UPDATE: Sheriff-elect amid investigation resigns as police officer; Roane Commission discusses options

(WSAZ)
Published: Nov. 29, 2016 at 3:57 PM EST
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UPDATE 12/13/16 @ 11:59 p.m.

ROANE COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A man, voted into office as sheriff in Roane County, has resigned from his job as a police officer in the city of Spencer.

Matthew "Bo" Williams is still under investigation by state police, related to a case of missing evidence.

His great uncle, Mayor Terry Williams, says Bo resigned from SPD Monday.

But county officials say Williams has not yet resigned from his position as sheriff-elect.

Tuesday night marked the county commission's first meeting since the investigation started.

County officials also say it was their first chance to all meet with county Prosecutor Joshua Downey to explore their options, which they did in executive session.

Afterward, commissioners told the audience that, by law, they cannot take any current action because the investigation relates to a case that began before Williams took office.

Williams' term is scheduled to begin Jan. 1, 2017.

Between now and then, Commission President Melissa O'Brien says the easiest conclusion would be a resignation letter.

Otherwise commissioners will have to decide whether or not they want to try to remove Williams through a court system and would only be able to do so if any problems persist into his term.

County officials say it's unclear whether the investigation, in itself, would count as problems spilling over into his term.

They say Williams could be removed if the investigation results in him being convicted of a felony. But, right now, he is not to the point of being charged with a felony.

"We could wait on criminal charges and just see how that plays out," O'Brien said. "Or we could start the resolution process of removing the sheriff-elect from office."

The commission's final meeting before the end of the calendar year is scheduled for Dec. 27.

State police in Wirt County are handling the investigation.


UPDATE 12/2/16 @ 5:32 p.m.

SPENCER, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Roane County Commissioners say the Sheriff-Elect has yet to submit a resignation letter for the position.

Commission President Melissa O'Brien says Matthew Williams has not resigned from the Sheriff-Elect position.

Spencer Police Chief Gregory Nichols confirmed to WSAZ on Thursday that Williams has been placed on leave from his officer duties due to an internal investigation.

According to a letter from Mayor Terry Williams, the Spencer Police department is currently under investigation for missing criminal evidence. West Virginia State Police are assisting in that investigation.

O'Brien says if commission receives a letter of resignation from Williams then they will hold a special meeting. They already have a pre-planned meeting on Dec. 13.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for updates.


UPDATE 12/1/16 @ 8:51 p.m.

SPENCER, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The police chief in Spencer has confirmed the name of the officer who is on leave pending an internal investigation.

Chief Greg Nichols told WSAZ Thursday evening after the Spencer City Council meeting that Officer Matthew Williams is the department member on leave.

Tuesday, WSAZ reported that the department has launched an internal investigation into missing evidence from criminal cases being investigated by the Spencer Police Department.

On Monday, the Roane County prosecutor told WSAZ that the officer who was on leave in the city of Spencer Police Department is Matthew Williams, who is also the sheriff-elect in Roane County.

The city of Spencer requested an outside agency conduct a formal investigation into the matter.

West Virginia State Police confirmed Wednesday that the Roane County prosecutor requested the investigation and that a trooper from outside Roane County has been assigned to handle the case.

In a statement to WSAZ Thursday night West Virginia Sheriff's Association Executive Director Rodney Miller said:

"The West Virginia Sheriffs Association is learning details as they become available in the press and have no case details to know what direction it may take. The Association will be available to work with the incoming sheriff to help them operate a professional organization for the citizens of Roane County."


UPDATE 11/30/16 @ 5:04 p.m.

SPENCER, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- West Virginia State Police has assigned someone outside of Roane County to conduct an investigation into the City of Spencer Police Department.

According to a release on Tuesday from Mayor Terry Williams, the investigation is the result of ascertaining that evidence collected in certain criminal investigations was missing.

In a statement Wednesday, WVSP says they were recently contacted by the Roane County Prosecutor's Office to investigate possible misconduct with Spencer Police.

Since this is an ongoing investigation, State Police are not releasing any other information.

The City of Spencer says they will fully cooperate with the outside investigation.

WSAZ is working to reach out to Williams for a comment.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for updates.


ORIGINAL STORY 11/29/16 @ 3:57 p.m.

SPENCER, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The City of Spencer Police Department has started an internal investigation concerning missing evidence.

According to a release from Mayor Terry Williams, the investigation is the result of ascertaining that evidence collected in certain criminal investigations was missing.

Based upon information that the investigation has elicited, a City of Spencer police officer has been placed upon administrative leave, according to the release.

The mayor says contact has been made with an outside police agency to conduct a formal investigation relative to the alleged actions of the police officer.

The outside agency will determine whether any criminal laws of the State of West Virginia have been violated and whether or not prosecution is warranted.

The City of Spencer says they will fully cooperate with the outside investigation.

Keep checking WSAZ Mobile and WSAZ.com for updates.