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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    FL
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    192

    Obtaining Information on a Case

    Back in my small hometown in South Carolina, a high school teammate of mine was missing then found dead of drowning in a county Waste Water retention pond and there are very suspicious circumstances regarding his death. It was ruled a drowning although there were a lot of cuts and trauma to the body, the treatment plant was fenced in, and it was about 3 miles from his home...he had no business there. It was also after 1am when he went missing and ended up there.

    At any rate, what can I use to my advantage to start digging into this case and hopefully find some answers?

    There is a popular theory of what happened floating around the area that involves a family member of law enforcement, so no one either has the knowledge and skills to start a private investigation...or are either afraid.

    I am 400 miles away and know the small-town politics of my town are keeping the truth down.

    Does the Freedom of Information Act allow me access or ability to request the offical police report, autopsy documents, crime scene analysis, witness statements, etc?

    Thanks for any information!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    192
    Also, if I do submit at FOIA request...do I have to use my real name and information? I ask in the slight fear of retaliation. Remember, I am from (but no longer live in) a very small town and word travels quickly...and everyone knows everyone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    6,485
    Seaspur, sorry I can't help you regarding FOIA matters - I just wanted to say good luck with your search for the truth regarding your friend's death.

    It certainly does seem strange that anyone would want to be near or in the water of a fenced-in water treatment (sewage?) plant at 1am.. and die of drowning, also with evidence of physical trauma. I think you're quite right to feel it may indeed be suspicious circumstances on that set of data alone.

    Have you got any idea what a possible motive might be, for someone to have wanted to murder him?

    How does his family feel about this? Are they also suspicious that it could have been foul play?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Oh Captain, My Captain
    Posts
    28,051
    Quote Originally Posted by SeaSpur View Post
    Back in my small hometown in South Carolina, a high school teammate of mine was missing then found dead of drowning in a county Waste Water retention pond and there are very suspicious circumstances regarding his death. It was ruled a drowning although there were a lot of cuts and trauma to the body, the treatment plant was fenced in, and it was about 3 miles from his home...he had no business there. It was also after 1am when he went missing and ended up there.

    At any rate, what can I use to my advantage to start digging into this case and hopefully find some answers?

    There is a popular theory of what happened floating around the area that involves a family member of law enforcement, so no one either has the knowledge and skills to start a private investigation...or are either afraid.

    I am 400 miles away and know the small-town politics of my town are keeping the truth down.

    Does the Freedom of Information Act allow me access or ability to request the offical police report, autopsy documents, crime scene analysis, witness statements, etc?

    Thanks for any information!
    Quote Originally Posted by SeaSpur View Post
    Also, if I do submit at FOIA request...do I have to use my real name and information? I ask in the slight fear of retaliation. Remember, I am from (but no longer live in) a very small town and word travels quickly...and everyone knows everyone.
    Hi, SeaSpur-I can help you with FOIA. How you make the FOIA request is up to you...I wont encourage your or discourage you in regards to identifying yourself.

    FOIA requests are typically made to the Records Department of the Jurisdiction. Most Jurisdictions have directions on their websites as to how to make records requests, where to send them and if there is a cost involved. I usually send a prepaid postage envelope along with my request so that it is as easy as possible for the recipient to return the information to me.

    If you know the family of the victim, you can get the record number of the case which also makes it easier. Ideally, the family would make the FOIA request and then they could give you copies of the records. You are free to share them here, either on the public board or in the private areas like the Parking Lot or the Jury Room. That would be my recommendation if you want to reduce exposure for yourself.

    There are a few reasons why LE can deny your request-typically they will say no if it is an open investigation and it would jeopardize a portion of the investigation to give access to the records. Another reason is if there is an informant participating in the case or it is a matter of National Security.

    That being said, even when I have been denied the entire record, I have been given log sheets, incident reports and initial police reports pretty consistently.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    192
    Believe09, I apologize I am just getting back to your response- which is much appreciated.

    I believe I know the correct department to send my request to, unfortunately...I still am not sure of the safest and best way to go about it. I do not want to use my personal name and address in the request. I feel it will endanger me in some sense.

    If I told you that I was 99.9% certain that the death of this male was a murder and not a death by drowning (as concluded by LE), how would you go about it? I can give further details in a PM, but for safety reasons- I am afraid to give it up on this thread or even start a standard thread about it in the appropriate subforum for WS investigation.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    192
    Quote Originally Posted by Ausgirl View Post
    Seaspur, sorry I can't help you regarding FOIA matters - I just wanted to say good luck with your search for the truth regarding your friend's death.

    It certainly does seem strange that anyone would want to be near or in the water of a fenced-in water treatment (sewage?) plant at 1am.. and die of drowning, also with evidence of physical trauma. I think you're quite right to feel it may indeed be suspicious circumstances on that set of data alone.

    Have you got any idea what a possible motive might be, for someone to have wanted to murder him? The main theory is a racial matter- this boy was messing with someone that their family member did not approve of.

    How does his family feel about this? Are they also suspicious that it could have been foul play? The family and friends are very suspicious of the whole circumstances. However, I am from a small community where you are almost forced to believe what the officials tell you. The family and friends, I feel, do not exactly have the resources or knowledge to pursue additional details or the truth of this case. They certainly doubt (after private discussions) the official cause of death and reasoning behind his disappearance and death.
    Again, sorry I am just replying- but I have made some responses (although generic to protect myself) to clarify some things.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    2,229
    SeaSpur

    If this was a racially motivated crime- a hate crime- the FBI investigates those. Maybe someone can contact the local FBI office and ask for help?



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