BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – In 2022, a total of 4,447 death cases were investigated by the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner, according to a new report released Monday.
In a letter inside the report, Coroner Dr. William “Beau” Clark said with all his office accomplished in 2022, there is much work that needs to be done. Since taking office in 2012, he has investigated a total of 39,970 as of December 2022.
Compared to 2021, the number of homicides, suicides and natural deaths decreased. Fewer deaths were investigated in 2022, according to the report. More male deaths were investigated than female deaths. Clark conducted more sexual assault forensic exams in 2022 than in 2021.
Clark said his office has participated in many projects that aim to decrease overdose deaths, increase mental health resources and make sexual assault investigations easier.
Clark said that there was a high number of infant deaths in 2012 and participated in the Cribs for Kids Safe Sleep Initiative and formed a Safe Sleeping Task Force. His office also distributed cribs to families as part of its Safe Sleep Education Campaign.
These responses helped decrease the number of infant deaths, according to the report. In 2022, six infant deaths were investigated compared to 12 deaths investigated in 2012.
According to the report, suicide-related deaths decreased from 57 in 2021 to 46 in 2022. Clark said that his office recognizes the need for more mental health resources and works with the community to help prevent people with mental illness from being put in jail.
In 2011, 311 overdose deaths were investigated by Clark’s office. In 2022, the number decreased to 295.
The coroner’s office continued its anti-opioid campaign in 2022 and worked with the Louisiana Opioid Task Force, the governor’s office, Crime Stoppers, The Bridge Center for Hope and the When You Are Ready Community Campaign to address the opioid crisis, the report said.
In 2022, 136 homicide deaths were investigated by Clark’s office. In 2021, 171 deaths were investigated.
“I will maintain the gold standard of death investigation and continue to work with public leaders to reduce the rate of homicides and other preventable deaths in East Baton Rouge Parish,” Clark said in the report.
Deaths caused by car accidents
More deaths due to car crashes were investigated in 2022 compared to 2021. The coroner’s office investigated 104 car accident deaths in 2022 and 78 in 2021, the report said.