Coroner’s office candidates consider Owsley case fallout

Current and former Bartholomew County officials are facing a federal lawsuit over the handling of the investigation into Cary Owsley’s 2013 shooting death.

Bartholomew County Coroner Larry Fisher opted not to have an autopsy performed and ruled the death a suicide. However family members disagreed and Owsley’s body was eventually exhumed and autopsied. Several sheriff’s deputies were disciplined for the way the crime scene was handled.

This year, Fisher has elected not to seek re-election and two new candidates are seeking the coroner’s office, Republican Clayton Nolting, who is a current deputy coroner and Columbus police officer, and Paula Rothrock a case manager for Columbus Regional Hospital emergency department and former Columbus Police officer.

We asked the candidates “The county coroner’s office has been drawn into controversy and a federal lawsuit by the death of Cary Owsley and how that death investigation was handled. What policies would prevent that sort of issue going forward?”

Rothrock said:


Nolting said:


Nolting’s primary opponent, Ron Shadley, recently endorsed Rothrock saying that he thought there should be  a separation between law enforcement and the coroner’s office. We asked the candidates:

  • Ron Shadley brought up a question about whether it is a conflict of interest for law enforcement officers to also be a county coroner? How do you address those concerns or are they even valid?

Rothrock said:


Nolting said: