Metro coroner says county setting her up to fail after allegations she refused to move bodies

NEWTON COUNTY, Ga. — A local coroner with just a few weeks in office is now fighting to save her job.

Newton County officials say Dorethea Bailey-Butts refused to transport bodies and even disrespected grieving families.

The county said Bailey-Butts has asked a hotel worker to help her with a body and even told firefighters it’s not her job to remove a body.

Bailey-Butts told Channel 2′s Tom Jones that the allegations are not true. She said she hasn’t had any training and the county manager, Lloyd Kerr, wants her to fail.

Kerr has now drafted a petition to have her removed from office. Bailey-Butts claims the county chairman is also in on it.

“Tom. They’re setting me up for failure. This is crazy,” Bailey-Butts told Jones.

She has only been in office for a little more than a month.


The petition states Bailey-Butts has improperly handled bodies, interfered with crime scenes and announced she would not transport a body -- which is a primary part of her job.

“Did you tell anyone, ‘I don’t transport bodies,’” Jones asked Bailey-Butts.

“You know what? That was a heated day for me,” Bailey-Butts said.

She said the body was entrapped in a car and she eventually transported the body when it was removed.

She’s also accused of cutting off the clothes of a 13-year-old suicide victim in front of the family.

“I would never ever do anything like that to a 13-year-old,” Bailey-Butts said.

The coroner said the problem is she hasn’t had any training.

“No training. I had no training. No policy and procedures,” Bailey-Butts said.

A training class before she took office was canceled because of COVID-19. She had planned on that class to get her up to speed on what was required of her as coroner.

“Why run for this office if you didn’t understand how the office operated?” Jones asked Bailey-Butts.

“That’s part of the set-up Tom. They set me up to fail,” Bailey-Butts said.

Bailey-Butts said she is getting training this week.

The county manager and chairman did not return Jones’ calls.

The coroner’s training council could recommend that Bailey-Butts be removed, suspended or retained.

She’s also accused of giving CPR to someone who was very much alive.

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