State Attorney clears accused Oak Hill officer

News-Journal (Daytona Beach, Florida) Final Edition

Oak Hill, FL

OAK HILL -- A city police sergeant on paid leave since August was cleared of accusations he stole a dead man's wallet containing $55, according to the State Attorney's Office.

Prosecutors reviewing the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation said there was "insufficient evidence to charge or convict Sgt. (Michael) Ihnken with any crime," said Assistant State Attorney Chris Kelly, office spokesman.

In a Jan. 15., letter, Managing Assistant State Attorneys Celeste Gagne and Ben Fox indicated the eyewitness accounts did not provide "proof beyond a reasonable doubt."

In early August, former Oak Hill Police Chief Guy Grasso requested state investigators look into how the wallet disappeared from the department's evidence room. Officers were called to 245 E. Ariel Road to investigate an unattended death in late July.

During the investigation, the unidentified dead man's wallet and keys were taken for safekeeping. A few days later the items were gone.

Oak Hill Sgt. Robert Walker accused Ihnken, an eight-year veteran of the force, of acting suspiciously. Walker told FDLE investigators his suspicions were raised because Ihnken resigned from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office after a 1998 internal affairs report.

Then-deputy Ihnken was accused in the report of neglect when $400 disappeared from the belongings of a prisoner he was transporting, according to the FDLE.

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