If you ever wondered about the intricate and somber life of a coroner in south Louisiana, Toby Savoy's recent appearance on Theo Von’s popular 'This Past Weekend' podcast provided a deep dive into the profession.

Wearing a Prejean's shirt, likely a souvenir from a charity event at Prejean’s where he assisted his friend and MMA fighter Dustin Poirier, Theo Von opened up a platform for Savoy—a death investigator with 18 years of expertise—to discuss his unique profession. In Louisiana, the term 'coroner' is interchangeable with 'death investigator' but Savoy's official capacity is definitely connected to the latter.

Savoy and Von bantered back and forth for over two hours, enlightening listeners about the multifaceted responsibilities of a death investigator in St. Landry Parish. Their job entails responding to a plethora of cases ranging from accidents, natural causes, foul play, and more. They are frequently alerted by city police, sheriff's offices, and hospitals, among other agencies.

While it's often perceived that coroners or death investigators are always at the scene when death is involved, Savoy clarified that for many natural cases, they don't have to be present. However, the importance of tools for onsite toxicology, to draw blood and assess surroundings, cannot be understated, as they help determine the actual cause of death. Agencies heavily rely on officials from the coroner's office to use their medical expertise to rule out any foul play and come to the most educated conclusions when it comes to important details surrounding said deaths.

Heart disease, suicide, overdose, and even bodies discovered floating in the bayou are frequent in Louisiana. Savoy poignantly highlighted the harrowing opioid epidemic, which has exponentially increased overdoses. He expressed concern over the vast number of recurrent drug abuse cases and has been traveling around Louisiana, emphasizing the dangers of drugs like fentanyl.

Savoy further offered a seasonal overview of death trends:

  • Motorcycle deaths increase in spring.
  • Hunting accidents become more common in the fall.
  • Drownings peak in the summer.
  • Surprisingly, the incidents tend to ease during March, April, and May.

Holidays, however, are unpredictable, often witnessing preventable drunk driving incidents. Savoy's startling revelation was that around 70% of motorists one might encounter on a two-lane road in Louisiana could be under some influence. His sage advice? Opt for a 4-lane road, even if it means a longer journey.

Despite the grim nature of his job, Savoy's motivation is purely humanitarian. One surprising fact he shared was that in Louisiana, the coroner is the only individual who can arrest a sheriff.

In the age of digital technology, social media and cell phones have become invaluable tools in helping determine causes of death. Theo Von's pointed questions, sometimes morbid, were met with Savoy's honest and insightful answers, showcasing the death investigator's blend of sensitivity and professional expertise.

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Two particularly moving anecdotes involved Savoy finding ringing phones at a scene, indicative of loved ones trying to reach the deceased, and the lasting impact of reading a suicide note.

Throughout the chat, Savoy emphasized the importance of treating the deceased with the utmost respect while ensuring evidence preservation. He also acknowledged using humor as a coping mechanism when faced with heavy scenes.

For those curious about the daily grind of a coroner or death investigator's life and seeking to understand more about a profession rarely discussed openly, this episode of 'This Past Weekend' is a must-listen or watch.

Check out the full episode here or on your favorite podcast platform.

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