The Mayor of Memphis, AC Wharton, referred me to his Director of Police Toney Armstrong (who is out of the office this week), and from Armstrong’s office I was referred to Major Polk, the head of investigative services. He did not seem very eager to speak to us or to follow up on the information we are offering, but he did promise that he would speak to his boss and to the prosecutor’s office.
He said he wouldn’t even promise to contact Stephen, who has firsthand knowledge of, and contact with, the mysterious informant I have been calling Deep Throat.
I tried to sweeten the appeal by telling him that this morning Stephen went to the public library to download a file from his e-mail that Deep Throat had told him would be out there. It wasn’t. Instead, there was a tap on Stephen’s shoulder and Deep Throat was there in the flesh. He is a middle aged white guy with a crew cut who speaks with a thick foreign accent. Deep Throat asked Stephen to accompany him to his car, where he showed Stephen two thick files of photographs and credit card receipts. The photographs were of Noah and Micah Scheulin at a young age performing sex acts on men for the camera. Stephen estimates there were at least fifty such images, maybe more. Some of the credit card receipts had Noah’s and Mica’s dad’s name on them. They were together ten minutes.
The police major did not seem impressed. “Can’t you offer me anything more concrete?” he asked.
“Hell, I’m getting this information secondhand. You need to speak directly with Stephen Sydebotham. He saw the photographs with his own eyes. He met the informant in person. If you don’t follow up on this lead, it’s going to look very bad. This is going to blow up into a very big story.”
“It was a big story when it happened. A terrible crime was committed against a 23-month-old baby girl,” he said. “Prindle was found guilty by a jury.”
“Sure, a jury that was not given the facts by a lawyer that’s flipped on us. And yes, I’m sure it was a big story locally based on the seriousness of the crime. But now you’re about to send an innocent kid off to prison for it.
“There are credible allegations that someone else is boasting he did the crime and that Prindle is going to be serving the time. The fact you’re unwilling to even look at this information will be a big story, and the Memphis Police Department is not going to look good in all of this,” I said.
Bottom line, police Major Polk didn’t even ask the name of the suspect. I told him we had the names of people the suspect has been talking to, but Polk didn’t ask for them either. I told him a lot of the people in this case are connected in weird ways, but he didn’t ask about that. For a man in charge of investigative services, he didn’t seem very curious. I got the distinct impression he just didn’t want to know. Major Polk hasn’t called back.
I called the mayor’s office and reported all this so the mayor can’t say he didn’t know how his police are handling this.
A whole day lost. Only one more day to go until sentencing.
Groove of the Day