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Phoenix Police Ask Public To Help Find Officer's Killer

Phoenix Police Ask Public To Help Find Officer's Killer

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Arizona Daily Star

October 21, 2010

PHOENIX – After two days of an extensive ongoing investigation that involves some of the most experienced homicide detectives working around the clock, Phoenix police are no closer to explaining how a patrol sergeant ended up dead alongside his squad vehicle in an alley near an open industrial lot.

With limited physical evidence and witnesses, Phoenix police are asking the public’s help to provide tips that could lead to an arrest in the fatal shooting of Sgt. Sean Drenth.

The department is treating Drenth’s death as a homicide, and investigators said they refuse to rule anything out.

However, investigators declined Wednesday to release details on the weapon used in Drenth’s slaying, the position of the sergeant’s body or any timeline of the events leading up to his death.

Investigators with the Phoenix Police Violent Crimes Bureau said they couldn’t discuss any details to preserve the crime scene.

Revealing specifics on the position of Drenth’s body, or the type of gunshot wound, could prevent detectives from separating potential suspects from false confessors during later interrogations.

“We understand people are frustrated, we understand people want answers,” said Sgt. Trent Crump, the department spokesman handling the Drenth case.

“That is tough, when all you have is the scene.”

The case could be presented through Silent Witness as soon as today in an effort to get tips from the public.

With few or no eyewitnesses, detectives hoped to glean information from others who might have seen or heard something related indirectly to the case.

Police leaders said local organizations have discussed offering an undisclosed amount of money to help provide a higher reward for information that could help detectives solve the case.

Drenth was found shot to death around 10:45 p.m. Monday in an open industrial lot near Jackson Street and 19th Avenue. He was on patrol, though Crump said he was neither writing a report in his vehicle nor responding to an emergency call.

His fellow officers lost radio contact with him between 10 and 11 p.m. His body was later discovered by Arizona Capitol police in an alley near the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

Investigators were still looking at early forensics results, and the Maricopa County medical examiner’s report on Drenth’s death is still listed as “open and pending,” according to the office.

Phoenix Public Safety Manager Jack Harris met with Drenth’s widow and other relatives on Wednesday.

“Obviously they’re upset,” Harris said.

“They’re concerned. They’re grieving. It’s an especially difficult time for them and we have a large team over there and supporters trying to help the family through this.”

The chief said some of the homicide detectives assigned to the Drenth case were experienced veterans who worked on past serial-killer cases.

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