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Petition calls for suspension of Fayette County Sheriff

FAYETTE COUNTY, OH (WCMH) -- An online petition asking that the county sheriff be suspended is picking up steam.

The petition claims sheriff Vernon Stanforth handled the investigation into the arson death of an 8-year-old girl poorly. Donald Branham said he needed answers about who started the fire that killed his 8-year-old daughter Mackenzie Branham back in 2006.

Branham said although he didn't start the petition, he wants the sheriff not only suspended, but fired. He says the investigation wasn't handled properly.

"I got home and I saw it and I signed it. I back it 100 percent," said Branham.

Branham along with nearly 130 people who signed the petition feel the sheriff improperly handled key evidence along with other allegations.

"I'm disappointed by that. I don't believe I dropped the ball. I don't believe I covered anything up. I don't believe I've done anything inappropriate. I believe we have done everything we can do to try and solve this case," said Stanforth.

Sheriff Stanforth said not a day goes by that he doesn't look into this case.  He said though it has been ruled an arson, no one is coming forward with information that isn't hearsay.

"We have not had anyone that's been presented to us as a suspect. Doesn't mean we haven't cleared anybody, but still, no one has come to us and said this is the person that did it," said Stanforth.

He said despite what's written on that petition, he wants everyone to know that solving this case is a top priority for the office. The sheriff said he is limited on what he can share about the case because it's an open investigation.


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