by: Tom Regan Updated:
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A picture of a morgue employee posing as a corpse inside the Dekalb County Medical Examiner's Office prompted county officials to suspend a morgue manager for five days.
"That's not allowed. It's not a place for recreational photography," said DeKalb County spokesman Burke Brennan.
The black-and-white picture shows the worker's left foot on a metal table with a toe tag for identification. Officials said Forensic Services Manager Jody DeWeese took the photograph as part of a photography class project.
The worker whose foot is seen in the picture is Jody Benson, a former lab technician who was employed by the chief medical examiner under a private contract, officials said. Brennan said rules prohibit non-job related photography in the lab.
"The Medical Examiner's Office is a place where there's serious business going on. There's a certain reverence for the deceased and that has to be maintained at all times. There's a certain decorum that has to be maintained at all times. That's why we have these policies in place," said Brennan.
DeWeese was suspended for five days. Officials said Benson was suspended for three days but decided to resign.
Regan spoke with Benson at the door of his home to get his side of the story.
"This is a matter I left behind. I just resigned, and that was that," said Benson said.
Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Gerald Gowitt was out of town and unavailable for comment. A representative of the office said DeWeese was also not available for a response.