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Brown County Coroner Controversy: Petitions seek removal of Dr. Varnau
BROWN COUNTY, Ohio (Deb Dixon) -- Opponents file a petition with 2,300 signatures Wednesday along with a motion to oust Brown County coroner, Judith Varnau, from office.
The complaint for prompt removal of Varnau alleges misconduct in office. Elected officers can be removed from office for a series or patter of misconduct. The motion lays out the case of Zachary Adamson.
Zachary did four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was found shot in the head in his Brown County home in January. According to the complaint, Varnau dismissed the case as a suicide without conducting a full investigation. She did not notify the family of his death and turned the gun over to Zachary's roommate instead of to the Sheriff's Department as is required by law.
Zachary's father, Steve Adamson, thanked the thousands who signed the petition saying, "Everybody, the thousands of people who came out to support removing the coroner from office and you know we're going to file this today and hopefully change things to where we can go back to having a better way of life."
Adamson says he feels the motion is from Zachary to the people of Brown County. Getting is "straightened out" will require a hearing on the motion. Wednesday, Brown County's common pleas attorney asked the Ohio Supreme Court to send a visiting judge to hear the evidence.
Doctor Varnau is also the target of a federal lawsuit involving a different death. She did not return phone calls requesting comment Wednesday.
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