GEORGETOWN, OH (FOX19) - The civil trial about whether to remove Brown County Coroner Judith Varnau from office began Wednesday Brown County Common Pleas Court.
Among the issues Varnau testified about was how evidence was handled regarding Zachary Adamson's Jan. 9 death. She said a gun was found on a fireplace. His body was between a bed and a wall.
She said she doesn't take fingerprints because it's not her job. At the time, she said the death looked like a suicide. She said Adamson's death certificate says the cause of death is pending as she is waiting on a report from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Varnau said she does not take gunshot residue as that's not part of her investigation. She sent his body for an autopsy. She said she cleaned Adamson's face but did not do any DNA testing of Adamson's blood that was on him. She sent his body for an autopsy.
"My duty is strictly to go ahead and determine the cause, manner and mode of death," Varnau said.
Attorneys for families have said there is a feud between the coroner and the Brown County Sheriff's Office. Varnau's husband ran against the current sheriff in the last election and lost. The plaintiffs claim it is that feud that is keeping Varnau from properly doing her job.
Her attorney countered, claiming it is the sheriff's office that is neglecting evidence at death scenes.
Adamson was found dead at his home with a gunshot wound to his head. Adamson's parents believe Varnau mishandled the investigation.
The Adamson family says Zachary Adamson's home was left unlocked and his possessions were not secured. From the moment his body was found, the Adamson family claims the coroner did not take proper steps to preserve a crime scene. Zachary Adamson's parents believe foul play could have been involved but without evidence from a crime scene, they will never know what really happened to their son.
The trial is expected to continue Thursday.