Monday, August 24, 2015

Laurie Meritt Murder Investigation: A COVER UP... plain and simple

Laurie Meritt Murder Investigation: Case Study in Corruption (from Times Leader  / Jerry Lynott)

The 51-year-old mail carrier died more than a year ago as a result of an intentionally set fire (described by state police) in her Wyoming Street house. No one has been charged in her death and Walkowiak, 51, wonders if anyone will be as long as the Wilkes-Barre Police Department is in charge of the case.

Here is where the corruption starts:

- 2 WB Police Detectives refusing to investigate Laurie's boyfriend (Kosakowski)... a former WB TWP Police detective. Why didn't Salavantis step in with this massive conflict?

- The boyfriend, Kosakowski, left notes in home. Why?

- Why did he not "haul ass" to the home when he was called about the fire.

- The family pointed at (boyfriend) Kosakowski but Simonetti and the other detective Brent Sevinson ignored them. Why?


She (neighbor)  saw Merritt crying after an argument with Kosakowski outside the house the day of the fire. The neighbor went over to Merritt who said, “Just pray for me,” That night she was dead.

- Why would the Simonetti and partner assume laurie Merritt took muscle relaxants when the family was pointing at Kosakowski?  Why wouldn't they investiagate other scenarios anyway? Since when do detectives consider a single theory. This is reckless and corrupt !!

- Even though the family indicated they believe Kosakowski set the fire — and said so in search warrant affidavits filed by investigators — police didn’t think the evidence was important, Walkowiak said. FOLKS... THIS IS A COVER-UP.

“From day one, we had begged for Wilkes-Barre and the DA to allow the state police in on the investigation because we saw that they weren’t taking us seriously and they would not allow it. Their main focus at this point is covering up shoddy detective work,” she said.


We had done their job for them by providing them with articles of evidence that they never looked for and they still didn’t make it into evidence,” Kristin Merritt said.

She was found in the attic with the chairs kicked out which she couldn't have done on her own. The attic stairs were in the basement!

The impression Mike Merritt, Laurie Merritt’s ex-husband and chairman of the Wilkes-Barre city council, said he got from meeting with detectives the day after the fire was they did not want to hear what the family had to say. More than a year later, police have not made any progress in the case and Merritt said it’s because, “they guessed and they guessed wrong. “

Look at the disrespect
- When the family provided police evidence and the name of a suspect... they were ignored and and told they watch too much television.

“Sometimes the bad people in this world outsmart us and we hit a brick wall,” a woman, who said her husband is one of the active detectives, posted on July 22 on facebook. WHY IS SHE FLAPPING HER LIPS?

- She then said, "“He has re-interviewed people, he has (revisited) the scene, he has went through extensive paperwork and feels guilty because he has no further leads on Laurie’s case.” Does this nut speak for the detectives? Walkowiak (Laurie's brother) bristled at the posts and said, “She should be talking to no one.”

More questions

Salavantis  -  15 months too late
The postings were deleted after Walkowiak said family members met with Luzerne County District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis earlier this month. Salavantis said she was unaware of the postings before the meeting and sympathized with the family as they sought a resolution.
“This is an active investigation,” Salavantis said. “It takes time. It’s not an open-and-shut case.” (ACTUALLY... IT IS OPEN AND SHUT),
But Walkowiak questioned whether the first set of detectives ever started an investigation.
“I did more detective work than them,” Walkowiak said. “They never did anything on their own.”

City’s response
Wilkes-Barre Police Chief Robert Hughes was contacted through city spokeswoman Liza Prokop, who wrote in an Aug. 14 email: “This case is still an open investigation. Chief Hughes has no knowledge of or can confirm any such Facebook posting.”

NOTE: Leighton's appointmemts:
WB Chief Hughes who use to sell LAG's stolen cars at A1 Auto. 
Prokop: Taught classes  at YMCA

The impression Mike Merritt, Laurie Merritt’s ex-husband and chairman of the Wilkes-Barre city council, said he got from meeting with detectives the day after the fire was they did not want to hear what the family had to say. More than a year later, police have not made any progress in the case and Merritt said it’s because, “they guessed and they guessed wrong. “
He questioned whether police made any attempt to look at video from the Wilkes-Barre Area School District, whose Daniel J. Flood Elementary School is at the end of the block and wondered what they made of the notes left around the house.
“There are too many disconnects here,” he said.
The April 14, 2014 fire was not declared a crime scene, and a few days later police had to get search warrants to obtain call information from cell phones used by Merritt and Kosakowski.
State police deputy fire marshal Ron Jarocha was asked to investigate and arrived at the fire scene in the early morning hours of April 15 while firefighters were still on the scene.
Over the next month, he said, he and other members of the fire marshal’s unit conducted “a thorough investigation” that included burn tests before concluding the fire was intentionally set.
“It’s my opinion that someone went into the attic and set combustible materials on fire causing that fire,” he said Thursday.
His official determination announced on May 27, 2014, forced a review of the case because it contradicted the accidental death ruling from the county coroner.  
Merritt was pronounced dead at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital and an autopsy determined the cause of death was smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning. Salavantis scheduled meetings with investigators to review “the findings of all the agencies to determine how the different conclusions were reached and upon what information each was based.”
She has since asked the FBI to assist in the investigation, and Walkowiak said he spoke to them in July.
“I wrote down from day one who I talked to,” he said, adding he has an inch-thick book of notes.
Among those Walkowiak spoke with is a neighbor who told him she saw his sister crying after an argument with Kosakowski outside the house the day of the fire. The neighbor went over to Merritt who said, “Just pray for me,” Walkowiak said. “That night she was dead,” he said.
How and where Merritt was found in the attic crawl space and the location of a set of folding stairs that connected to the attic door further led the family to believe her death was not accidental.

Family members said Merritt was found on her back in the attic with her iPhone next to her and the fire was started at the opening approximately 10 feet away. Investigators have asked that the passcode for the iPhone be unlocked, the data be copied to a storage medium and the unlocked phone be returned to them.
Family’s theory
The work clothes Merritt went to retrieve were piled near the attic opening. The attic door was open and the folding steps were located in the basement to the side of the stairwell leading from the ground floor.
Nothing was disturbed in the house. The doors were locked and Merritt’s car was parked on the street, not in her usual spot in the driveway, leading family members to believe she was waiting for someone she knew.
Walkowiak said his sister worked that day, came home, faxed her taxes, cooked dinner and was preparing a room for painting for her son Mike, who was graduating from college. In her bedroom, she had bonds that were going to be cashed the next day on her day off. But, he said something else caught his attention; a handgun permit was filled out and left on a dresser.
“She was in fear,” Walkowiak said.
Merritt’s son joined other family members who found fault with the investigation.
“At the scene of the crime, my family was urging the Wilkes Barre Police Department that something wasn’t right, that they really need to investigate this fire. Coincidence only goes so far,” Michael J. Merritt wrote in an Aug. 14 email.
“The Wilkes Barre police didn’t think it was necessary. I mean really? To literally be told, ‘Hey something is up here,’ and not to look into it is neglect at its highest degree,” the son wrote
Police interviewed Kosakowski and he confirmed he spoke with Laurie Merritt the day of the fire. He called and spoke with her at approximately 7 p.m., according to paperwork filed to obtain a search warrant to verify his statements and the location of his cell phone when the calls were made and received.
According to paperwork: Kosakowski said he was at home when he missed a call from Merritt at 10:20 p.m. He returned her call and she told him she was going to the attic to get some things. Kosakowski said he received a call at approximately 11:31 p.m. from John Morris, a next door neighbor of Merritt, alerting him that her house was on fire.
Kosakowski told police he was at home when he got the call.
Rescue effort
Morris recalled another neighbor came to his house to alert him of the fire and, together, they rushed next door. The neighbor went to one side and banged on the windows while calling 911 and Morris, at the front door, dialed Merritt’s number with the hope she would answer and escape to safety.
“I could hear my voice through her answering machine,” Morris said.
In what he described as a “knee-jerk reaction,” Morris said he phoned Kosakowski, thinking he might know if there was a key stashed outside the house in case someone got locked out or in the event of an emergency. “I never thought to call her sister down the road,” Morris said.
“Knowing that she and Mr. Kosakowski were friendly over the years, they were a couple, if anybody knows of a spare key, he may,” Morris said. Kosakowski answered and told him to break down the door, Morris said. Kosakowski had done work for his family, Morris said, explaining how he had Kosakowski’s cell phone number.
The fire department arrived within a few minutes of the 911 call and broke down the door, Morris said. He did not go inside but saw firefighters with flashlights searching the first floor. Morris said he told a patrolman to check the attic where Merritt’s body was found.
The following day, he spoke to fire officials and told them what he did. Morris said he was not interviewed by police.
Burial arrangements
Merritt’s family requested that Morris, a funeral director, handle her funeral.
“Our family was more than humbled and honored to care for her,” he said. She was buried in the clothes she was wearing when she died, her U.S. Postal Service uniform.
A friend of Merritt’s recalled calling her approximately two hours before the fire was reported.
Ken Huhn said the two spoke for approximately 45 minutes before they ended their conversation at 9:30 p.m. with her promising to phone him the next day with a recipe for pork chops. Merritt told him, “I gotta go, Paul’s home,” Huhn said. He was certain of the time he hung up because he kept it on his cell phone.
He doubted Merritt would take her own life because he noticed nothing in her demeanor to indicate she was suicidal.
As did family members, Huhn dismissed any notion that Merritt kicked out the steps from the attic, saying it would have been too hard to do.
Police contacted him by phone about his call to Merritt and asked why he didn’t get in touch with them, Huhn said.
He could not recall the name of the detective he spoke with, but remembered being asked one question, “What was the last thing she said to you?” Huhn said she told him Paul was home because she must have seen his headlights in the driveway.
The conversation with the detective lasted a minute or two, he said. “A year and four months later, I still haven’t heard from any law enforcement,” Huhn said.

3 Wilkes-barre Policemen Charged In Theft, Bribery .


Google News
WILKES-BARRE - A preliminary hearing will be held June 9 for two wilkes-barre Township police officers arrested in connection with a six-month probe of ... Grencavage and Detective Paul Kosakowski were arrested and arraigned on Friday, ...


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