Former coroner enters plea

By Joseph Slacian and David Fenker

Former Wabash County Coroner Carol (Whitesel) Nose entered a not guilty plea Monday afternoon in Wabash Circuit Court.

Nose, 66, was served a Wabash Circuit Court arrest warrant on Thursday, Aug. 2, by Indiana State Police Trooper Steven Glass, charging her with official misconduct, a level 6 felony. She was taken to the Wabash County Jail where she was released on $6,500 bond.

Nose served as the Wabash County coroner from 2008 through 2016.

Nose asked for a court appointed attorney, citing lack of funds to hire outside counsel. Circuit Court Judge Robert McCallen III appointed Stefan Poling as her counsel.

According to an ISP news release, Detective Josh Maller initiated an investigation after receiving information that Nose had allegedly failed to turn over numerous files to current Coroner Suzie Lewis, as required. Indiana criminal code states a public servant who knowingly or intentionally fails to deliver public records and property in the public servant’s custody, to the public servant’s successor in office, when that successor qualifies; commits official misconduct.

Maller, according to his probable cause affidavit filed with Wabash Circuit Court, met with Lewis on Aug. 25, 2017, at the request of Wabash County Prosecutor William Hartley Jr. During the meeting, the affidavit asserts, Lewis showed Maller records she had obtained from Nose.

“While observing the records Ms. Lewis indicated that several of the files are empty, while several others contain documents from other agencies, hospitals or laboratories,” Maller wrote. Ms. Lewis then opened several of the files for demonstrative purposes and I observed that her statement about the contents was correct.”

During a taped interview, Lewis discussed the “struggle to obtain the records from Mrs. Nose and how she has received several requests from the State Board of Health which she has been unable to fulfill due to not having the records,” the affidavit continued.

Lewis, according to the document, contacted County Attorney Steve Downs about the situation. He, in turn, wrote Nose in June 2017 in an effort to obtain coroner’s records from 2009 to 2016. Nose, according to the paperwork, provided only 28 of the 326 cases handled by the coroner’s office.

Maller interviewed Nose on Aug. 28, 2017, and was purportedly able to recover some of the files from Nose’s home. Further investigation revealed the files, recovered, allegedly did not contain a coroner’s report. Indiana code states a coroner after viewing a body, hearing evidence, and making all necessary inquires, shall draw up and sign their verdict on the death under consideration.

In addition, statue requires the coroner to make a written report giving an accurate description of the deceased person, their name if it can be determined, and the amount of money and other property found with the body.

Nose, according to the probable cause affidavit, claimed in an October 2017 interview with Maller that she was not properly trained by her predecessor, Marilyn McDonald.

In reviewing the state statue, Maller wrote, “Mrs. Nose indicated that Ms. McDonald did not train her correctly noting several parts of the statute saying she was trained to do it incorrectly or inadequately.”

She did offer, Maller continued, to bring the records up to date.
Indiana State Coroner Board officials, in a separate interview, told Maller that training has not changed since 2006, and that

Nose was present for the annual coroner’s conference every year from 2009 to 2016. She also received additional training in 2012, the affidavit noted.

Posted on 2018 Aug 07