Coroner's Office


The county coroner is a 24/7 position in county government. The coroner must be notified of all deaths, not of natural causes and all deaths of natural causes that are unattended by a physician. Coroners must investigate, report, and certify deaths and must comply with Arkansas law in the performance of these duties. When a death is reported to the coroner, he shall conduct an investigation concerning the circumstances surrounding the death and gather background information, medical history, evidence at the scene of the death, and any other information needed to determine the cause and manner of death. Although the coroner’s investigation does not include criminal investigation responsibilities, he shall assist any law enforcement agency and/or the Arkansas State Crime laboratory upon request. The coroner is authorized to issue subpoenas as necessary to secure pertinent medical records and/or testimony relevant to the determination of the cause and manner of death. 



A hometown son from his birth in 1960, Stuart K. Smedley has always loved Hot Springs and the surrounding area. He began his service career early as President of the Senior Class and Student Council at Fountain Lake High School. His roots are deep in that community as his parents, Bud and June Smedley, graduated from Fountain Lake School, his mother taught there, he and his sister, Kim Masino, are both FLHS graduates, and his son is presently a student there. They all continue to be an active part of the school and community.

Stuart began his working career at his father’s business, Smedley Cabinets, but early on recognized the call on his life to be involved in service work. After his education at Garland County Community College, he became a Nationally Registered Paramedic, certifying for higher training where ever possible. He worked in emergency medical service from 1982-2003, largely as a paramedic/supervisor for Lifemobile. He was very involved with the volunteer fire department in his community, and that interest and subsequent training led him to qualify for Instructor Level Certification in Fire Science and Rescue with the Arkansas Fire Training Academy, plus instructor for fourteen other courses related to emergency services. He further received valuable training at the National Emergency Training Center, Emmitsburg, Maryland, in EMS Management.

In 2001, Stuart became Chief Deputy Coroner for Garland County under Dr. Gene Shelby. When Dr. Shelby retired, Stuart felt the time was right for him to seek the office of Coroner, having acquired more training and experience. He is one of only six coroners in the state of Arkansas who are certified in Medicolegal Death Scene Investigation by Saint Louis University School of Medicine and also certified in Death Investigation Scene Management. Since taking office, he has endeavored to serve the citizens of Garland County in a manner to always bring respect and appreciation for the Coroner’s office.

Stuart is married to Berna Smedley who is a Nurse Practitioner at Hot Springs Radiology Services, LTD. He has three children, David Koller and his wife Ann, Amy Smedley and Seth Smedley and two grandchildren, Brailyn and Brennan Koller. David is a firefighter with Hot Springs Fire Department. Amy is a student at the University of the Ozarks and Seth is a student at Fountain Lake.

For over twenty-eight years Stuart Smedley has been closely involved in the life and death issues that surround emergency medical services. He has invested his life in the Garland County area and is dedicated to serving the citizens in a professional and compassionate manner at a time when it matters most. 

Deputy Coroners - Credentials

Jason Neighbors - D-ABMDI, AR-MDI
Joshua Meggers  - AR-MDI
Ryan Hamilton     - AR-MDI