Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Was it Destiny or incompetence?

SLCPD is taking heat for its handling of the Destiny Norton missing person-cum-murder investigation. From the Salt Lake Tribune:
A few hundred people gathered outside the home of Destiny as well as that of Craig Gregerson, where the girl's body was found, on 500 East near 700 South.
Many were shouting profanities at the police who stood on the other side of yellow tape ensuring no one tampered with what was still considered a crime scene.
About midnight, the crowd was enough that police closed traffic on the block.
Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank arrived to try and quell the crowd and take some questions from reporters and residents.

There is something wierd about this case, something that hasn't been told or isn't yet known. While hundreds of people were out searching for her, Destiny was either dead or dying in the basement of her neighbor's house.
Jeannie Hill, who acted as a spokeswoman for the Nortons during the search, ... levied her own criticism of the investigation. In an interview, she accused the Salt Lake City Police Department of not taking Destiny's disappearance seriously. The first night Destiny went missing, Hill said, police told the family to go home; that police would go out and search.
Hill said the lack of seriousness was in part because of the previous dealings the Nortons and their extended family had with police.
Hill described the group as people who used to "sit on the street and beg for beer money" and who used to "smoke pot in the park."
"We've always known they've had a bit of a vendetta against us," Hill said.
The police and the FBI also focused too much on the possibility someone in the extended family took Destiny, Hill said. The Nortons claim kinship with a large group of people whom they will call by familiar titles though there is no blood relation.
Some people in the crowd accused police of not applying themselves toward finding Destiny because of her low socioeconomic status.
Chellie Ehrhart, who said she is a friend of the Nortons from Riverton, claimed police didn't apply the same amount of resources that were used to find Elizabeth Smart.

So this might be the piece that is missing...her "family" and that law enforcement were certain that one of these folks did it, just like they focused on that handyman of the Smart family. Maybe they zeroed in on this hunch and failed to look into the obvious next-door neighbor. The neighbor even went on searches for Destiny, just to throw the police off his trail.

The socioeconomic complaint feels valid. I recall that the same time Elizabeth Smart went missing, a black girl from the South Side of Chicago went missing, but the story vanished because the family didn't live in a McMansion or have a spokesman, or make the talk show circuit.

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