Wittmaier is now administering the Bradley County Medical Examiner’s Office after years of hard work as a paramedic with Bradley County Emergency Medical Service.
“In 2002, I moved back home to Bradley County and enrolled at Chattanooga State,” Wittmaier said.
She was a stay-at-home mom for the most part while living in several cities on the West Coast.
Her former husband was in the military and they were stationed in Washington state and California, according to Wittmaier.
After moving home, Wittmaier was searching for a career path.
She looked into enrolling at Chattanooga State where she learned about first response and medical training to be a certified paramedic.
How did she get there? Why did she enter the medical and public service field?
“I went on a ride-along and that’s when I decided what I wanted to do … what I wanted to learn,” Wittmaier said.
After getting certification, she worked on an ambulance and another potential paramedic also boarded to ride along.
That’s where she met Matthew Wittmaier.
The two became a couple and then, husband and wife.
Matthew is now a Cleveland firefighter. They have a son who will be a senior at Walker Valley High School.
Former ME’s office investigator and administrator Eric Blach recently took a job with the University of Tennessee as the chief operating officer for the UT Regional Forensic Center.
Death investigation is a very important job. Blach explained that some causes of death are obvious, some are questionable and some criminal.
Death investigators work to aid law enforcement and families to find answers.
Wittmaier was approached by Blach six years ago and became an investigator.
“He thought I would be a good person to be able to investigate and interact with families,” Wittmaier said.
More studying was involved as Wittmaier became a seasoned investigator.
She was chosen recently to lead the office and tendered her resignation to BCEMS.
“The Medical Examiner's Office has grown by leaps and bounds over the last 10 years. We started with two volunteer investigators who worked out of their own vehicles and we now have three paid investigators — Dr. Jeffrey Miller, M.D., Barry Snyder, DSI and I [as] lead investigator/administrator — and we have two ME-designated vehicles,” Wittmaier said.
One of Wittmaier’s goals as administrator is to work to obtain a morgue for Bradley County.
“At this time we are partnered with local funeral homes for the use of their facilities. This gesture is greatly appreciated, but we can only expect to grow in the future, as any department,” she added. “Eric left me with some very large shoes to fill. He built this office from the ground up and has held it to the highest of standards. I feel honored to be entrusted with the task of guiding this office down the path he started, and using the momentum he created to maintain that level of service for the residents of Bradley County.”
The Wittmaiers attend First Baptist Church.
When she isn’t working as the administrator, Laura enjoys reading and playing tennis, as well as spending quality time with her family.