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Tongues tied, records closed in Cannelton investigation

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By Vince Luecke

CANNELTON - City officials and police investigators remained tight-lipped this week over Friday's search by state police of a Cannelton officer's home. Courthouse documents that normally would shed light on the grounds for the court-approved search are being treated as confidential and are off limits to the public and press.

The News was denied copies of a search-warrant affidavit filed by state-police troopers seeking to search the home of Cannelton Patrolman Mike Humphrey and his wife, Francheska. Court employees said the documents were being treated as confidential and could not be released.

The majority of search-warrant requests filed by police and signed by the county's circuit-court judge are open for public inspection once the search takes place but some documents that contain personal information are kept separate from public files.

No one was arrested during the search Friday and troopers have released no information. Nor have they even confirmed an investigation. However, The News has learned that troopers are investigating not only the Humphreys but if Cannelton Police Chief Kenny Kellems gave Mike Humphrey information about the investigation just before the search. Reached Tuesday, Kellems said he could not comment on the matter but suggested the issue could come before the works board, whose members have some oversight over the police department. Mike Humphrey also declined comment Wednesday.

Perry County Prosecutor Robert Collins said he could not comment on any specifics of the search or any pending investigation, and said his office is required by law to protect personal data, including dates of birth, Social Security numbers and bank-account numbers.

Sgt. Chad Dick, the public-information officer for the Indiana State Police Post at Jasper, said he checked with Collins' office and the state-police detective investigating the case but said the records were confidential.

Cannelton City Attorney Bill Shaneyfelt has been keeping abreast of the situation, Cannelton Clerk-Treasurer Mary Snyder said. The city's works board and common council will meet Tuesday evening. Members normally meet the second week of the month but had previously agreed to push back the December meeting. The works board meets at 6 p.m. followed by the council at 7.

The News left two messages for Mayor Melvin McBrayer Monday and Wednesday. An editor visited town offices Wednesday morning. A lower-level door was open but no one was in either the clerk-treasurer's or mayor's office.