I don't know the particulars of this case. I am just addressing what I do know about
evidence. And, also, the fact that I think Rachel Lee is an honest and dedicated officer.
I took my daughter to meet her so that she could see that women were fully competent
to be police detectives if they wanted to and worked hard. Det. Lee was very gracious
and provided a good example. I think she is a good person to have available for cases
where women or children are victims (or witnesses) and who may feel uncomfortable
speaking with a male.
As for policy, I was only commenting on the practical facts of life. This work is difficult
and there are 'rules and regulations' for things. I am sure that if Sheriff is correct that
there may have been a policy on how to dispose of evidence. (ie, place into the evidence
room with a clear paper trail). That is critical for fungible evidence like drugs or such.
However, chain of custody is less rigid for non fungible items and in my experience it
is not uncommon for investigators to keep some items of evidence in their possession.
I am NOT saying that's preferred practice, but I don't recall a non fungible item being
kept out of evidence because the detective had kept it in his office.