A Natrona County District Court judge ruled Monday that the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation will have to turn over records to the court as part of an ongoing lawsuit seeking the release of police documents related to the suicide of Mick McMurry and disappearance of Kristi Richardson.
However, Judge Thomas Sullins stopped short of releasing the documents to the public for now.
The ruling came after an hour-long hearing in which representatives of a Sheridan radio station sought Casper police records related to McMurry’s death and Richardson’s disappearance.
Medical authorities ruled McMurry’s 2015 death a suicide. Richardson disappeared three years ago. Her case remains unsolved despite a $250,000 reward offered by her family and her story being featured on national television.
The investigations were both turned over to DCI shortly after Interim Chief Steve Schulz took command of the Casper Police Department.
Because the investigations were turned over to the state agency, Sullins ruled that the Casper Police Department and Schulz should no longer serve as defendants in the case. Attorneys representing the radio station and DCI agreed that the local authorities should no longer be party to the case. Sullins said he would reconsider that decision if the investigations were returned to the Casper Police Department.
Wyoming Assistant Attorney General John Brodie, appearing by phone, argued that the cases were both “open and active investigations,” which had been under DCI’s purview for only four months. He said release of the records would compromise the investigations, and a privilege log requested by the petitioners could provide a “road map” showing how DCI would continue the investigation.
Sullins ruled that the privilege log, which would indicate why specific records were being withheld, was not required by state statute. He said he would ask the state agency to turn over all records from the Casper police investigations to the court for his review. Because the investigations are still open, the cases will continue to accumulate records.
Sullins said he would require DCI to relinquish only records that had been created before Casper police turned over the investigations this summer.
Casper police officials said in June there is not necessarily a connection between the two investigations and no new evidence suggesting there could be, despite rumors to the contrary.
The records will be due to the court within 30 days, and a status conference will come in the 30 days following that, Sullins said.