Greenspun is also trying to incriminate the Falls Church Police Department's investigation and evidence gathering in the case. He asked lead detective Sonya Richardson why they didn't get a search warrent for the Gardner's home until three weeks after the Friday night slumber party.Compared to Arlington County and especially Fairfax County, Falls Church City does have a very small police department. But I read their crime blotter each and every week, and nothing much happens in Falls Church especially for the detectives. In any given week their biggest problem is underage drinking and public drunkenness. They have, maybe, one big case a year. And this would have been the big one -- the REALLY BIG ONE.
"Why didn't you get a search warrent on Sunday?" asked Greenspun.
Detective Sonya Richardson replied, "Because of the nature of the case." She called it "high profile" and said she was told when she called the Arlington County prosecutor that there could possibly be a conflict of interest.
"I was asked to hold up," Richardson said.
Strong DNA evidence pointing to Gardner was found on one of the alleged victim's underpants and another's pajama pants. But an important item, the sleeping bag was not sent to be tested. "Why?" Greenspun asked.
Detective Richardson replied, "If I had my way I would have sent everything." She said she only has a department of six people.
The delay in executing the search warrant means that the police never recovered Michael Gardner's laptop. Gardner was a local executive for a Seattle software company, and so he traveled a lot and would have had a laptop. One can only imagine what manner of evidence might have been on it.
Here's the timeline:
- First girl assaulted night of June 16.
- Second and third girl assaulted night of June 17.
- Michael Gardner arrested June 23.
- French Canadians of Quebec celebrate Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day on June 24.
- Week one of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival starts on June 27.
- Paris Cinema Film Festival opens July 1.
- Nation celebrates Independence Day July 4.
- Week two of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival starts on July 4, ends July 8.
- Search warrant executed July 8.
So, as you can see a lot happened in that time. Unfortunately, none of it was related to this case. But maybe the Falls Church Police Department was preoccupied with the Folklife Festival... this is Falls Church after all.
No matter the outcome of this case, there needs to be an investigation of the Falls Church Police Department and the Arlington County prosecutors office. For them to say now that there was a conflict of interest is an understatement. For them to delay a search warrant for three weeks is, at best, a high-degree of incompetence. And to neglect to submit to DNA testing a key piece of evidence in the biggest case they've had for 20 years... well, you draw your own conclusions.