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Mother has questions for former coroner after son\'s death

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CLINTON- The mother of a 19-year-old who died in February is demanding an apology from the former East Feliciana Parish Coroner, Laura DeJohn.

It comes one week after the WBRZ Investigative Unit showed you the former coroner kept no written records in her office. State law requires her to turn over any documents to her successor. The current coroner, Dr. Michael Cramer, told WBRZ he hadn't received a single piece of paper from her.

Michelle Haygood said after her son's death, her headaches began. Grieving over her son was tough enough, but then anger set in.

"We already lost a son," Haygood said. "That's bad enough. We shouldn't have to deal with incompetence."

Michelle Haygood fought back tears as she talked about her 19-year-old son Cody. He died in a horrific crash back in February in Clinton after he fell asleep at the wheel and slammed head on into a tree.

"He would help everybody," Haygood recalled. "He never thought of himself. It was always the other person."

Last week, the WBRZ Investigative Unit showed you Laura DeJohn operated her office on a "verbal basis" according to her attorney. Written records were apparently not kept. The new coroner, Dr. Michael Cramer requested those records from DeJohn but hasn't received a thing. Haygood showed us her son's death certificate which clearly had DeJohn's name on it. Haygood got in touch with the WBRZ Investigative Unit after seeing our story last week.

"He did not have the records for my son and this was just February 27," Haygood said. "He had to contact Lafayette where they did the autopsy to go over it with me."

Her son was sent to Lafayette because East Feliciana Parish does not perform autopsies. In addition to not getting records quickly, Haygood remembers communication being a big problem. Haygood says she just got all of the paperwork from her son's death over the past few weeks, even though he died in February. Getting his body back from Lafayette left the family in limbo.

"That also stopped funeral arrangements and we could not make arrangements until the body was brought back," Haygood said.

As she reflects on the loss of her son, she's having trouble finding closure especially after dealing with what she described as unnecessary headaches.

"She (Laura DeJohn) should apologize to me for what she did," Haygood said. "It's like she didn't have respect for my son or us."

We reached out to DeJohn again today. For our first story she flat out refused to do an interview. Today, she didn't even return our phone call.


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