Baroldy said Tryon told him that "he did not recall returning any cellular telephones in the investigation but may have told [evidence technician] Brannon it was OK to return cellular telephones based on the conversation with Sandler."

After the cell phones were returned, Hunter later obtained search warrants for the phones and their contents in an attempt to salvage the investigation.

However, there was nothing on the phones of value as evidence by that point, he tells New Times. As for what was obtained without warrants, he says it was of no legal use, either.

Still, much eyewitness testimony existed, as did the official statements of the suspect and others. And there was the simple fact that the victim was seriously intoxicated.

So Hunter recommended that the alleged assailant be charged with one count of sexual assault, a class-two felony.

As the images of the victim had been passed around to the alleged assailant and other football players, Hunter recommended that they be charged with sexual exploitation of a minor, also a class-two felony.

In the end, then-Pinal County Attorney Jim Walsh decided not to pursue any charges against the boys. However, the statement his office issued on December 17 read like a carefully worded swipe at the FPD.

"Prosecutors may only file criminal cases when they are able to prove all elements of a crime beyond a reasonable doubt," the statement read. "Based on the investigation conducted by the Florence Police Department, the office believes it would be unable to meet that burden of proof at trial."


Phoenix defense attorney Tim Linnins knows about small towns and sex crimes. As a former deputy county attorney in both Mohave and Coconino counties, he's prosecuted everything from sexual assault to child molestation to murder in places such as Kingman and Flagstaff.

He also served as an Arizona assistant attorney general, prosecuting organized crime cases and serious felony cases conflicted to the AG's Office.

When New Times describes Tryon's actions in the rape case to Linnins, he agrees they were problematic.

At minimum, Linnins says, there was "the appearance of impropriety" when it came to the lieutenant's ties to the football team and his involvement in the investigation.

"Having that officer involved . . . weakens the state's case," Linnins says.

Tryon, Linnins says, should have stayed away from the investigation.

"The suspect's on the football team, [Tryon's] son's on the football team," Linnins says. "That would have been enough [to disqualify him from the case]."

Linnins says working in a small town is no excuse. He says he has seen officers in small places remove themselves from investigations.

"If they were too close to something, they would dial out," he says.

As it is, such cases are an uphill battle, Linnins says.

In Arizona, minors cannot consent to sex. But in the Florence case, because both victim and suspect were within two years of each other, were under 18, and went to the same high school, age would not have been the issue under Arizona law. Particularly with a charge of sexual assault, which is not limited by the ages of the victim and suspect.

Rather, it would have come down to whether the alleged victim was too intoxicated to consent.

"It's basically a factual issue for the jury," he says.

The jury would scrutinize the victim's behavior, how she was walking, how she was talking. Sometimes, Linnins says, juries have a tendency to blame victims, particularly if they became intoxicated voluntarily.

Linnins says video and photos of the incident potentially can be a game changer in court when it comes to proving the victim was too intoxicated to consent.

But "it's going to depend on exactly what's on there," when it comes to cell phone photos and video, Linnins says.

If the detective "can produce evidence that would show how intoxicated" the victim was, then the evidence can help secure conviction.

It is only speculation to suggest what might have happened if Tryon had not returned the cell phones.

What is not speculation is what the girl endured at high school after the incident.

She was the object of harassment and cruel rumors.

"I was embarrassed not to know who did what to me," she tells New Times via e-mail, adding, "After all, I was still at school with these people. I could have been walking next to someone who saw me naked or had pictures of me on their phone, and I would not know it."

In hallways, students would call out to her, "Party at the flats," or worse. For a time, she did her school work in the principal's office. She transferred to another school for a semester but decided to return.

"I had a great relationship with my cheerleading coach and missed it very much," she says. "Most of the people involved were a year older than me and had graduated. So I felt comfortable going back."

Still, she recalls websites on which both students and parents would bash her, saying she "deserved it" and was "just a slutty cheerleader [who] wants attention" from the media. The opposite was true. Coverage of the incident in '07 by Phoenix TV stations terrified her.

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41 comments
racheljones10050
racheljones10050

People! Please watch the channel 12 investigative report on Police Chief Bob Ingulli leaving the Town of Kearny uncovered. AZPOST: Ingulli lied to the reporter. Check the record.

http://www.azcentral.com/video/#/News/Shipman+fire+triggers+questions+about+public+safety

Walt Hunter sits in the Detective office with Jarris Varnrobinson for 3 years after this investigation closes without saying a word. Chief Robert Ingulli approves the original report. Now suddenly they are all three fired, and everyone is super cop. Bob Ingulli hired Terry Tryon as his Sergeant and then his Lieutenant after testing results led to other applicants. Why did Chief Bob want Terry so bad as his lieutenant? Chief Robert Ingulli promoted officer Klix to Detective. Chief Igulli was the one who changed the promotion rules to allow him to promote officer Scott Morris to Sergeant after only one year at the department. Now Chief Bob Ingulli is running around delivering this article to his "supporters" in Florence. The same "supporters who did not vote for him in the Sheriff's election. Those of you who know, you know.

king181465
king181465

you all are full of so much shit I really hope ur life kills u slow and in so much pain wat a bunch of low life people wit no lifes get a life and focus on ur lifr instead of others

palelittlechicken
palelittlechicken

I don't buy it. 

Sounds like a dick issue. Or a whitepeacock slave-ish mentality.


simmonee
simmonee

Great story! Can't wait for part 3.

fbiguy86
fbiguy86

If I were Mayor Tom Rankin, I'd be shitting a sahuaro!

Jukes
Jukes

This article is stomach-wrenchingly hideous.  But I thank Phoenix New Times for covering it when new outlets with far more resources have looked the other way.  The Federal Justice Department needs to expand its work to Pinal County. 

hurricaneric
hurricaneric moderator

Via voicemail:

From:  Reverend Oscar Tillman, head of the Maricopa County NAACP.

Having spent 23 years in law enforcement, retired as a law enforcement superintendent, I really appreciate Monica Alonzo and Stephen Lemons for what they are doing on the Florence Police deal.

It's 2013, nearly 2014, and we're still dealing with stuff that I grew up with in the deep south, in Lemons' Territory, in the 40s and 50s, and we're still seeing that type of corruption going on.

I really truly thank you for those articles. All I can say is, keep up the good work the New Times has done for my 28 years here.


FlorenceStudent00
FlorenceStudent00

The next investigation needs to be the Florence School District. Starting with the suspension and return of Mrs. Valencia, the head coach of the varsity cheer team, and her inappropriate behavior with her male students

FlorenceGrad
FlorenceGrad

I was a junior at Florence the year of the Flats party.  Your story only tells a little about that mess.  Officer Tryon is married to Mr. Jimenez's sister.  The football player is the nephew of the Principal who lead the investigation?  The cheercoach is Mr. Jimenez's daughter.  The one cheerleader who assisted is the oldest daughter of a board member.  The Athletic Director at the time, later got fired for send pictures of his penis to the boardmember, the mother of the cheerleader.  The cheerleader used to brag about how her mother was dating  the  MARRIED Athletic Director.  Mr. Brannon's wife used to be a helper at school, but he got fired.  She will not tell us why.

G Paul Hudak
G Paul Hudak

C'mon guys, why in the world would a police department be required to investigate a crime? Cut them some slack.

eric.nelson745
eric.nelson745 topcommenter

I cannot understand how any investigator, no matter how naive or incompetent, would believe Kemp's story.

kessieb
kessieb

What amazes me is that Kemp's wife stays with the scumbag who detectives and a prosecutor say killed her sweet, little child.

hurricaneric
hurricaneric moderator

Via e-mail feedback:

SUBJECT:
Great Story!
 

Again, great story, "How Florence Police Sabotaged Investigations of a Child's Slaying and of a Teen's Rape".  Keep up the good work!


Laurie Ann Hunter
Lincoln California

scott14nx05y
scott14nx05y

Whores have sex.  Drunk whores get raped and have sex.  Why should I care?  The girl is obviously a whore.  She is 22 with 2 kids and two different baby daddies.  No one forced her to go there and drink.  She totally got what she deserved.  I only wish there had been better video of it for me to see. 

InjusticeForAll
InjusticeForAll

Please visit the page: http://www.Facebook.com/InjusticeToAll

and join us on Twitter: @InjusticeToAll

Please share this with your friends, family and those that want to end the corruption and scandal within the Town of Florence... aka the hub of law enforcement within Pinal County. Get the Justice Department to intervene!

Pamela
Pamela

I still think a similar investigation at Arizona US Marshal's office, US Marshall David Gonzales would be enlightening!  I wonder what his "close friend" (tee-hee-hee) at KPHO TV5 would think?  I am amazed how close of "friends" they have become.  Tee-hee-hee!

martindee123
martindee123

That poor little boy! II wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I were Lieutenant aTryon and

Detective Klix. And when you stand by and let your son's friends abuse a young girl, you're no man at all.

dogbiter
dogbiter

Great story! A couple of people need to go to jail, but will they? In Arizona and especially in Pinal County, it's doubtbul. I pray the feds are watching.

InjusticeForAll
InjusticeForAll

@racheljones10050 Ms. Jones or Mrs. Tryon; whatever your real name maybe,  you have made several factual errors in your statement. I guess who you actually are doesn't really matter, but don't rely on rumors, know the areas you are speaking about! 

1st: The fire incident you speak of did not occur within the town limits of Kearny,  this occurred within Pinal County Sheriff's Office jurisdiction (please review jurisdictional boundary maps). Kearny Police Department had an officer that was actually the first responder on scene, and provided the responding Deputies with the equipment they needed to secure the area. The Town of Florence even has area that is classified by zip code as Florence, but is within the jurisdiction of the Pinal County Sheriff.  (Again please review jurisdictional boundary maps, as I have done!)

2nd: Detective Varnrobinson wasn't in the Detectives unit when the desert rape occurred. If I remember correctly he wasn't a Detective until April 2008. 

3rd: Based on court documents, hearing documents and town documents, Detective Hunter made his initial complaint on Tryon as soon as he found out about the evidence being given away. This complaint and the next were ignored by then Town Manager Himanshu Patel, whom was recently fired by Pinal County,  just as he ignored complaints against Tryon which was made by another detective, a couple sergeants and several members of the patrol staff. 

4th: Tryon reviewed and signed off on the report of the desert rape not Ingulli. Wouldn't you say that was a conflict of interest, being Tryon was related to and personal friends with several persons involved with and associated to this travesty? 

5th: Tryon was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant at the insistence of Patel. Due to numerous  written reprimands which showed Tryon to be incompetent in the position, Ingulli  attempted to demote him but once again he was protected by Patel. Tryon graduating with just a GED and no formal college education does not meet the standard qualifications, upheld by most every police agency in Arizona, necessary to hold the position of Lieutenant, even after completing a 'simple' ten week command school, which is not equal to any degree given by an accredited university.  All of this verifiable, so please take the time to verify, as I have done and the New Times. 

What is notable is that you never deny that Tryon gave away evidence which constitutes felonies on his part. In summary, you can attempt to convolute the issue by talking about a fire, or when a formal complaint was made or when Sgt. Morris was promoted; none of it diminishes the fact Lt. Tryon committed several felonies and Det. Klix botched several serious investigations all which were ignored by the former and current administration of the Town of Florence. 


If you have any other statements or questions, please don't hesitate to visit my personal facebook page SeekJusticeArizona, or even visit my just cause page under InjusticeToAll. I care about my Town of Florence, which is 'Our' Town of Florence, and allegations of the nature presented by any media source should be taken seriously and investigated, without the interference of the Florence 'Good Ol' Boys'! 
-I, Seek Justice

JusticeWaiting
JusticeWaiting

@racheljones10050 First of all your information is not correct.  Ingulli did not want Tryon promoted.  In fact, Terry cried to town hall after he got word he asnt going to be promoted, and then all of the sudden, BAM hes promoted.  Town manager Patel made that decision, not ingulli.  Patel took most if not all power away because he wanted the control over what happened, possible due to Rankins influence.  Klix was promoted to detective because nobody else wanted the position or tested.  In fact when klix tested she was beat ou by Lewis.  He was promoted then Kilx was placed into the division once a thrid spot was opened.  Ingulli went down the order of scoring, she did not score very well but was still second.  Many more facts I do not care to discuss but you are not correct in your information, I can promise you that.  Tryon is a dirty cop and will alwasy be

jstone
jstone

@FlorenceStudent00 Everybody knows that was a lie.  Mrs. V was targeted by one of her own cheerleaders who didnt get her way.  That cheerleader should be ashamed of herself.  She has since graduated.

JusticeWaiting
JusticeWaiting

@FlorenceGrad Youre facts about certain relationships are correct, however Mr. Brannon did nothing wrong in this matter, he only followed directions.  Not sure why you felt it necessary to mention him at all when it seems you are trying to put more dirt on the Tryons.  The girls mother was not dating the athletic director either.  Your facts should be in order before you speak.  Yes, my facts are in order and I know tons more about this than you ever could.

Jukes
Jukes

@G Paul Hudak Yes, it sounds to me like they see their job as covering up crimes, not investigating them. 

JusticeWaiting
JusticeWaiting

@scott14nx05y You sir are a complete idiot.  How about you meet me somewhere and you can get what you deserve.  No girl deserve this and she was fed alcohol by these morons with no class.

kessieb
kessieb

Now here's an enlightened comment from a future inmate of the Arizona Department of Corrections. Guess the name of the rapist New Times decided not to use in the story is yours, eh? Squeal like a stuck pig, scumbag! We all know who you are.

Jukes
Jukes

@MaskedMagician1967 It sounds worse.  I doubt this many MCSO employees are related to the criminals they're investigating (to use a term loosely).  Although I suspect their desire to cover up situations that would cause them a lot of work or bring negative attention to the community is equally zealous. 

martindee123
martindee123

What's David Gonzalez got to do with this, stupid? Doubt he's done anything remotely as bad as this, tee hee...

tucker.tom74
tucker.tom74

@dogbiter I doubt the feds care.  Could you imagine if they had to investigate every little corrupt and incompetent police department in AZ?  They would actually have to work and the political fallout would be too much.  I'm glad the folks at the New Times have the courage to address stories like this.  Maybe Dustin and that poor teen will get some justice at some point. 

JusticeWaiting
JusticeWaiting

@InjusticeForAll @racheljones10050 What is also forgotten and not mentioned is how Klix and Tryon covered up the tehft of a church bell, stolen by a former police employee who happens to be Kilx's best friend.  None of htis was ever mentioned, why not?  Point is Tryon, Klix, Hughes, Morris, and a few others are dirty as hell and they need to be dealt with.  Rankin has controlled this town for way too long, council memebrs adn town folk are scared shitless of the man.  I dont see why, hes a skinny pencil neck twig with no backbone.  Unfortunately his dear wife who is as lovely as can be is affected by this mess.

jjcban123
jjcban123

@jstone @FlorenceStudent00 It wasn't a lie. I witnessed texts between Nick Brown and Mrs. Valencia. It's not like it was the first time she had been inappropriate with a male student anyway. Lucky for her, her daddy is in charge and easily made this "lie" go away

Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

@JusticeWaiting @scott14nx05y 

Don't waste your time Justice... Scott will end up in jail shortly with that attitude and he will then find out first hand what a 'deserved rape' is


MaskedMagician1967
MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

Jukes, it wouldn't surprise me to find out that a lot of MCSO employees are bad. Some of them are professionals who want to do their job and make it home to their families.

I believe Maricopa and Pinal Counties need to be put in receivership.

fbiguy86
fbiguy86

I'm not so sure about that... Easy pickins for them in Florence.

 
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