Bloomington PD chief responds to detective's remarks


NEW YORK - A former New York City police detective had some harsh words for the chief of the Bloomington Police Department.

Richard "Beau" Dietl is currently a private eye and a local television personality in New York. He is a weekly guest on "Good Day New York," a New York City television station program.

During a Friday morning segment, Dietl disclosed that his team of detectives has been in Bloomington investigating the Lauren Spierer missing persons case.

Dietl says he's been trying to help the family find "their little girl."

Lauren Spierer, a fashion major from Westchester, New York, was last seen the morning of June 3 while walking home alone after a night of partying at a Bloomington bar. Since then, the community, volunteers and local police have conducted searches around the apartment complex where she was last seen, in the wooded areas near Bloomington and even in a Terre Haute landfill. But four month later, there is still no sign of the college junior.

When asked about cooperation between local police and his investigators, Dietl replied, "I thought I was talking to Gomer Pyle out there."

"I met with the chief and all I gotta say is, thank God for New York City detectives," Dietl said.

As for the case itself and why Spierer disappeared, Dietl believes drug use is to blame.

"The thing that takes me off my feet is the drug use that is down there," he said. "The drug usage on this campus has a direct effect, I believe, to her being missing at this time.

"This is a Big Ten school. Kids walk around like 'Night of the Living Dead.'"

He told the hosts of the show he didn't want to reveal too much about what he's found in the case, but that any evidence he uncovers will be turned over to authorities.

Sunday evening, Spierer's father Robert told Eyewitness News his family supports the efforts of Bloomington police in the search for their daughter.

"Charlene and I want the people of Bloomington, Bloomington Police Department, in particular Chief Diekhoff, to know that we don't agree with or support the disparaging remarks that were made by Beau Dietl and Bloomington police have our full support and confidence and it was fortunate to have been embraced by the Bloomington community and we've had support and cooperation of the police and school since the first day of Lauren's disappearance," he said.

Bloomington Police Chief Michael Diekhoff released the following statement as a reply to Dietl's comments:

"At their request, a meeting took place with Beau and two of his other investigators at the department. They introduced themselves as retired New York City police officers that were hired by the Spierers to privately investigate Lauren's disappearance. Beau wanted to "partner" with our department and wanted us to share details of the police investigation. They were told that was not possible for a variety of reasons. First, Lauren's disappearance remains an ongoing, open investigation. As such, it is necessary that pertinent information is not revealed in order to maintain the integrity of the investigation as any and all information is explored. Second, it would be unethical and contrary to standard police practice for a police department to "partner" with and provide information to a private agency. Third, it was evident from the discussion that at least part of their intention was to harass certain individuals. Obviously, that it is not something that our department can sanction. And, in fact, we have already received complaints that individuals have been harassed by at least one of Beau's private investigators. Finally, our department is as committed, as Beau professes to be, in finding Lauren. However, unlike Beau and his other private investigators, we will continue conducting our investigation by following the law and using proper police procedures. In that way, when Lauren is found, there will be no impediment to there being justice for Lauren and her family.

"Quite frankly, I was a little surprised that Beau, as a retired police officer, wasn't aware of the impropriety of a police department sharing investigatory information with a private agency. Instead, he seemed annoyed that our department was not willing to "partner' with him and share all of our files with him. In addition, Beau and his investigators also contacted the FBI and other police agencies that have been assisting our department with this case, making the same request for information about the police investigation. Those agencies also refused to provide Beau with the information for the same reasons I have cited above. As he did not get the information he came seeking, I can only surmise that is the reason he described me as "Gomer Pyle". I don't agree with that characterization, but to use a time honored phrase, maybe that is how they do things in New York. At any rate, he is entitled to his opinion. And, for what it's worth....I've been called worse."