The recent swearing in ceremony for Cherokee County Coroner Dr. Jeremy Deaton was far from typical.
Instead of taking place in the confines of an office, the ceremony was held on the grounds of Randle Cemetery in Gaylesville – as it not only marked the beginning of Dr. Deaton’s next four years of service to the county as coroner – but also served as a means of honoring the memory of an abandoned child:
Dr, Deaton also announced that the Randle Cemetery Committee has graciously donated an area in the cemetery for the burial of those whose bodies may remain unclaimed following death. We spoke with Holly Larsen, a member of the Cemetery Committee – about the day that she was contacted about using Randle Cemetery as the resting place for the child:
Many people may be shocked to learn that there is a need for a burial section such as this, but tragically, that is indeed the case:
Among those in attendance were Wayne and Barbara Day in honor of the late Kirk Day; Bill Perry – who was present in honor of his late father, the county’s first coroner – Mr. Riley O. Perry; and County Commissioner Roger D. Nichols among others. Deputy Cherokee County Coroner Paul McDonald was also sworn in that afternoon by Judge Tim Burgess.
Swearing in Ceremony 2019 participants – Oath of Office: Judge Tim Burgess, Judge of Probate; Bible Holders: Larry and Sheila Stephens, Grandparents and Elizabeth Lauricella, Special Friend; Officiant: Keith Day, pastor of Believers Fellowship
Special Guests – Wayne and Barbara Day, in honor of the late Kirk Day; Bill Perry, present in honor of his late father, the first Coroner, Mr. Riley O Perry; Holly Larsen, Randall Cemetery Committee and Roger D. Nichols, Cherokee County Commissioner.
Open letter to the people of Cherokee County from Dr. Jeremy Deaton
“Several years ago, a tiny infant was found wrapped inside a box in a trunk of a car. This story didn’t make the local or state headlines, but it certainly made a life changing impact on myself. Having recently had an infant daughter, as well as a teenage godson, I left the scene that night in tears, physically ill because of the condition of this child who shall forever remain nameless because he never took a breath, and therefore, no charges could be filed. My deputy coroner, Jeff Walsh and I, took the child back to the morgue and wrapped him in some blankets that the ER staff donated until his autopsy could be performed.
After all attempts to contact the family were futile, Judge Kirk Day appointed myself as the guardian of the little boy so that he could have a proper burial. It didn’t take long, and everyone who heard the story wanted to help. Holly Larsen, with Randall Cemetery donated a plot, Perry Funeral Home donated the casket, Jeff Walsh opened and closed the grave, Centre Florist donated a small blue teddy bear arrangement, Bro. Eddie Nation with First Baptist delivered the eulogy for this little guy, an anonymous family donated $100 to help with any expenses the county incurred for this little one. On a cold, blustery, overcast afternoon, there on the side of Randall Cemetery, a small crowd of less than a dozen gathered to pay their respect to this little soul.
He had ten fingers, ten toes, beautiful blue eyes, and weighed only four pounds, but that little boy changed my life. If no one would speak for him, who would? Only the Coroner can do that. Over the past four years, I have handled over 400 death cases in Cherokee County, many of which are under horrific circumstances. I will admit, it takes a huge toll on one’s family, one’s mind, and one’s soul. There have been numerous days I am ready to turn in my badge and walk away, but when I ask the Lord if I must keep doing it, He reminds me of this baby boy. Sometimes, I will even come and sit and read the epitaph on the grave marker and remember why I do what I do each and every day, day and night, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I look forward to continuing to serve as your Cherokee County Coroner.”
Dr. Robert J Deaton, DVM, D-ABMDI, AL-LFD