OSBI investigates Bethany Police Department, 3 Officers on Paid Leave

Friday, April 5th 2013, 7:55 pm
By: News 9

We're learning more about an investigation inside the Bethany Police Department. Three officers are on paid administrative leave while the OSBI looks into allegations of stolen evidence.

The OSBI is investigating three Bethany Police Officers assigned to the department's property room. News 9 is told this could affect pending cases, and Friday night we know one of the detectives being investigated played a role in the murder investigation of Carina Saunders.

Police Chief Phil Cole tells News 9 it all started after state investigators said there were problems with evidence Bethany submitted to the OSBI crime lab. Then in March, OSBI says District Attorney David Prater requested they investigate an allegation that there was missing property from the Bethany property room.

"Since then we've been investigating, and one of the ways you do that is, you look at all the paperwork for the evidence, and then you compare that with the evidence actually there at the property room," OSBI spokesperson Jessica Brown said.

Cole says he told the DA there may be issues regarding their property room that could affect pending cases.

"At this point in time, it's too early in the investigation to determine how many, if any, cases will be affected that the Bethany Police Department worked on," Brown says. "However, that's certainly something that will come out in the end."

In February, OSBI took over the 2011 murder investigation of Carina Saunders, and prosecutors dropped charges against two prime suspects in the case due to lack of evidence.

Cole tells News 9 that one of the detectives who worked Saunders' case is now one of the three officers on administrative leave. Cole says the evidence in question is unrelated to the Carina Saunders' case. 

Multiple sources tell News 9 that prescription pills were reported missing from the Bethany property room. No charges have been filed, and Chief Cole says he's waiting to take disciplinary action, if any, until the OSBI completes its investigation.