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Judge rules Brown County coroner can stay on the job

BROWN COUNTY, Ohio (WKRC) -- A judge has ruled that the Brown County coroner may remain on the job for now, despite an effort to remove her.

Doctor Judith Varnau is accused of mishandling cases that have come before her. More than 2,300 people signed a petition and a motion was filed to oust her from the job.

A hearing Tuesday was basically to request a temporary restraining order that would keep Varnau from acting as the coroner prior to the trial about the issue.   

Unable to find a private attorney for the hearing, she represented herself.  Over and over again through eight witnesses from Brown County investigators to victim's family members people told the judge how Varnau mishandled cases.  They talked about her picking up evidence at death scenes without wearing gloves.  At one scene she stepped in a pool of blood and scuffed it off on the floor.  Another scene she told family members to bury pieces of their loved ones skull under a tree.

One of the final witnesses was Steve Adamson who's son died of a gunshot wound.  A case the coroner told him that night at the hospital was a suicide.  He says the family is still looking for answers.

Dr. Varnau was asked after the hearing if the whole thing was unfair.  She refused to comment because it could be all headed to trial in May.

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