Adkins isn't a widely recognized public figure, unlike Massey CEO Don Blankenship, who is well known throughout the region for his political activities and the company's high profile, but Adkins gained some visibility with television appearances to brief the media during attempts to find four of the missing Upper Big Branch victims.
"He played a large role with the families during the rescue operation and the recovery," Wooten said, adding that the families of the 29 victims did not object when Adkins was named to participate in the investigation by Massey. The families did object to other Massey representatives, although he did not name them.
"His name was on there, and they were concerned about some people not being on there," Wooten said.
Investigators have begun the process of looking for clues to the explosion. The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration's plan calls for teams to map the mine, take dust samples to determine whether the mine had too much combustible material around, and look for damage patterns that show where the blast might have started, among other things.
Massey has complained about that plan because it is not being allowed to take its own dust samples and photos.
Investigators also have been clearing the mine's rail tracks and repairing electric lines, according to Massey.
Wooten said he has no problem with Adkins' presence either, despite the fact that Massey is the target of the investigation.
"You've got to remember, too, that no one -- whether it's federal, state, representatives of the miners, the special investigator or the company, members of the company members of their investigative team -- are ever to be alone," he said. "It not only has to look right, it has to be right."