Letter: Follow facts when voting for coroner

From: Christopher Imel


Lonnie Vautaw’s recent letter made some very good points about what should be expected of our next coroner. But many of the points actually work against her candidate of choice.

Vautaw argues that Paula Rothrock “will not have a conflict of interest with the city as an employer and will be under no obligation to investigate that employer.” She neglects to share that Rothrock works for the only hospital in the county, meaning she would be faced with investigating her employer regularly. At least a third of coroner’s cases come from the hospital, because Indiana law holds that coroners investigate deaths of patients who have died within 24 hours of hospital admission.

While a police custody death is certainly a possibility, hospital deaths are a common occurrence. I don’t know Paula Rothrock, but I’d prefer to think her plan is to follow the conflict of interest law passed last year, which calls for coroners facing a conflict of interest to call upon a neighboring county’s coroner to step in when those situations arise (see Indiana Code 36-2-14-25). The law also requires the requesting coroner to pay any expenses incurred by the visiting coroner. Seems this would add up much faster than the police coroner scenario presented by Vautaw.

Clayton Nolting has said he’ll not only follow the law as coroner, but he’ll establish policies and procedures to address the proper handling on conflict of interest and many other issues.

There’s no secret here. I strongly support Clayton Nolting for coroner because his qualifications are very impressive. But let’s let the undecided voters make their choices based on facts, not misinformation.