Maine police officer charged for lying about a missing person, search continues

A police officer in Maine has been accused of lying about a missing-person case and was subsequently charged with several crimes, including falsifying a report where he claimed to have taken the 39-year-old missing man to a hospital when he really took him to a convenience store, according to the Associated Press.

Washburn Police Sergeant Chandler Cole has reportedly resigned from his post after being charged with the following crimes: aggravated forgery, tampering with public records or information, falsifying physical evidence, and unsworn falsification.

Reports confirmed Cole was arrested on May 29.

Cole’s crimes came after a missing person appeared to be in distress while walking along a road on January 30. The former officer told Erik Foote’s parents that he took their child to the hospital. However, it was later revealed that Cole took Foote to a convenience store after hospital records confirmed that Foote never made it to the hospital.

The NY Daily News reported Foote has not yet been found, which has shaken the small town of 1,500 people. Another search party was put together to look for him over the weekend. It’s uncertain if the authorities have any leads in the case.

Reports noted that the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office has taken over the investigation. The small town is currently in the process of deciding whether or not to keep its police department.

Washburn’s police chief retired earlier this year, Cole resigned in February, and a young officer is working elsewhere now, according to Town Manager Donna Turner.

It is unclear why Cole lied about the whereabouts of Foote. The man’s mother, Brenda Foote, said: “There is no relief at this time because we still don’t have the answers as to why the officer lied repeatedly and would quit his job over it.”

Brenda went on to say that her son, who previously served in the U.S. Army in Iraq and Korea, suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. The Bangor Daily News reported Foote was also in poor physical health.

“He would give up his coat or last dollar for anyone in need and did so many times, throughout his life,” Brenda said. “He never met a stranger and called everyone his friend.”

She also mentioned that her son had not lived in Washburn very long, so he did not know many people in the area.

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