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Clark County Welcomes Its First Female Coroner

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Courtesy Clark County
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The Clark County Commission selected Melanie Rouse as the new coroner in April, and she started work last month.

A veteran medical examiner from Phoenix just started work as the new Clark County coroner, and in doing so becomes the first woman to hold the job.

Melanie Rouse served 15 years in the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office before starting her new position in Las Vegas this summer.

Her path toward becoming Clark County's coroner started when she was pursuing a career in medicine and working in an emergency room.

“I became very intrigued by what happens next, once somebody is pronounced dead, what happens with the body, what happens with the family, who communicates with them,” Rouse said. “And so that's kind of what drove me into this line of work.”

Rouse heads a staff of nearly 70 who are involved in investigating traumatic, premature, and other unexpected deaths. The office is involved in some fashion in 7,800 of the 21,000 annual deaths in Clark County.

She said she is excited about making history as the first female coroner and seeing more women enter the field.

“There is a unique difference from when I first started on this career path to the number of women that are now in it, it is now becoming a much more female dominant,” she told State of Nevada.

Rouse said that reflects, in part, more women overall pursuing careers in medicine, science, and technology.

”I think that is something that we're seeing across the across the board, and I think it's great,” she said. 

Rouse, who is 39, succeeds John Fudenberg as coroner. He retired in August after five years in the position.

Melanie Rouse, Coroner, Clark County

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Kristen Kidman is the senior producer at KNPR’s State of Nevada and is proud to be from Las Vegas.