ELLSWORTH COUNTY -What if a significant crime took place in a large public setting? What if there were dozens of eyewitnesses or people that might be able to shed some light on the incident?
You would think having multiple witnesses or sources of information would be a positive thing. What do think the chances are that each individual has the same story?
Ellsworth County Sheriff Tracy Ploutz says he is in a similar situation trying to get to the bottom of an investigation involving an alleged sexual assault on a Great Bend High School activities bus.
“If you’ve ever played the game where they stand two lines together, tell the first person the story and share it to the person behind them and by the time you reach person in back of the line the story isn’t close to what started,” said Ploutz.
“That’s not what I’m dealing with here but you just have to weed it out,”
Ploutz said he chose to interview everyone that was on the bus including the bus driver, two coaches, and most of the swim team members.
Ploutz mentioned the parents of two students choose that their children not speak to investigators.
The process of scheduling interviews and traveling back and forth from Great Bend to Ellsworth County has caused the case to take longer than most people expected.
Ploutz says he now projects the investigation will be turned over to the Ellsworth County Attorney’s Office soon.
While Ploutz is dealing with the case that allegedly happened in Ellsworth County, the Saline County Sheriff’s Office has turned over a separate sexual assault claim from a 15-year old Great Bend High School swimmer to the Barton County Sheriff’s Office.
The boy and a parent went to Salina last weekend to report a sexual assault on the swim team bus on February 3. After an investigation, Saline County determined the incident occurred in Barton County and handed over the investigation to the Barton County Sheriff’s Office.