Sheriff questions need for investigation

by Howard Applegate
    The bones of Charles Sevigny LaFontaine are contained in a cardboard box on a shelf in the evidence room of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office. Whether or not that will remain his resting place for long was the subject of debate between our own Sheriff Sweet and local community leaders.
    Although LaFontaine’s remains were found in a dry gulch in Wilbur County, the bones are in temporary custody of Deschutes County. Because Wilbur County has no forensic facilities, the remains were sent to Bend in March to be identified. But further forensics investigation will cost Wilbur County plenty, according to Sheriff Sweet.
    “Investigating an old case like this may not be feasible,” Sheriff Sweet commented at a recent Wilbur County Business Association (WCBA) meeting. “Too much time has passed, everyone involved is old or dead. I don’t see how we can ever find out what happened.”
    Most present were in agreement, including Vernon Van Bibber, one of Germaine’s longest living residents, and the only one present who actually met LaFontaine.
    “It would be a waste of tax dollars, and county resources. It might cost this community more than it can afford,” Van Bibber stated.
    Others disagreed.
    “He was murdered, and he deserves our best effort to find out how that happened, just like we would do for anyone else,” Harlan McCoy stated.
    Several of those present supported McCoy’s position, but Sheriff Sweet refused to say whether or not he would involve his office in further investigation.

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