Cop Charged With Lying in Missing-Person Case

Former Maine officer allegedly changed records after making false claim to man's father
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2024 5:20 PM CDT
Cop Charged With Lying in Missing-Person Case
The Aroostook County Sheriff's Office released this undated photo of Erik Foote.   (Aroostook County Sheriff's Office)

A former police officer in Maine is facing multiple charges connected to the alleged falsification of information about his interactions with a missing man. Court records show that former Washburn officer Chandler Cole was arrested March 29 and charged with aggravated forgery, tampering with public records or information, falsifying physical evidence, and unsworn falsification, the Bangor Daily News reports. According to court records, Cole is believed to be the last person to have seen 39-year-old Erik Foote alive, WGAM reports. Foote was reported missing on Feb. 6. Cole is accused of altering records about his interactions with Foote on Jan. 30.

According to court records, Cole's initial report said he picked up Foote on a road in Washburn after reports of a man who was "hysterical, distressed, and displaying signs of having mental health issues," WGAM reports. He said Foote seemed depressed but unlikely to harm himself or others. Investigators said Cole's report stated that he dropped off Foote at Freshies gas station in Presque Isle—but he later used the dispatch system to change it to say he had taken him to the Presque Isle hospital. Investigators said the record was changed on Feb. 6, the day Foote's father contacted police to ask about his son. Hospital staff told Foote's parents that he had never been there.

Washburn Police Chief Cyr Martin said an investigation was launched after discrepancies in Cole's report were noticed, the Daily News reports. He said police hired a private investigator, but Cole refused to meet with the man on Feb. 23 and resigned days later. Foote remains missing, and another search party was organized over the weekend, USA Today reports. Aroostook County Sheriff Peter Johnson says Cole's arrest hasn't provided any new leads in the case. (More Maine stories.)

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