Officer’s Lies Discovered, Search for Missing Man Continues

( – A police officer in Washburn, Maine was arrested on March 29th and charged with multiple crimes including falsifying a report and forging evidence related to a missing persons case.

Erik Foote, a 39-year-old resident of Washburn, Maine was last seen walking alone and appeared to be “distressed” on January 30th when Washburn Police Sergeant Chandler Cole allegedly interacted with him. Foote was reported missing on February 6th.

The Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation into the case and concluded that Cole lied about his interaction with Foote. Cole told Foote’s parents he had interacted with Foote and then took him to a local hospital. The Sheriff’s Department determined Cole’s original report said Foote was taken to a convenience store but then altered to support the hospital story. There are no hospital records to support Cole’s retelling of events.

Foote is still missing and the small community of Washburn has organized a new search party to continue the hunt since Washburn currently has no police department. According to Town Manager Donna Turner, the town’s police chief, Cyr Martin retired earlier this year, Cole resigned in February and another younger police officer is currently working elsewhere. The Aroostook County Sheriff’s Department is providing temporary coverage for the town of Washburn.

The town’s previous Chief of Police, Doug Conroy, retired on November 30th, 2023. Conroy began his career in law enforcement at the Caribou Police Department in 1987 before taking the job as Chief of Police in Washburn in 2000. During his last day in office, Conroy recalled being the first child abuse investigator for the CPD and D.A. Neale Adams asking him about his success in gaining confessions. According to Conroy, he took a more “easy-going” approach by explaining to suspects how telling the truth “now” would help to “clear their conscience” and make things easier in court.

Residents of Washburn will vote in June on whether to close the police department or hire new personnel.

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