Stepfather facing multiple charges stemming from 11-year old’s death

A man from Fort Wayne, Indiana believed responsible for the death of an 11-year old while hunting in Clay Township this past weekend has been charged. John Varndell Junior was arraigned Wednesday in 72nd District Court in Marine City. According to court records, Varndell will face Manslaughter and firearms charges stemming from a Sunday shooting in which his 11 year old stepson died. The two were participating in Michigan’s youth hunting season in the 6300 block of Benoit Road in Clay Township when the s hooting occurred. The stepfather reportedly mistook his stepson for a deer.


A man could be facing charges following the fatal shooting of his 11-year old stepson over the past weekend in St. Clair County’s Clay Township. The prosecuting attorney’s office says they will decide whether the 40 year old stepfather will be charged after he allegedly mistook his stepson for a deer and shot him over the weekend during the youth hunting season. The incident happened in the 6300 block of Benoit Road in Clay Township around 8pm on Sunday. Police also say the boy’s mother also shot herself in the hand while unloading a gun. The Youth Hunting program is designed to introduce youth under the age of 10 to hunting and fishing, with kids under the age of 10 allowed to hunt turkey, deer and small game, trap fur bearers and fish for all species.