Lawsuit: Ohio feud has led to botched...

Lawsuit: Ohio feud has led to botched death probes

There are 138 comments on the The Daily Record story from Feb 25, 2014, titled Lawsuit: Ohio feud has led to botched death probes. In it, The Daily Record reports that:

A southern Ohio coroner is accused in a lawsuit of using deaths as a political pawn in a feud with the local sheriff, disrespecting bodies and abandoning important evidence, and as a result, keeping one Ohio family from ever knowing whether a loved one was killed or committed suicide.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Daily Record.

Steve

Brookville, OH

#22 Mar 2, 2014
Jane wrote:
<quoted text>
Ok say it is bad weather and they transport them that way. Then so be it, but body parts left behind for family to clean up along with the weapon. How would you like your family to be treated that way? And how can a Sheriff do an investigation if the items are not turned into them as evidence. She makes the decision not them. Read the law.
Jane, it is not the coroners responsibility to clean up the death scene. A friend of mine owns a janitorial service. The person who owns the home is responsible for the clean up. My friends business is hired to clean up death scenes. If someone blows their head off with a shotgun, guaranteed the coroner is definitely NOT going to find all the parts to his head. Brains and skull, blasted everywhere. Especially in the dark in a cluttered room. My relative died in his home and was found by family. The coroner never came to the scene. The funeral home came and picked up the body, we cleaned up the mess left from his body. Coroner does not clean up the mess….ever.
Jane

Delaware, OH

#23 Mar 2, 2014
In The Know wrote:
<quoted text>
Don't leave us now things are just starting to get good.
Well answer me this, Jane. Why do you think, that after five months in two days, BCI still has not yet obtained a copy of the autopsy photographs which were available two days after the autopsy? Don’t you think that any good investigator would have asked for these photos a long time ago? Duh! BCI? DeWine(R)? Kasich(R)? Wenninger(R)? Politics(R)? Naw!
My question is how you would know that? It isn't in any of the papers and if so where? Who is leaking this info also and that person should get in trouble?
Steve

Brookville, OH

#24 Mar 2, 2014
Steve wrote:
<quoted text>
Jane, it is not the coroners responsibility to clean up the death scene. A friend of mine owns a janitorial service. The person who owns the home is responsible for the clean up. My friends business is hired to clean up death scenes. If someone blows their head off with a shotgun, guaranteed the coroner is definitely NOT going to find all the parts to his head. Brains and skull, blasted everywhere. Especially in the dark in a cluttered room. My relative died in his home and was found by family. The coroner never came to the scene. The funeral home came and picked up the body, we cleaned up the mess left from his body. Coroner does not clean up the mess….ever.
Just to be clear, my relative died in Hamilton County. Their death does not involve Dr. J. Varnau. Had my relative died in Brown County, she would have been there.
Jane

Delaware, OH

#25 Mar 2, 2014
Was this in the papers? Where are you getting your information?
In The Know

Cincinnati, OH

#26 Mar 2, 2014
Jane wrote:
Was this in the papers? Where are you getting your information?

The press can look at the information but cannot take pictures of anything or get copies of the pictures, but can get a copy of the autopsy and that is not news worthy. You can request a copy of the coroner's autopsy thru the Ohio public records request ORC 149.43.

The news media does not report what they see as they are not journalists and they want to be entertainment only, so they omit a lot, and try to entertain the public.

It is the same in a court room when the prosecutor omits or leaves out information or does not ask a person on the stand pertinent questions, they can control the outcome of a case by doing that.

What if the judge asked the jury to decide if Wenninger was qualified instead of if he knowingly filed false documents? The outcome of his case would have been different.

Do you see now have things can be manipulated? That is the way the government makes people believe it is true by repeating it over and over. What was Obama's slogan? We want change. Well the public got it didn't they.
Bud

Cincinnati, OH

#27 Mar 2, 2014
Jane wrote:
<quoted text>
She left the weapon not them. She takes over not them. Where is the old coroner when brown County needs him. To bad he didn't run again. Sad for all the families involved.
I guess you think no coroner showing up is better than one showing up. That's what you got with the last coroner. He phoned in his part and didn't care enough to go to the scene.
car007

West Chester, OH

#28 Mar 2, 2014
Jane wrote:
<quoted text>
I read the code on the cornor. I gave you highlight so you don't have to read it all, but please read it and tell me what I missed. Please explain to us your point on what the law enforcement is to do. What should the law enforcement do with the crime science tape. If you pay attention to another case, tape was placed and the cornor wanted it removed. Question what are they to do she is in charge.
Jane,

We could debate roles and responsibilities all day long on here. Suffice to say, there is the appearance neither the coroner or the SO cooperate with each other in a death investigation, specifically the current coroner and sheriff. If they did, this forum wouldn't be active on this topic would it ? What is the right thing to do ? Simply put, show some respect and dignity for the deceased and their families. Whoever fails to do this in any branch of Law Enforcement, isn't worthy of wearing the badge or having any position that represents the public trust.

If both sides feel they have done this, I can only say this; someone either isn't being honest or they simply have NO conscience .

Given what I read about Zachary being transported in the manner he was, my response is also simple, did the Sheriff do anything to assist or just walk away ? Why ? The Deputy showed NO respect or dignity to one of the finest young men Brown County ever had as a resident. Was that his decision or choice, or someone elses ?

Is this the best the Brown County SO has to offer a decorated War Veteran who served his country and was a lifetime resident of Brown County ? God help the rest of you in Brown County. I thank the Coroner and her husband for not just leaving Zachary for someone else to take care of, provided that's how it was.

Has the Sheriff ever assisted in the past with previous Coroners ? Why is it different now ?

Again, it is simple childish games and I don't care who likes who or not. You all took an Oath to serve the Public to the best of your ability. If for whatever reason you cannot, do the right thing, step aside and allow someone else take over.

Don't disgrace yourself, your profession, your family or the many fine Public Servants out here.

I know this will never happen, not sure why I wrote it. Just let it be known, there are enough people in the county who have finally raised their sleepy heads and for once, perhaps something will change or someone will be held accountable ?

Again, who is the Top Cop in Brown County ? Who does the Sheriff report to ? Or does it even matter ?

Interestingly, I have observed many funerals unfortunately in my lifetime, both Police Officers and Military and I just cant clear my head from what I have read on here regarding the way Zachary's death was handled by the SO. Such a Great young man under a horrible circumstance. He deserved soo much more. He gave soo much to this County and Country and in the end, was treated worse than the treatment the dogs and horses receive from the SO. and... for what ???? A running feud between two public servants who are not nearly as significant to me or the county as young Zach really was ! Damn YOU !
Pud

Lewis Center, OH

#29 Mar 2, 2014
Jane wrote:
Was this in the papers? Where are you getting your information?
There was some poorly written, quasi-biased stuff in the Daily Record. There is a reasonably unbiased article in Sunday's Brown County Press. Most of it is public record though, but you gotta know where to dig. You can also get copies of coroner's reports for a nominal fee, I think it's $10. The interesting thing however is the plaintiff's choice of attorney. Did he find them or did he find them?. What I know of the guy is he's good but he's not a pro bono kind of a guy. Who's fronting him? If someone wants not to settle out court, this is not going to be cheap! This is as much fun to watch as the time the hogs ate my little brother.
car007

West Chester, OH

#30 Mar 2, 2014
Jane wrote:
<quoted text>
Ok say it is bad weather and they transport them that way. Then so be it, but body parts left behind for family to clean up along with the weapon. How would you like your family to be treated that way? And how can a Sheriff do an investigation if the items are not turned into them as evidence. She makes the decision not them. Read the law.
With past coroners, who collected the evidence ? Who cleared or cleaned the site ? Seems I read, they were non existent basically ? What has changed Jane ?
Bud

Cincinnati, OH

#31 Mar 2, 2014
Pud wrote:
<quoted text>There was some poorly written, quasi-biased stuff in the Daily Record. There is a reasonably unbiased article in Sunday's Brown County Press. Most of it is public record though, but you gotta know where to dig. You can also get copies of coroner's reports for a nominal fee, I think it's $10. The interesting thing however is the plaintiff's choice of attorney. Did he find them or did he find them?. What I know of the guy is he's good but he's not a pro bono kind of a guy. Who's fronting him? If someone wants not to settle out court, this is not going to be cheap! This is as much fun to watch as the time the hogs ate my little brother.
Somewhere I read that Jessica Little recommended they contact Gerhardstein. I can't remember where I read it to say if it is valid or not.
car007

West Chester, OH

#32 Mar 2, 2014
[QUOTE
[/QUOTE]

Terry, let me first say to you, the Adamsons are not stupid. They lost a son and are grieving soo please think a bit before making such allegations. They need answers, just as you would or I under the same circumstances.

My second concern is, why are they looking at the coroner for impropriety. I cannot answer this. I can only suspect they might be getting information from other sources than we are aware of.

Please be a bit more objective in thought and understanding, they are grieving and looking for answers and who knows,,, perhaps someone else is directing them. I would be personally angry at anyone who would use the Adamsons right now for their own political or personal gain.

It would not at all surprise me in todays world. Regardless, I want you to know the Adamsons are Great Hard Working people who are dear friends of mine and if you have anything positive to offer them in their time of grief, perhaps that would be better to read than what you wrote about them or implied.

I would suggest you show some compassion, it would make you look like a better person than the one who wrote that comment. We are all with different issues regarding whats happening. Mudslinging at the parents of Zach is soo uncalled for and I hope you think a bit about your comment and apologize. Have you ever lost a son this way ?

By the way, we really don't know how it happened do we ? The shame in this is, it will be very difficult to know now.

Attack me on here if you like, but don't stoop soo low to beat on the Adamsons when they are down and grieving.

I do agree in part, I do not know why the target of the suit is with coroner or how that came to be. I just hope they aren't being used as I said for others benefits. Perhaps in time, more information will be out there and we will know. Until then, please refrain from attacking them.
There is soo much more to concern yourself with in Brown County. Thanks
deputy dawg

Cincinnati, OH

#33 Mar 2, 2014
Terry wrote:
<quoted text>She became coroner when no one else wanted to do it as a write-in only needing one vote to win.

Please read and understand that the coroner is not law enforcement. It is law enforcement’s job to do the criminal investigation, not the coroner. The coroner cannot make the SO do a criminal investigation. The coroner is not going to make a final determination on the “manner of death” until she gets all the information from the final autopsy report usually about TWO MONTHS after the incident.

So, if law enforcement does not do their job because the Chief Deputy and Prosecutor tell the coroner that they are not going to do one until the coroner asks the prosecutor to have the SO do a criminal investigation, like they both did in the Rhonda Cheesman case, how in the hell is the coroner going to preserve the crime scene (which is not her duty and has no power or authority to do so) for two months out in a field off of McNoun Road before she would know “Connie Anderson” died from a blunt trauma force as found in the autopsy????? My God! How stupid can these people be who are signing this petition? Just more damn stupid than Al Gore. The prosecutor and SO botched up the Anderson case at the scene, not the coroner. Ask the prosecutor how she is going to find out how Connie died from a blunt force trauma.

Listen to the Cheesman case recordings made by the coroner out in the field with Rhonda Cheesman during a blizzard back on January 30, 2013, and then tell me who is playing games with the deceased here in Brown County.

Go to: http://www.varnau.us/Medical/scene.htm

Take the time to listen to those recordings and then you tell me who is “playing games” here in Brown County. I challenge you to listen to the truth, at least just one time.

My God, Jane, can’t you understand what you are reading. The coroner SHALL deliver the firearm to the sheriff. The sheriff SHALL give the coroner a receipt for the firearm used in a suicide. What did she forget? The Chief Deputy told the coroner he was not sending Dep. Crawford back to pick up the gun allegedly used by Zach Adamson to commit suicide. And the family blames the coroner for that “botched” criminal investigation. Ha! What bunch of losers. They lost because the Chief Deputy played his games with their son’s death, and now they want to blame the coroner. How damn stupid can some people be in this county?
I would like to comment on just one point. In Ohio the coroner is the top law enforcement official in most places, by law. Yes the coroner can order the sheriff department to investigate.
car007

West Chester, OH

#34 Mar 2, 2014
Pud wrote:
<quoted text>There was some poorly written, quasi-biased stuff in the Daily Record. There is a reasonably unbiased article in Sunday's Brown County Press. Most of it is public record though, but you gotta know where to dig. You can also get copies of coroner's reports for a nominal fee, I think it's $10. The interesting thing however is the plaintiff's choice of attorney. Did he find them or did he find them?. What I know of the guy is he's good but he's not a pro bono kind of a guy. Who's fronting him? If someone wants not to settle out court, this is not going to be cheap! This is as much fun to watch as the time the hogs ate my little brother.
Where would I purchase a copy of the autopsy/coroners report ?
deputy dawg

Cincinnati, OH

#35 Mar 2, 2014
Steve wrote:
<quoted text>Jane, it is not the coroners responsibility to clean up the death scene. A friend of mine owns a janitorial service. The person who owns the home is responsible for the clean up. My friends business is hired to clean up death scenes. If someone blows their head off with a shotgun, guaranteed the coroner is definitely NOT going to find all the parts to his head. Brains and skull, blasted everywhere. Especially in the dark in a cluttered room. My relative died in his home and was found by family. The coroner never came to the scene. The funeral home came and picked up the body, we cleaned up the mess left from his body. Coroner does not clean up the messÂ….ever.
Exactly right! I have seen countless suicide by gun scenes and it is NEVER cleaned up by the coroner or law enforcement. The coroner takes the body and any parts that they can find, but fragments, brain matter, etc are left for the family or whoever else to clean up. ALWAYS.
Steve is exactly right.
car007

West Chester, OH

#36 Mar 2, 2014
deputy dawg wrote:
<quoted text>
I would like to comment on just one point. In Ohio the coroner is the top law enforcement official in most places, by law. Yes the coroner can order the sheriff department to investigate.
Thanks for the input Dawg... I am confused with your answer though. What places exist where the coroner is top le official and not ? Is there a statute I can read that references this ? Thanks again.
Terry

Cincinnati, OH

#37 Mar 2, 2014
deputy dawg wrote:
<quoted text>
I would like to comment on just one point. In Ohio the coroner is the top law enforcement official in most places, by law. Yes the coroner can order the sheriff department to investigate.
Please show me where it says that.
Terry

Cincinnati, OH

#38 Mar 2, 2014
deputy dawg wrote:
<quoted text>
I would like to comment on just one point. In Ohio the coroner is the top law enforcement official in most places, by law. Yes the coroner can order the sheriff department to investigate.
I would like to comment on your point. If the Attorney General of Ohio who is the top law officer can't make the prosecutor do anything, how is the coroner supposed be the top law enforcement official?
deputy dawg

Cincinnati, OH

#39 Mar 2, 2014
Terry wrote:
<quoted text>I would like to comment on your point. If the Attorney General of Ohio who is the top law officer can't make the prosecutor do anything, how is the coroner supposed be the top law enforcement official?
Hi Terry,
Your question concerning the lack of influence the AG has in prosecutions on the local level is a constitutional question, at the federal level. The AG job in most states is not so much about handling issues that locally elected prosecutors are required to carry out. In Ohio we have an AG currently that sticks his nose into issues that most AG's do not nor ever have.(That last statement is my personal opinion as I see the law.)
One example I can give you on coroners powers is that in Ohio and a hand full of other states, the coroner is the only official on a state level that is legally mandated to have authority to arrest a county sheriff, if a situation warrants such an action.
I will get back to you on specific codes tomorrow concerning your questions. I have a patrol shift starting in seven hours, and with the snow it is sure to be a long day. Thanks for the good questions and for not being a jerk about it. I always find it perplexing that some people comment on here with such negativity, it can ruin a good and valid conversation or debate. So thanks for not being one of those people.

Since: Feb 11

Location hidden

#40 Mar 2, 2014
car007 wrote:
<quoted text>By the way, we really don't know how it happened do we ? The shame in this is, it will be very difficult to know now.
Car007, actually IMPOSSIBLE, not very difficult.

It is hard to sit here and read all of the disinformation being spewed as fact without the other side of the story given any credence.

When it comes to Zachary, and your observation about his willingness to do whatever was required of him in the military, my wife and I can relate to that personally, both being Vietnam Veterans with our combined time in combat zones of 2.7 years.

Here's what I saw. I drove Judi to the house on Shinkles Ridge Road, which is probably not much more than five miles from our house, sometime in the evening. When we drove into the driveway the Higginsport Life Squad was there, one sheriff's vehicle, and a couple of other vehicles. Judi got out and went to the house. I stayed in the truck just because it is not my duty or job to do anything at these scenes. She prepares the paperwork on the way while I drive. That night it was pretty slippery due to freezing ice on the roadway, so it took us a little longer to get there than normally would be the case.

When Judi went into the house, I backed the truck up farther from the house and parked off the driveway so when the life squad had to leave I would not be blocking it. About five minutes after we arrived, I saw a deputy come out of the house and move his car so the life squad could go down behind the residence to get closer to the scene. After the squad passed the sheriff's car, it pulled out of the driveway, pausing for about 15 seconds and then drove off the property.

Realizing again that the SO had abandoned this scene too, that left my wife in a house I had no idea with, except the squad personnel. So I walked to the back of the house and to the door where the squad personnel were arranging to remove Zachary. My wife was in the living room with four individuals. Jeremy, his sister and their mother and father. Judi didn't even know that the deputy had left the scene until she was told by me. Judi asked me to call the Comm Center to have a deputy come pick up the gun. The Comm Center told me that Chief Schadle said he was not going to send anyone to pick up the gun. She can't take the gun by law (ORC 313.141). Jessica Little said she should have taken the gun, but that is not her duty under the law. There is no "coroner's office" like that in the larger counties. She has no secure place to store evidence for trials. Jeremy, another veteran of Iraq or Afghanistan, secured the gun.

I remained inside the home with Judi until she was done and ready to leave the premises. We then left the residence to go to the hospital where Zachary was taken by the squad, where my wife met with the family.

My wife shows up at all death scenes personally that are described in ORC 313.12, because that is what a coroner is supposed to do - her duty. She does her duty every time, but can't make them do theirs. Ask any professional police officer how it is supposed to work at death scenes.

If anyone is going to suggest that Zachary's death was not a suicide after the SO abandoned the crime scene, any evidence to support such a claim was forever lost when the body scene was disturbed by the deputy without permission of the coroner. The coroner's only statutory duty is to determine the cause of the death, and manner. Since it takes two months or so to get a final autopsy and toxicology report, a final official cause and manner of death cannot be determined at any scene by the coroner. It might look "obvious" upon arrival at the scene, but whether it is a faked suicide to cover up a homicide, that is the job of law enforcement to investigate, not the coroner. In every other jurisdiction in our county, law enforcement is usually first to arrive and last to leave any scene, but not the SO under Schadle.

Since: Feb 11

Location hidden

#41 Mar 2, 2014
A coroner is NOT in charge of any "crime scene" and cannot exclude anyone from one. A coroner is not a law enforcement officer, by law. The only authority a coroner has is at a "death scene" - the body and the area appurtenant to it, as determined by the coroner only for the purpose of determining the cause and manner of death, nothing else.

No one is to touch the body or remove the gun in a suicide until the coroner gives his approval to do so, except for exigent circumstances, where it is removed after a picture is taken prior to its removal.

Law enforcement is responsible for the total overall "crime scene" which is much larger than the body "death scene." Responders may not realize they are dealing with a staged suicide or unexplained death that turns out to be a homicide after the final autopsy report is received two months later. The misunderstandings here in Brown County are the result of having a prosecuting attorney who had to take the Bar Exam FIVE times before she passed it. She doesn't even understand basic contract law. She is totally incompetent, in my opinion.

The highest law enforcement officer in the county is the prosecutor, but she has no powers of arrest. The highest peace officer, also a law enforcement officer, is the sheriff, and he has powers of arrest. The coroner is neither, and has no power, to arrest, secure a scene, or preserve a scene. Back in the early 70’s the coroner was the only person who could arrest the sheriff. That came from the old Common Law, but was removed from the statutory law of Ohio in the late 70’s.

There is so much tension between the two offices because the Chief Deputy Johnny Schadle does not want her to be coroner. She shows up at all death scenes like she is supposed to do under the law in ORC 313.12. The last coroner rarely showed up at death scenes, but would release the body over the phone without ever going to the scene. The last hanging in the jail (John Funk), the coroner never went to the scene and did not even write up a report for the coroner’s file. My wife showed up at the latest inmate death in the jail, and determined it was not a suicide hanging like the official story provided to her by the SO. It was instead a homicide, but it is not her duty to determine who did it. That is the duty of law enforcement, in that case BCI.

Note what a nationally recognized expert said about the Brown County Sheriff’s Office Death Scene Policy, Commander Geberth. He said it was “absolutely ridiculous.” My suggestion is to go ask Sheriff Neil in Hamilton County how their death scenes are processed. Also ask him what the coroner does at a death scene and what his officers do, and you will probably find a completely different story from that of Brown County. Guaranteed. Contact some other professional organizations about how this relationship is supposed to work at any potential crime or death scene as far as individual responsibilities to preserve evidence for trial. Do some due diligence in finding out the truth.

One BIG reason for the added attention to this artificially-created “fiasco” here in Brown County is that the Chief Deputy’s son is one of several individuals who had control over the inmate that died from strangulation on or about the time of his death. The Chief Deputy has twice destroyed evidence in the case – he removed and replaced the sprinkler head that was supposedly used to secure the hanging sheet, and he and prosecutor allowed the surveillance video to be written over (erased) that covered the hallway to the holding cell where the inmate died. That’s two felony-three evidence crimes he committed, and he has still not been arrested by BCI.

Final Autopsy Reports are public records. Anyone wanting a final autopsy report has to submit an Open Records request to the Coroner for it. The best way to do that is by e-mail because a copy of the report is free.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Mason Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Hotel Tax? 6 hr POPS 3
News The 25 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S. Are Mo... (Nov '10) 8 hr Percecution 21,175
News Is it time to legalize fireworks in Ohio? Tue POPS 13
The Great Delusion (Dec '16) Sep 17 Donny 8
where is the best place to score dog food Sep 17 Donny 6
The Beach waterpark Sep 15 Single guy 3
Vortex at Kings Island? (Jul '10) Sep 5 Mr Harmon 14

Mason Jobs

More from around the web

Personal Finance

Mason Mortgages