CHARLESTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- The students at Charlestown High School have won a lot of awards and accolades over the years, but senior Alexis Taylor's latest accomplishment can't fit in a trophy case: She's Clark County, Indiana's newest deputy coroner and she's just 18 years old.
"Anytime that we have an autopsy, I try to get there when I can. It all kind of depends on my school schedule," Taylor said. "I have to remember, no I'm still in high school. I still have a lot ahead of me."
Looking to add to her senior year course load, Taylor started the school year as an intern with the Clark County Coroner's Office. Her fascination with dissecting the dead started when she was just 10 years old, when she was fascinated by TV shows like "CSI" and "Criminal Minds." But nothing on TV could prepare her for the reality of death.
"My first one was a pretty bad case. The body had been decomposing for four or five days. So that was pretty bad," said Taylor.
It's a lot to handle for anyone at any age, but instead of discouraging her, it encouraged her to keep going. "I loved it! I can't wait for the next one," said Taylor, describing her first autopsy.
About a month ago, Taylor asked Clark County Coroner Billy Scott what it would take to become a certified deputy coroner. "He was like 'well you have to do this 40 hour training, it's in Indianapolis and then at the end there's this certification test you have to pass'," she said.
So earlier this month, Taylor took the test and passed with flying colors. "To my knowledge, she has got to be the youngest deputy coroner in the state," Scott said.
By day, she's walking the halls of Charlestown High School, but after school, her extracurricular activities involve sometimes 40 hours a week working at the Scott Funeral Home in Jeffersonville. Scott says her age doesn't hold her back. "She's got a bright future ahead of her. Much more focused than what I would think the average 18 year old kid is," he said.
Taylor doesn't take the job lightly. She feels like she has a responsibility to grieving families looking for answers. "We can tell the family that 'hey your loved one did not suffer.' That's always better that they know that. That it helps relieve their feelings," said Taylor.
Taylor admits this line of work isn't for everyone.
"I think the thought of being around death kind of gets to people, but when you learn to look at it as a science and not 'hey this is someone dead,' it changes the whole thing," she said.
After graduating from high school, Taylor hopes to attend IUPUI in Indy or IUS in the fall. She wants to study biology and eventually go to medical school to become a forensic pathologist.
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