Autopsy results released in Morristown homicide

MORRISTOWN, Vermont (Wednesday, April 13, 2022) — Vermont State Police An autopsy was conducted Wednesday, April 13, 2022, at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington on Fern Feather, 29, of Hinesburg, who was known to family as Zachary Barbeau.

The autopsy determined the cause of death was a stab wound to the chest, and the manner of death was homicide.

***Update No. 1, 9:10 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, 2022***

The Vermont State Police has arrested a suspect on a charge of second-degree murder arising from the death Tuesday morning of a person in Morristown. The victim has been identified as Zachary Barbeau, 29, of Hinesburg, who was known by friends as Fern Feather. Preliminary investigation indicates Barbeau was stabbed to death.

Seth Brunell, 43, who is transient, was ordered jailed without bail pending arraignment scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, 2022, in the Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court in Hyde Park.

Investigators determined that Brunell met Barbeau several days ago, and the two had been spending time together. The Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department encountered the two in a vehicle at about 8:05 a.m. Tuesday, April 12, 2022, in the parking lot of the Lamoille North Supervisory Union.

Deputies checked on Barbeau and Brunell and waited for them to leave the parking lot. Sometime before 10:15 a.m., Barbeau and Brunell arrived in a vehicle on Duhamel Road near the intersection of Cadys Falls Road.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, Brunell told police he was defending himself after Barbeau made a sexual advance and attacked him. Investigators observed no injuries or evidence of a struggle or an assault on Brunell.

Following processing of the scene by the Vermont State Police Crime Scene Search Team, Barbeau’s body was brought Tuesday evening to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for an autopsy, which is scheduled to take place Wednesday.

The Vermont State Police worked closely on the investigation with the Lamoille County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Further details of the case are outlined in the affidavit of probable cause, which will be filed with the court and made public following Brunell’s arraignment. Members of the media should call the Court Clerk’s Office prior to arraignment to confirm details of the hearing.

***Initial news release, 2:20 p.m. Tuesday, April 12, 2022***

Members of the Vermont State Police are investigating a suspicious death reported Tuesday morning, April 12, 2022, in Morristown.

A passerby called 911 at about 10:20 a.m. to report she had located an adult man who appeared to be deceased on the side of Duhamel Road near the intersection with Cadys Falls Road. First responders located the victim deceased at the scene. The incident does not appear to be random, and there is no indication of any danger to the community. A person of interest has been detained pending further investigation.

The Vermont State Police investigation is in its preliminary stages and includes members of the Major Crime Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, Crime Scene Search Team, Victim Services Unit, Field Force Division and Public Information Officer. The Morristown Police Department, Stowe Police Department and Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department are assisting with the investigation.

The body of the victim will be brought to the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington for an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death. His identity is being withheld pending further investigation and notification of next of kin.

Anyone with information that could aid investigators is asked to call the Vermont State Police in Williston at 802-878-7111. Tips also may be submitted anonymously online at

No further information is available at this time. VSP will provide updates as the investigation continues.