Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott announced Thursday that two people are no longer employed at the city police department as a result of the mishandling into the Tom Sponseller missing person investigation.
Friday, Scott sent a letter to the community, affirming the work of his police department.
A statement from the Columbia Police Department said the Deputy Chief of Administration and Investigations has been terminated. Chief Scott said he has also accepted the retirement of the Captain of Investigations. While the announcement did not include their names, the department’s website listed Chief I.P. Greene and Capt. J.P. Smith in those respective positions.
Scott said his office is continuing an internal probe into how the search for Sponseller was conducted.
“In this situation, I have reviewed the actions of others and have determined that it is in the best interest of the department and the City to take these personnel actions to keep us moving forward in a positive direction,” Scott said in the statement, “I want the best work from everyone, every day and when we don’t get those results, I’m disappointed and change must happen.”
Scott said Chief of Staff Leslie Wiser and Lt. Dana Oree will oversee Investigations immediately.
Columbia Police were criticized after a suicide note from Sponseller was found in his desk by co-workers Tuesday, ten days after investigators searched his office. His body was later found in a locked electrical room in a nearby parking garage, despite the fact that officers had already searched that garage three times.
Scott told WLTX-TV Wednesday that he did not realize investigators had not searched the entire garage. At the time, he had said corrective action “would be taken.”