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 Series of Blunders by Police

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LindaOz
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Location : On the trail in Utah

PostSubject: Series of Blunders by Police   Thu Mar 11, 2010 12:58 pm

I'm normally very pro police, and still am for the cop on the street. However, I believe the West Valley Police Department has made a series of crucial blunders in this investigation.

This case was initially reported as a missing family when the daycare owner started calling Susan's family members wondering why she wasn't answering her cell phone and didn't drop off the two boys at daycare that Monday morning. Family became very concerned as they found that neither Susan nor Josh showed up for work that day. Police were called to do a welfare check of the family, fearing someone like carbon monoxide poisoning. They found the house secure, no forced entry, no unlocked windows or doors and had to break open a window to gain entry. Police then found a huge wet spot on the livingroom carpet with two big box fans blowing on the wet spot. This changed the status to "suspected foul play". Josh could not be reached by cell phone all day. Susan's cell phone, wallet ad keys were left inside the home.

There was a search of the area surrounding the home finding nothing.

Two neighbors trying to reach Josh all day finally made contact with him about 4:00PM and when asked where he was he said "West Valley. I'm just driving around". Josh was told that police were looking for them and were at the house, yet he kept "driving around" for 2 more hours. This was the time he reportedly was seen in a strip club but if this is true where were to boys?

It got even more suspicious when Josh told gave them his lame excuse about taking the boys camping in subfreezing weather with 1-2" of snow that fell that night, in a campground 50 miles out dirt and gravel roads in the desert where there are no people, houses and no cell phone communication.

Police impound the vehicle, Josh rents a vehicle and takes off for over 12 hours putting hundreds of miles on the vehicle. Police fail to trail the vehicle. When the vehicle returns Josh's hands are severely "windburned", very red and painful and he was carrying a bottle of hand lotion, constantly applying it. POLICE DO NOT CONFISCATE THE RENTAL VEHICLE. They wait SIX DAYS and then start to get a search warrant. How many times was this vehicle cleaned and re-rented in the meantime?? Most rental vehicles have not only a GPS unit in the cab, but an internal unit to locate the vehicle if stolen. Any GPS units had their memories deleted or were written over by the time police finally got a search warrant. It is believed that the rental vehicle was used by Josh to put the body in its final hiding place.

Police report the vehicle had "several thousand miles" on it which they found suspicious, however the refuse to release how many miles making it no easier for searchers to narrow down a location.

The report comes in about the strip club, which has customer receipts and in Utah they are required to scan driver's licenses of every patron to keep on file 7 days. Then this data is scanned over. Police waited so long to investigate this that they no longer had the DL scans from that night!

Thousands of volunteers including search and rescue dog volunteer groups who have both certified scent dogs and cadaver dogs offer to help police search. They do not wish to organize a volunteer search, and still, three months later have not organized a volunteer search. With a few people out searching for Susan, based on the informtion we have that has been released by police we can narrow the possible locations down to FIVE STATES. However, police could easily suggest locations they want searched as they have checked cell pings on two of Josh's phones, credit/debit card use on that night and the following day and hopefully obtained soil samples from shoes and vehicles to further narrow down the location as well as witness statements from the older son, then nearly 5 years old. Police have been seen occasionally searching, but there has been no massive search, as there was on DAY ONE of Elizabeth Smart's case where thousands of volunteers searched and were so close to her at some points that Elizabeth could hear them.

Police did search Simpson Springs, where Josh said he camped with the boys that night, but not until 5 days later, after it snowed obliterating any vehicle tracks and they could not confirm Josh had been there.

Police searched the house two times removing some items but did they search the storage shed in back? When Josh was loading up belonging into UHauls to move to WA, he put up big objects on top of his 6' fence to block reporter's views of the storage shed when he moved items out of it. What was he hiding?

Police have not had any press conferences for about two months. Then they said that no arrest had been made because they were awaiting DNA results from the Utah lab that is so understaffed that it took them 6 weeks to return the results. Did police not place this as a priority? Didn't they involve the FBI? This waiting 6 weeks for forensics while Josh clears out his home and moves to WA is ridiculous!

By now forensics have been back about one month. Still no arrest.
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mandypandy



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PostSubject: Re: Series of Blunders by Police   Thu Mar 11, 2010 2:04 pm

How very sad, all the clues and evidence right in front of them and they let it slip away. Just doesn't make any sense.
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TexasGoldenGirl
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PostSubject: Re: Series of Blunders by Police   Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:46 pm

Linda,

They totally screwed up. Not so much the cop or cops on the street, but the lead investigator(s) who were giving the orders.

From the time he returned home, the police should have been tailing him every minute. They should have know the minute he rented that vehicle and should have tailed him in it. What's more, they should have contacted every rental car agency in Utah and told them the guy's name and made sure there was a GPS in any vechicle he rented.

Even with a GPS, the guy could have disconnected something to make it stop functioning. No matter, they should have been tailing him.

The only thing I can think of is the detectives initially thought that due to the well known marital problems, she might have left him. But you are right when you point out how obviously fishy his stories were - so that should have alerted the police.

It's like the cases of kidnapped teenagers where police initially won't really investigate because they think the teenager might have run away. Only after the kid never shows up again, do they believe it is really a "missing person" case. By then, it is too late.

That was a serious problem with Elizabeth Smart. In fact until that girl was found and got to tell her side of the story, there was still some suspicion that she had really just wanted to get away from her strict Morman upbringing and had run away from home even on message boards on the net.

Meanwhile while the police are waiting to be convinced that there really was foul play, valuable time is wasted.

They blew it though regardless of whether it was caused by lack of resources or just plain lazy policework or a combination of both.
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nnrpece



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PostSubject: Re: Series of Blunders by Police   Mon Mar 15, 2010 7:18 am

Hi All! wave I have to agree with you. Someone in the lead dept. fell short. Because of their inept searches, lack of searches, etc. They may never find her body. Why is it that the police there are so lax? Why would they let someone that is a person of interest move out of state, taint a possible crime scene by moving, not come home until hours after the neighbor said Susan was missing. I do not get it. Josh is smug and Karma has a date with him. The Utah police dept. needs to take a look at how they conduct business. Someone higher up needs to step in and revamp their system.
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LindaOz
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PostSubject: Re: Series of Blunders by Police   Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:26 pm

Golden,
Police knew from day one that there was probable foul play due to the two box fans blowing on a huge stain on the livingroom carpet. Josh was the number one person of interest, and the only person of interest. All of Susan's family as well as friends said she would never let Josh take the boys out in the freezing weather to go camping at 12:30 AM Monday morning when they needed their only vehicle to get to work and day care in 6 hours. It takes 2 hours to get where he says they camped. I cannot think of ANY reason police would not either put up posters or have a press conference soliciting witnesses to his whereabouts that night or the following day.
Recently I've been in touch with a Lieutenant over Cpt McLaughlan with questions and attempts to narrow down the search areas. This Lt. Merritt has been apologetic for the departments apparent lack of concern and communication, but he also states that he has no information to narrow down search areas. I told him I understood he could not reveal evidence they are holding such as locations of cell pings, credit purchases, witness statements, etc. pointing to Josh's locations at that time, but couldn't they simply suggest several areas they would like searched so we can narrow it down from 5 states to perhaps a few different counties in one state. He says they have no info pointing to Josh's whereabouts. What??? He used two cell phones. No cell pings? No gas purchases? No surveillance video? All the oldest son could say was "we went camping but I dont' know where? Come on!
I've been working with a reporter, Isabelle with examiner.com who is giving police a chance to answer these questions. I doubt we will get an answer on their failure to solicit witnesses.
When I tried to do this on my own, planning to distribute posters at camp sites, gas stations, etc, friends who were their fellow church members refused to help, stating "that isn't our job...our job is to pray." and "all we can do is pray and wear purple ribbons. It is not our job to investigate - that is for the police to do". We'll, as Dr. Phil would say: howz it workin' for ya???
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LindaOz
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PostSubject: Re: Series of Blunders by Police   Sun Mar 21, 2010 12:34 pm

Donna - I hope that is happening, someone higher up stepping in.

The reason Lt. Merritt gives for not organizing a volunteer search is "legal liability" should anyone be hurt or evidence be destroyed. Well, why is it that other police departments do not refuse to have extensive searches? Look at the Somer Thompson case where hundreds gathered on the first and second days working with police and they quickly solved the case in about one week. Look at the searchers out for Caylee Anthony and Elizabeth Smart.

This Captain McLaughlan with West Valley Police needs to be retired. He is obviously burned out and does not care about the case. He also has no respect for public opinion. When the reporter confronted him on why the dept had not responded to check the strip of cement his reponse was "I don't know who is handling that...but we can't just go out and check evey little thing, that would be a dog and pony show and just counterproductive".
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