DES MOINES, Iowa - The special prosecutor reviewing the case of a Clive man who drowned while in the custody of a Missouri State High Patrol trooper has asked to be removed from the case citing a conflict.
In this story
- Special prosecutor reopened the case four months after initial investigation
- Prosecutor claims Missouri State Patrol official blackmailed her citing a previous investigation
- New special prosecutor appointed to look in to the case
“The information that they gave me put things in a different perspective,” said Grellner.
Then, last week, Grellner asked to be removed from the case, citing a conflict of interest. An email obtained by Channel 13 News indicates that conflict arose from a situation involving Grellner’s son three years ago. The email makes reference to Sgt. Randy Henry of the MHP, who initially interviewed Piercy about the drowning. Henry is also expected to be a witness for the Ellingson family in a wrongful death suit filed in December.
Grellner writes in the email, sent to a witness to the drowning, “What has happened is that Randy Henry has been giving others false and misleading information about my son and an investigation that was conducted three years ago.” She goes on to say Henry “tried to convince others that I was somehow beholden to the Patrol and owed them a favor. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
When questioned about the email and her reasons for stepping down, she said she doesn’t want anymore “taint” to this case.
“He’s made an allegation that I’m involved in things I’m not involved in,” said Grellner. “I believe this case needs to have a prosecutor that can look at it with fresh eyes, and that there is no additional allegation that there’s additional conspiracy or anything along those lines related to this case.”
Grellner claims to have been within days of reaching a decision in the case, which has now been turned over to another special prosecutor who has been chosen, but not named publicly.
Attempts to reach Henry for comment were unsuccessful. An attorney for the Ellingson family said Grellner’s allegations are “so misguided they’re laughable.”
The MHP also refused to comment on allegations that another investigator in the case, Corporal Eric Stacks, has been placed on administrative leave. A spokesperson for the MHP added, “There will be no further comment regarding the Ellingson drowning.”