Interim Casper Police Chief Raises Doubts About Richardson, McMurry Investigations
Interim Police Chief Steve Schulz questioned the handling of the investigations of the disappearance of Kristi Richardson three years ago this week, the suicide of Mick McMurry in March 2015, and possible connections between the two, according to a deposition of him filed in Natrona County District Court.
"There are -- in my opinion and I think the detectives' opinion that were working on it (the Richardson investigation), there were things that should have been done that even I, on the outside looking at it, was going, Yeah. That probably should have been taken care of differently," Schulz said.
Richardson was last seen on the evening of Oct. 6, 2014, and was reported missing the next day.
"I think interviews, in my opinion, should have been done with folks involved with the case sooner. I don't even know if they've been done," he said during the Sept. 8 deposition conducted by Cheyenne attorney Bruce Moats. Moats represents Lovcom, Inc., a company owned by Sheridan businessman Kim Love that has sued the City of Casper, Schulz and the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation.
City of Casper Attorney William Chambers and Wyoming Assistant Attorney General John Brodie also were present at the deposition.
Schulz said the oversight on the part of the former administration of the police department may have hindered the Richardson investigation by not taking a broader approach. "And I think the detectives didn't have free reign to investigate the case as a case that needs to be investigated, just go ahead and just, you know, put their head down to the grindstone and get it taken care of."
Likewise, interviews should have been conducted, or conducted earlier, in the McMurry suicide, he said.
He added he would have turned over both cases to the DCI regardless of whether Lovcom sued the city and him on May 30, demanding the release of information about Richardson's disappearance and McMurry's suicide.
Schulz turned over the Richardson case to the DCI on May 18, less than two weeks after Interim City Manager Liz Becher fired former Police Chief Jim Wetzel. The police department had worked on the case for nearly three years at that time and had not come close to resolving it, Schulz wrote to the DCI.
On June 7, Schulz likewise turned over the closed case of the McMurry suicide in light of allegations of a possible connection to the Richardson disappearance.
In both cases, Schulz told the DCI it could look at them with fresh eyes.
On Aug. 10, Natrona County District Court Judge Thomas Sullins granted Lovcom's request to add the DCI as a defendant in the lawsuit.
The DCI responded that providing the records and the the log of the records -- basically an index of what was done during the investigations -- could jeopardize its work.
Schulz said he was not directly involved in the Richardson and McMurry investigations at the time, but he came to learn more about them after Wetzel's dismissal and talking with the department's command staff and the detectives who worked on the cases.
While the McMurry suicide case was closed, Schulz said he thought it also best to turn it over to the DCI because it could better determine whether there was a relationship between McMurry and Richardson.
He and the DCI believe that information about the renewed investigations should be kept sealed for the time being.
"If we could conclusively say a hundred percent that there is a connection, I think that information certainly could be released, but I think that there's a lot of damage done when you have that rumor mill out there and you don't check into it for your factual basis in your case to make sure you're moving the right direction -- I think sometimes that kind of muddies the water," Schulz said.