroner Wavis Jordan from office. The criminal charges include three felony counts of providing false information to vital records and one misdemeanor count of stealing.

“My heart goes out to the victims in this case, whose lives have been upended,” Bailey said in a statement. “To that end, I am moving for the immediate removal of the Cape Girardeau Coroner.”

Jordan said he had not been informed of Bailey’s allegations and declined comment.

Jordan, a Republican, was elected coroner in the southeastern Missouri county in 2020. He could face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

A court filing from Bailey said that a man died in April at an apartment in Cape Girardeau. Police photographed his wallet with cash in it. Later, Bailey wrote, Jordan confirmed he had possession of the wallet, but the money was gone. Jordan denied to police that he took the money.

The filing also cited several instances where deaths appeared to be either from suicide or a drug overdose, but Jordan listed the cause of death in each case as “natural.”

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Missouri coroner accused of stealing from a dead person, misstating causes of death