I am writing in response to William De La Torre and Susan K. Imperatrice’s open letters, both referencing the Tim Salazar case. Their articles were published in the Aug. 15, edition of the Arizona Silver Belt and Copper Country News and both suggest that the investigations into Mr. Salazar’s death were not thorough; and that Mr. Salazar’s family believes that his death was absolutely a homicide and that they know who the murderer(s) are.
I understand that part of the healing process involving the death of a beloved family member is trying to make sense of the circumstances surrounding the death. A family’s first reaction is: How could this be true? Why did it happen? It just isn’t right. Who is responsible? I feel very badly for their loss and understand their pain. I have suffered that in my own family. As a result of their pain, they insisted on follow-up investigations and their requests have been accommodated.
There were six investigations in this particular case by three separate law enforcement agencies: Gila County Sheriff’s Office did two investigations; Arizona Department of Public Safety did three; and the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training did one. During those investigations, more than two dozen professional and experienced criminal investigators were involved. All came to the same conclusion that no evidence existed pointing to foul play.
DPS even conducted a polygraph examination on one of those thought by the family to be involved. According to the results by the professional polygrapher, that subject was truthful and had no involvement or knowledge in Tim Salazar’s death.
At this point, thousands of hours have been expended in these investigations costing a considerable amount of taxpayers’ money and resources by these agencies. The county attorney’s office has reviewed these investigations and there is no one to prosecute. There is absolutely no evidence that anyone was involved in Mr. Salazar’s death.
It was an accidental or unexplained death and that does not change anything in the uniform crime reports to the F.B.I. as Mr. De La Torre suggests.
It is time for the family to stop “shooting the messenger” because they cannot establish the results they want and, absent any concrete leads, to accept the conclusions of the above agencies’ investigations. Guarantees established by the United States Constitution do not allow citizens to be prosecuted without just cause.
Sheriff John Armer