Detective Connected To Carina Saunders Murder Let Go

Thursday, January 30th 2014, 8:57 pm
By: News 9

A case that made headlines nationwide remains unsolved Thursday night. And now, another detective connected to the high profile murder of Carina Saunders is forced to turn in his badge. News 9 is looking into why both investigators on the case have been let go.

The Bethany Police Department has another vacant spot. Three have come open in just past few months. Two were detective who played major roles in the pursuit of justice for Carina Saunders.

The City of Bethany confirms Lt. Austin Warfield was released from duty on Tuesday following an internal investigation. City officials did not explain what resulted in the termination of the detective, who was previously the lead detective on one of the biggest cases at the department: The high profile murder of 19-year-old Saunders.

"That case has been a very painful case, especially for victim's families. I think for a while there it looked like the case was handled and they had people in custody and now suddenly they are back to square one," said SWOSU criminologist, Dr. Howard Kurtz.

Warfield and former Capt. Jack Jencks were forced to turn over the case to the OSBI one year ago when criminal charges were dropped against the suspects due insufficient evidence.

City officials refused to say if that shakeup in the Saunders case, and subsequent publicity of mistakes made, were connected to Warfield's termination. But the decision comes just four months after the firing of another detective on the Saunders case; Jencks.

Jencks was let go after evidence was found missing from Bethany's property room, developments that are concerning to carina Saunders parents and the community.

"Anytime a number of officers are let go, confidence in that department [decreases],"said Kurtz.

The OSBI says the Saunders case is still an open and active case.