Democrat Leah Livengood is running for the Sebastian County coroner position in the Nov. 6 general election against Republican Incumbent Kenny Hobbs.

Livengood, 51, a 1985 graduate of Southside High School and a 1987 graduate of Westark, now the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, returned to school at the University of Baltimore in 2014. She graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Studies in 2016 and received certificates in Crime Scene Investigation and Forensic Document Analysis. Extensive coursework included forensic pathology, forensic photography, evidence collection, toxicology, blood spatter analysis, DNA, latent print identification and collection and court presentation.

At the Maryland Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Livengood completed the Frances Glessner Lee Homicide Investigation Seminar and Advanced Seminar, which taught her the latest death investigation techniques, presented by top experts in the field. Upon graduation, Livengood earned membership into the Harvard Associates in Police Science.

While living in Maryland, Leah completed an internship with the Anne Arundel County Police Department, working in their homicide and cold case units. She was a member of the National Criminal Justice Honor Society and served as president of the University of Baltimore Forensic Science Society. Since returning to Arkansas, she has had hands-on experience in death investigation under the guidance of the highly respected Washington County coroner, Roger Morris. 

Livengood understands the delicate dichotomy a coroner must possess: a sensitivity to loved ones while simultaneously maintaining strict adherence to the law. She believes Sebastian County deserves to have a qualified professional serving as coroner.

"You expect your doctor to have attended medical school, or attorney to have gone to law school," Livengood said. "Why would you accept anything less in the person who investigates the death of your loved ones? There are so many intricacies involved in death investigation that a layperson might not have the knowledge or skills to interpret."

Livengood is an active member of St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Fort Smith. She is an associate member of the Arkansas Coroners Association and a graduate of the Fort Smith Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy.

A Fort Smith resident, Livengood said she was born in Fort Smith. She is currently campaigning full time. Prior to this, she worked in a lab at a local hospital.

The Sebastian County coroner position is paid an annual salary of $39,212, according to Sebastian County Human Resources Director Steve Hotz.