Accused Murderers Set Free Accidently
Christopher Daigle of Missouri City, TX went hunting with a friend in 2002 and never returned. The Associated press reports that his grandmother, Wanda Gregory, filed a missing persons report with the Missouri City Police Department. Richard Mendoza, Daigle’s friend, was a person of interest in his disappearance. Mrs. Gregory believes that Christopher was shot due to a love triangle situation with Mendoza’s girlfriend. Unfortunately, no physical evidence existed of the crime. The case went cold.
Nine years later, in August 2011, Fort Bend County, TX Sheriff’s Department detectives discovered human remains in the area where the two had been hunting. DNA testing results indicated that the remains belonged to Christopher Daigle. Detectives worked hard to put together a case. Mendoza was soon arrested. Think that’s the end of the story? Think again.
Mendoza will walk free on Monday because District Attorney John Healey failed to file charges in the 90-day window required by Texas law. Cold cases are hard enough to solve, but shouldn’t police expect the DA to control paperwork?
Bob Haenel, Fort Bend County Sherriff’s Public Information Officer, reported to LET that all is not lost. “This case is not dead. The grand jury has heard the evidence again and Mr. Mendoza has been indicted again. But he is not in jail at this time. I’m not sure if he will be let out on bond or back in our custody or not. “
This is a disturbing trend. The Associated Press reports today that accused murderer Frederick Scott was mistakenly released from jail without bond earlier in November after being extradited from Las Vegas. The clerical error was discovered several days after his release. Palmer Park, Maryland Police are asking for the public’s help in locating him. The public shouldn’t have to help locate him.
As budgets for public safety agencies continue to diminish, staffing tends to be reduced. Is this what happened here? Neither agency wanted to comment about that. Mistakes happen. Maybe a mistake is understandable with a property crime suspect or a shoplifter, but both agencies should have been paying better attention to accused murderers. Will citizens in each location hold the agencies accountable? How do agencies pressured to do more with less ensure that the most heinous criminals get an appropriate level of attention, even in a budget crunch?
These are my thoughts and questions. I’d love to hear yours.
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