Septembere 24, 2022
ONTARIO — Former Ontario Police Department Evidence Technician David Worth has been cleared in the investigation into missing evidence from the evidence room. That investigation began in August of 2021. Almost a year later, in July, Malheur County District Attorney told the Argus Observer he had not seen anything from OSP at that time and the police chief told the council he was still waiting for direction from the DA on what to do about officers on paid administrative leave.
At the Ontario City Council meeting on Sept. 13, Chief Michael Iwai provided the most recent update regarding full-time equivalent members on paid leave. He stated that after the council sought information at its last meeting in July, he had provided that to them by email in August, but there had since been a change.
"On Sept. 9, however, David Worth resigned as the evidence technician and he was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing, but he resigned."
As such, the chief said that job position would be posted shortly.
In October of 2021, the newspaper confirmed that there are two police officers — one full-time and one part-time — on paid administrative leave. Then-City Manager Adam Brown would not confirm whether the officers' leave was connected to the missing evidence, but stated that one of them has been on leave since May.
When the newspaper spoke with District Attorney David Goldthorpe, he mentioned that he had forwarded the case to the state due to a conflict of interest with "the suspect." He said over the years he has "worked on several major cases with the suspect as well as attended public events together."
Goldthorpe did not mention any other suspects nor that anyone had been cleared in the case. As such, the newspaper believed that was because it may not have been tied to the case, after all.
Prior to the 2022-23 budget year, there was only one half-time evidence technician. For the current fiscal year, however, the council budgeted to add a full-time evidence technician.
On Thursday, the newspaper confirmed that there is still one person who remains on paid administrative leave which is pending the outcome of the investigation, now in the hands of the Oregon Department of Justice. Justin Zysk, Human Resources manager, assistant to the city manager and manager of the airport confirmed on Thursday that Tuesday was the first time anyone's name tied to the missing evidence investigation had been mentioned in a public meeting that he could recall since he had started back in January.
Goldthorpe previously stated that if Oregon DOJ decides to file charges, the Grand Jury will be conducted in Malheur County as it is a local case, with staff from the DOJ managing the case.
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