HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. (March 15, 2016) - The world is watching as thousands of Americans vote in presidential primaries across the country, but in Hancock County, all eyes are on a different election.
The Hancock County Coroner’s race is one being watched incredibly closely, in part because the past two coroners have been arrested.
Four candidates are now looking to return trust and integrity to what’s become a struggling seat.
Ask any of the four candidates vying for Hancock County coroner why the public has taken such an interest in their race and they’ll all give you the same answer.
“We lost a lot of respect in the Coroner’s office. That’s why it’s such a hot issue in Hancock County,” said =candidate Dan Devoy.
“I felt like I needed to step in and try and bring some trust back to the office,” said =candidate David Stillinger.
“There certainly was some mistrust with the elected leadership,” said Rudy Nylund, another candidate.
“They’ve both been arrested and the current one hasn’t taken a call since December of ’13,” said candidate Joe Fortner.
Former Hancock County Coroner Tammy Vangundy was arrested and charged with a DUI in 2012 after showing up intoxicated to the scene of an investigation.
Current Coroner Crystel Myers was arrested for stealing toys from Walmart in 2013. She was convicted of a misdemeanor and still serves as coroner.
“We care about our county, we want to make things right and everything, so I think sure people are thinking about the presidential and the Governor and all that but this affects them so they’re honed in on that,” said Janice Silvey, the Hancock County Republican Party Chair.
Devoy is a former two-time Hancock County Coroner, and is choosing to run again.
“The only way we’re going to get our respect back is to put someone in there that’s been in that office, that respects the office, that cares about this county and cares about what’s going on in that office,” he said.
Nylund is a current Deputy Coroner. He’s fighting for the seat as well.
“My goal is to continue the trust that I have built with the community,” he said.
Fortner has also previously served as a Hancock County Deputy Coroner.
“They’re really watching to see who’s going to be in the race to get somebody in there that’s going to be trustworthy, honest, and can do the job and can do it correctly,” he said.
Stillinger, the owner of a Greenfield funeral home, is running as well.
“When the office is in turmoil, how do we know we’re getting the job we’re supposed to be getting-- and that’s the biggest reason why I stepped in,” he said.
Indiana's primary is on May 3. That’s when we will know who the republican candidate is in this race. Currently, there are no democrats or independents running.
Candidates have until June 30 to file.