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Petitioners want Coroner removed

BROWN COUNTY, Ohio (Rich Jaffe) -- The effort to remove the brown county coroner from office enters a new phase.

Doctor Judith Varnau is accused of mishandling bodies and evidence.  More than 2,300 people signed a petition and a motion was filed to oust her from the job.
   
Tuesday's hearing was basically a hearing for a temporary restraining order that would keep Varnau from acting as the coroner prior to the trial about the issue.   

Dr. Judith Varnau the coroner was under attack Tuesday.  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.

Jaffe asked Dr. Varnau after the hearing if the whole thing was unfair.  She refused to comment because it could be all headed to trial.  The judge said he will have a ruling on what is being considered an "emergency issue" to try and keep Varnau from practicing by the end of the week.

Follow Rich Jaffe on Twitter @rajaffe and LIKE him on Facebook

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