Lovcom: Social Status May Have Affected Richardson, McMurry Investigations
The social status of those affected by the disappearance of Kristi Richardson in October 2014 and the apparent suicide of Mick McMurry in March 2015 may have influenced their investigations, according to the company that has sued the Casper Police Department and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.
"The residents of Casper have a particular need to know how their police department handled the investigations of these important cases, and whether the social position of persons affected how they were treated during the investigations," according to the petition filed by Lovcom through its attorney Bruce Moats for Lovcom.
Lovcom, headed by Sheridan resident Kim Love, wants to depose former Casper Police Chief Chris Walsh, now a Casper City Council member, and Detective Shannon Daley about the possibly related investigations, which in turn may affect the release of documents about the cases.
Lovcom sued the city in June 2017, questioning whether it and the police department did all it could to investigate Richardson's disappearance and McMurry's death.
Since then, Natrona County District Court Judge Thomas Sullins ordered the records sealed of the two cases that were initially investigated by the Casper Police Department and then turned over to the DCI. However, Sullins allowed Sheridan businessman Kim Love and his attorney, and only them, permission to receive copies of indexes of those files.
The City of Casper and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation objected to the proposed depositions, saying neither Walsh nor Daley were involved in the DCI's decision to release those records, and any information from those interviews, if granted, would be privileged.
Lovcom, however, said it would agree to conduct the depositions under seal and the information would become public only if the court allowed it.
It specifically wants a deposition of Daley regarding the conduct of the Richardson investigation.
"She specifically has information as to whether detectives considered interviewing Mick McMurry and others, and whether they were blocked from doing so. She could could talk about whether the department contacted anyone outside the department about the possibility of an interview with McMurry," according to Lovcom's petition.
She could say whether the police knew of reports that a domestic helper called people about an alleged relationship between Richardson and McMurry, and whether that person was interviewed.
Daley also could say where the administration of the police department directed the investigation, and whether a story about the Richardson disappearance on the cable news show "Crime Watch Daily Report" interfered with the investigation.
Lovcom said Walsh could provide information about the conduct of both investigations. He resigned as chief in February 2014. Former City Manager John Patterson named Jim Wetzel shortly thereafter. Wetzel was fired on May 5, 2017. Interim Police Chief Steve Schulz on May 18 turned over the Richardson investigation to the DCI, and on June 7 he asked the DCI to review the apparent McMurry suicide.
Walsh received reports about both investigations, according to Lovcom. "Walsh wrote a letter to the Casper city management stating he had received information inside the department and that he believed an investigation by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation was warranted."
The public, Lovcom said, has a right to know from these depositions whether the department, through the "Crime Watch Daily Report," may have diverted attention from possible persons of interest. "The public will never be allowed to consider whether the department was willing to release information about a truck driver of ordinary means who was a person of interest, while protecting others who may have a higher standing in the community."
Regardless of what the depositions reveal and the possible release of records of the investigation, Lovcom said they will serve the public's interest about "accountability of the department's actions, whether good or bad."
Kim Love admitted in an interview with K2 Radio News that there was personal animosity between McMurray and him, and did not deny that it may be one factor in his interest in the case.