Lawrence and Douglas County

Lawrence and Douglas county

Police waited nearly 18 hours to announce homicide, missing woman

January 20, 2014


Delays in obtaining a search warrant, and a wait for KBI crime scene investigators to arrive, caused the Lawrence Police Department to wait nearly 18 hours before notifying the public about the disappearance of a Lawrence woman who may be linked to the city's latest homicide, according to police officials.

Harold M. Sasko, 52, who owned a CiCi's Pizza franchise in Lawrence and two others in Topeka, was found dead in his home shortly after 11 p.m. Friday. Police were called to the home in the 2900 block of West 26th Street to check on the status of a 19-year-old woman whose parents had been reported her missing.

Police did not release information to the public about it until after 4:30 p.m. Saturday, nearly 18 hours after the report.

When asked to explain the delay, police spokesman Sgt. Trent McKinley told the Journal-World that officers initially entered the home without a warrant. After discovering Sasko's body, they needed to contact the District Attorney's office to obtain a warrant to conduct a thorough search.

He also said officers were in "a holding pattern for quite a while," waiting for crime scene technicians from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to arrive.

McKinley said police typically release information about crimes involving public safety when they need the public's help gathering information. But in this case, he said, police do not know what role McLinn may have had in the homicide, and they had no specific information to release before Saturday afternoon.

Police have said Sasko suffered traumatic injuries. Following an autopsy conducted Saturday, police have not released information about the cause or estimated time of death.

As of today, police are still looking for McLinn, who may be traveling in a dark gray or blue 2008 Nissan Altima four-door car with a Kansas “In God We Trust” license tag, number AK149.

Stephen Montemayor contributed to this report.


Bob Forer 4 years, 4 months ago

I see nothing wrong with the delay. Even though they may not have needed a search warrant to protect themselves from claims of Fourth Amendment violations in any subsequent murder prosecution, it always pays to be on the safe side by obtaining a wartrant.

As far as the missing young woman, if she is also a victim, I doubt the delay had impact on finding her alive. If something bad has happened to her (and let's hope not), then the delay in releasing the information to the public is minimall, if at all.

If she is complicit in the murder, II don't think the delay threatened the public safety. Apparently, she also lived in the home, and thus was well acquainted with the victim. Under those circumstances, her animus towards the victim does not extend to the general public.

Sounds like the police made a very reasonable judgment call under the circumstances.

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