The Medical Examiner is appointed by the Johnson County Board of Supervisors for a two-year term. The Medical Examiner appoints Deputy Medical Examiners who function as the Medical Examiner in his absence. Every Medical Examiner must be a licensed physician; the Medical Examiner and one Deputy Medical Examiner are board-certified forensic pathologists. The Medical Examiner and Deputy Medical Examiners are available 24 hours/day.

Medical Examiner Investigators (MEIs) perform death investigations under the supervision of the Medical Examiner and the Medical Examiner Administrator. MEIs gather information and evidence in order to make preliminary determinations of cause and manner of death. The Johnson County MEIs are either board or registry certified medicolegal death investigators with the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (ABMDI), a national, independent professional certification board. The ABMDI is accredited by the Forensic Specialties Accreditation Board and was established to promote the highest standards of practice for medicolegal death investigators.

 Dennis J. Firchau, MD

Dennis J. Firchau, MD

Medical Examiner

Dennis J. Firchau, MD is the Medical Examiner for Johnson County, IA. Dr. Firchau is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pathology at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. Dr. Firchau is certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, and Forensic Pathology.

Dr. Firchau received his medical degree from the Wayne State University School of Medicine. Residency training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology was at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Fellowship training in forensic pathology was at the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office in Minneapolis, MN. Dr. Firchau also has fellowship training in cardiovascular pathology from the Mayo Clinic.

Marcus Nashelsky, MD

Marcus Nashelsky, MD

Deputy Medical Examiner

Marcus Nashelsky, MD is a Deputy Medical Examiner for Johnson County, IA. Dr. Nashelsky is a Clinical Professor of Pathology at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. He is certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, and Forensic Pathology. Dr. Nashelsky was the President of the National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) in 2015. Dr. Nashelsky was the Johnson County Medical Examiner from 2014 through 2019.

Dr. Nashelsky received his medical degree from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine. Residency training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology was at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Fellowship training in Forensic Pathology was at the Office of the Medical Investigator of the University of New Mexico.

Stephanie Stauffer, MD

Stephanie Stauffer, MD

Deputy Medical Examiner

Stephanie Stauffer, MD is a Deputy Medical Examiner for Johnson County, IA. Dr. Stauffer is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Pathology at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. Dr. Stauffer is certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology, and Forensic Pathology.

Dr. Stauffer received her medical degree at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. Residency training in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology was at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Fellowship training in forensic pathology was at the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office in Minneapolis, MN.
Clayton Schuneman, Administrative Director

Clayton Schuneman

Administrative Director

Clayton Schuneman, BA, NREMT, F-ABMDI, is the Administrative Director of the Johnson County Medical Examiner Department. Clayton is a Board Certified Fellow of the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (F-ABMDI), a National Registry Emergency Medical Technician (NREMT), an Iowa Mortuary Operational Response Team (IMORT) Advisory Board Committee member, and a National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) Investigator Affiliate member. Schuneman holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Iowa. Clayton was a Medical Examiner Investigator with the County from 2010 to 2017. Prior to that, he was employed by the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist where he worked for the Burials Program and as a field and laboratory technician.

Kate Bengtson, Investigative Supervisor

Kate Bengtson

Investigative Supervisor

Kate Bengtson, LMSW, F-ABMDI, is the Medical Examiner Investigative Supervisor for the Johnson County Medical Examiner Department. Kate is a Board Certified Fellow of the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (F-ABMDI), and a National Association of Medical Examiners (NAME) Investigator Affiliate member. Kate received her BSW and MSW from the University of Iowa School of Social Work. Kate has previous work experience with Iowa City Hospice and Iowa Donor Network and has been affiliated with the Medical Examiner Department since 2010.

Kora Dueño, Investigator

Kora Dueño

Investigator

Kora Dueño, MS, is a Medical Examiner Investigator for the Johnson County Medical Examiner Department. Kora received her BA from the University of Montana in anthropology with a certificate in forensic studies. She received her MS from Mercyhurst University in forensic and biological anthropology. Her master’s research involved the analysis of freezing-induced microcracking in human bone and its utility in ascertaining postmortem intervals and conditions. Kora has been with the Medical Examiner Department since 2021.

Amanda Gellhaus, Investigator

Amanda Gellhaus

Investigator

Amanda Gellhaus, MA, is a Medical Examiner Investigator for the Johnson County Medical Examiner Department. Amanda received both her BA and BS from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse in biological archaeology and communication studies. She received her MA from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville  in biological anthropology with an emphasis in forensic anthropology. Her master’s research involved the estimation of post mortem intervals of decedents recovered in Midwestern waterways. Amanda has been with the Medical Examiner Department since 2017.

Kristen Long, Investigator

Kristen Long

Investigator

Kristen Long, BS, D-ABMDI, is a Medical Examiner Investigator for the Johnson County Medical Examiner Department. Kristen is a Registry Certified Medicolegal Death Investigator with the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (D-ABMDI). Kristen received her BS in criminal justice from State University of New York-Oneonta and Act 120 police certification at Lackawanna College Police Academy. Kristen previously worked as a lab technician at NuVasive, a medical assistant at Scott Sanders Dermatology, and a police officer at Pocono Township Police Department. Kristen has been with the Medical Examiner department since 2019.

Anna Posthumus, Investigator

Anna Posthumus

Investigator

Anna Posthumus, MS, is a Medical Examiner Investigator for the Johnson County Medical Examiner Department. Anna received her BA from the University of San Diego in anthropology with a minor in biology. She received her MS from Mercyhurst University in forensic and biological anthropology. Her master’s research involved the analysis of skeletal discrete traits and their utility in postmortem identification. Anna has been with the Medical Examiner Department since 2020.

 Heather Sanderson, Investigator

Heather Sanderson

Investigator

Heather Sanderson, RN, BA, D-ABMDI, is a Medical Examiner Investigator for the Johnson County Medical Examiner Department. Heather is a Registry Certified Medicolegal Death Investigator with the American Board of Medicolegal Death Investigators (D-ABMDI). Heather received her ADN from Kirkwood Community College and a bachelor’s degree in anthropology from the University of Iowa. Heather previously worked as a RN case manager at Iowa City Hospice and as a staff nurse in the operating room at Mercy Hospital. Heather has been with the Medical Examiner Department since 2017.

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