Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ketchum police lose 2 of 3 detectives

Police chief declines to discuss possible connection to Reimer case

Express Staff Writer

Mike McNeil

The Ketchum Police Department has declined to discuss whether the recent resignation of the lead detective in the Deborah A. Reimer attempted-murder investigation is connected to the evidence-bungling snafu that led to dismissal of the case.

Former Detective Ken Martinez resigned from the police force in April, apparently without another job lined up. Ketchum Police Chief Mike McNeil said Monday that Martinez is looking for police work elsewhere and police spokeswoman Kim Rogers said Martinez is "going to Iraq or something."

"He chose to submit a letter of resignation; it was accepted and he has since moved on," McNeil said.

Ketchum Police Chief Cory Lyman was out of town and unavailable for comment.

"I talked to the chief last night and he said we can't release any information on the reasons he resigned," McNeil said Tuesday. "You'll have to get that from Martinez, and that's all we have to say about it."

The Ketchum Police Department also recently lost former Detective Dave Avelar, a seven-year police force veteran who retired earlier this month.

"As far as Avelar, he had nothing to do with the case and just retired," McNeil said.

The loss of Martinez and Avelar leaves the department with R. Scott Manning as its only detective.

Martinez, who could not be reached for comment, had been with the Ketchum Police Department for about two years. Before that he was a homicide detective in Indianapolis, Ind.

A second-degree attempted murder charge was dismissed against Reimer in March at the request of Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas. Reimer, a 54-year-old former Ketchum-area woman, had been accused of firing two shots at her former boyfriend Bob Dreyer on July 18, 2007, at Dreyer's home on Glade Court in south Ketchum.

Thomas blamed evidence mishandling by the Ketchum Police Department as the reason for his motion to dismiss.

Thomas wrote in the motion that "documentation identifying the evidence and how it was handled had been neglectfully and erroneously entered, misleadingly created and/or willingly destroyed, which gave a false sense of accuracy to the documents."

He wrote further: "Whether by neglect, ineptness or malfeasance, the ultimate result on the credibility of the evidence and the veracity of the Ketchum police investigation leads to the conclusion that serious errors in judgment and protocol occurred and any attempt to rehabilitate the case at this point would be futile."

The Idaho Attorney General's Office is conducting an investigation into the mishandling of the evidence. It was unclear Tuesday when that investigation will be completed. Also unclear is whether or not the investigative report will be made available to the public in its entirety.

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