Special Reports

Puyallup Police Department's response to TNT article on Misty Copsey

"Answering follow up questions posed by the News Tribune might be appropriate when this case is solved, but because it is an open investigation, we will not provide individual responses."

-------------------------------Date: May 11th, 2009

Answering follow up questions posed by the News Tribune might be appropriate when this case is solved, but because it is an open investigation, we will not provide individual responses.

The Puyallup Police Department treats all missing persons cases as a high priority. The goal of all of these investigations is the safe return of the missing person.

Law enforcement practices with regards to investigations have changed dramatically since 1992. The Puyallup Police Department has changed with it. The Puyallup Police Department has implemented a Missing Person Checklist that is followed initially when a person is reported missing. The utilization of electronic means to give and receive information to a large group in a relatively short amount of time and the advances in forensic evidence processing has also aided investigative work. The Puyallup Police Department continues to work closely with other agencies to recover missing persons as quickly as possible. We currently have a detective assigned to the statewide task force for missing and exploited children.

Misty Copsey’s remains have not yet been located. There is now a National Center for Missing and Exploited Children forensic lab located at the University of North Texas. Police agencies nationwide provide samples of unidentified human remains to this lab to compare against known DNA profiles of missing persons. Misty Copsey’s DNA profile has been on file at the national lab. So far, no recovered remains have matched Misty’s DNA profile.

We are aware of the extremely difficult times that families and friends go through when a loved one is missing, and try to remain sensitive to that while focusing on locating the victim. It is a difficult balancing act to ensure that the family is being kept apprised of the investigation while still maintaining the integrity of the investigation. We are also aware that when a missing person case is not solved, it invites criticism from the family.

It is not appropriate for us to provide opinions about individuals and investigators in an open investigation. It does not help us to solve this case to second guess the investigators that worked this case seventeen years ago. Technology, techniques and department procedures are better now than they were in the early 1990’s, and we are committed to doing what we can to solve this case.

The current status of the case is that it is an open and active investigation. As such, it is not appropriate for law enforcement to engage in a public discussion of the details or theories involved. We are moving forward by re-examining evidence, weighing what has been completed in the investigation, and evaluating what needs to be done by our current detectives. Solving this case remains a priority for the Puyallup Police Department.

We are hopeful that the recent attention given to this case will generate tips from people who might have heard something from a suspect in the 17 years since Misty disappeared. The Puyallup Police Department special TIP line is 253-770-3343.

Related stories from Tacoma News Tribune