September 14, 2017
A 6 month audit by the State Law Enforcement Agency, revealed a gross mismanagement of the evidence department under former Laurens County Sheriff Ricky Chastain.
SLED audits of evidence departments in cities and counties are not required. They are only done when they are requested. Most of the time these audits are only requested when there is a change in leadership. An audit had not been done in at least two decades at the Laurens County Sheriff's Office.
SLED started their audit on December 27th with 9 agents, they found thousands of pieces of evidence from various cases thrown together, not properly labeled, and not properly stored.
Laurens County uses the old jail to house their evidence. This audit revealed the haunted jail, for charity, was the same place the evidence was held.
The jail is not the only place evidence was being held. A safe in the narcotics room was being used for drugs, money, guns, and evidence to be held in, with no record of what was going in and out.
Overall, SLED reported 885 pieces of evidence were found that were not even logged in the system Laurens County had set up. They also discovered 6 guns were not located, 391 pieces of evidence not located, and $386.18 was missing from one case.
Two new evidence custodians got to work, they created a new system to log in and log out evidence. They also have spent months working to track down owners of evidence that was found that should have been returned or destroyed years ago.
7News reached out to former Sheriff Ricky Chastain multiple times for comment by phone, at the time of this article, none of those calls or texts have been returned.
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