Margaret Spearow Cline
Genevieve Spearow Helmer
To the Editor:
On November 1, 2013, The Standard published our letter regarding the cancellation of the 95th Anniversary Celebration of the Clifford Spearow Family farm at 1100 E and 2705 N. We were forced to cancel that event due to the theft that occurred on our property in March 2012. Sadly, despite our hopes for a just resolution of this case, we have been disappointed. Individuals went into the north words and cut saleable logs. They used a large tractor to pull them out to an open field. They did a lot of damage to our paths, roads, endangered species, and wetlands. The logs were removed on a flatbed on the roadway south. It was reported to us that there were two different loads seen being removed. Many logs remain in the woods and open field. No contract or permission was given to these individuals to cut timber or to be on the property at any time.
After reporting the theft two years ago we have made attempts to speak in person with the legal authorities of LaGrange County. In fact, we have never been interviewed personally by the investigating officer who was put in charge of this case. Our only personal contact was two years ago when we spent about 20 minutes speaking with a detective, who at that point knew nothing of the case and was not able to assist us in this matter.
The law has not been on our side since the beginning over two years ago. We believe the investigation of the matter was mishandled and not followed through. The incomplete officer’s report was sent to the prosecutor without all the people involved questioned. In the report the officer stated that he would be in contact with a primary individual alleged to be involved with the theft. However, the investigating officer never contacted this person and an incomplete officer’s report was sent to the prosecutor’s office. Intentions to follow up were forgotten and the prosecutor then sent us a letter informing us of the name of an attorney familiar with this area of law and advising us to pursue the matter in a civil suit. We retained that attorney in November. New evidence was found by us and our attorney and we asked the prosecutor to open the case and he refused.
This has been a great expense to us, lots of involvement ourselves, time, and anxiety. We now know where the logs were taken. These individuals received money at least several weeks for the logs before we even knew they were in our woods and they admit their guilt and it was a no, no.
Since then we have worked hard to try to bring the full facts of this case to the attention of law enforcement. We remain very dissatisfied with the unfair way we have been treated and ignored, and the way this case has been handled by the elected officials who are responsible to enforce the law and achieve justice for the citizens of LaGrange County.