Could a three year old rape case have impacted the investigation into the drowning death of Brandon Ellingson, 20, of Clive? At least one Missouri State trooper believes it did.
Ellingson drowned at the Lake of the Ozarks in May of 2014 after being arrested for allegedly boating while intoxicated. Ellingson fell out of trooper Anthony Piercy's boat while he was handcuffed. Ellingson struggled to stay afloat, but his life jacket slipped off. His body was recovered from the lake the following day.
An investigation cleared Piercy of criminal negligence, even though he admitted he placed the wrong life jacket on Ellingson and didn't know how to operate his own life-preserver.
Now there are new accusations surrounding the investigation into the drowning and the 2012 rape of a 14-year-old girl in Osage County.
Sergeant Randy Henry, a trooper for the Missouri Highway patrol, says the prosecuting attorney in the Ellingson case may have owed the MHP a favor. He claims Amanda Grellner had a conflict of interest because the MHP exonerated her son, Garrett Grellner in the rape case. Henry was demoted after criticizing Grellner and the MHP.
Henry's attorney, Chet Pleban says the demotion was the result of Henry blowing the whistle. As part of his investigation, Pleban deposed Stacey Mosher, the Missouri State trooper who handled the rape investigation.
"Nobody's accusing anyone of anything, but whether or not the investigation was an effort to seek the truth or an effort to exonerate Grellner's son," says Pleban.
The investigation was turned over to Mosher only after the victim's parents complained about the investigation conducted by the former Osage County Sheriff.
"This is ten months later, after the victim's family is complaining... that justice had not been done," says Pleban.
In the 223-page deposition, Pleban grills Mosher about what she did, and perhaps more importantly didn't do, as part of the rape investigation.
He asks, "Can you show me in that report that you prepared, where you interview the victim?"
Mosher responds, "No... I that... I didn't interview the victim."
"You didn't interview the victim?" Pleban replies.
"No," says Mosher.
Pleban also questions Mosher about Garrett Grellner's alibi, while at the party where the rape took place.
"Okay, that alibi, you said that he was working with the DJ."
Mosher responds, "Yes, sir."
But when asked to identify the DJ, Mosher says she doesn't know his name and eventually admits she didn't interview the DJ.
She also failed to interview Garrett Grellner. When asked about him, Mosher states he gave her a written statement.
Mosher claims she didn't interview the suspect or victim, or check Grellner's alibi because the former Osage County Sheriff did so during his investigation. Attempts to get copies of that investigation have so far been unsuccessful.
Channel 13 left a message with Amanda Grellner's attorney, but at the time of publication had not heard back from him.
A public hearing on Henry's demotion is scheduled for September 28th and 29th.