Letter to the Editor: Case mismanagement proves county police force is needed

Published 3:00 pm Monday, January 17, 2022

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The December 29, 2021 edition printed a front page story titled ” Analyst: domestic dogs killed Hamilton.” I was chairman of the committee appointed by the commissioners to pursue an answer to this mystery. This committee was appointed because the Sheriff’s Department did not provide clear answers to what killed Mrs. Hamilton. To this date there are no clear answers.

The theory that a mystery pack of domesticated dogs that killed only once and has never been seen in Beaufort County killed Mrs. Hamilton simply does not pass the common sense test.

The words used by the DNA investigator were chosen very precisely for a purpose. I personally spoke with her about the words she used in her report. She said in essence “The information I have been provided with points to domesticated dogs.” This is not a direct quote. Translation, “I did not have enough to work with.”

I discussed the following with her. The attack scene was horribly mismanaged by the Sheriff’s Department. It was not isolated from either the public or domesticated dogs. People walked thru the site and dogs walked thru the site. Evidence was mishandled, not properly packaged, or stored.

Duplicate samples were not taken or kept or stored. The entire package was turned over to federal wildlife officials who were intent on proving that red wolves were not involved. The package was returned to the sheriff without chain of custody. The package was then sent to a laboratory in the Midwest that did not do DNA testing.

The lack of competence in the sheriff s department is obvious. This is why we need a county police force with career, trained forensics personnel.

Hood Richardson