'Lost' Files In Koschman Case Were Actually 'Removed,' Then 'Replaced'

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 25, 2013 6:30PM

2012_4_6_koschman.jpg One of the more curious aspects of the David Koschman case was the mysterious disappearance of files that would have tied Richard “R.J.” Vanecko to Koschman’s death in 2004. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and Chicago Police Department said they didn’t know how those files were “lost,” (if they ever were.)

The Sun-Times reports today — to no one’s surprise — those files weren’t “lost.” They were “removed” and then suddenly popped up again. Police Lt. Denis P. Walsh, in an internal affairs report obtained by the Sun-Times, said he discovered the missing documents “lying on the top shelf of a filing cabinet located in the sergeants office of Area 3 Violent Crimes” in June 2011. The Sun-Times first published their investigation into the Police Department’s handling of Koschman’s death in February 2011.

The missing documents included a one-page record of documents in the file called an “investigative file inventory,” a two-page “chronological table of contents and “general progress report” of the case that contained a handwritten note that read “V DAILEY SISTER SON,” a reference detectives in the case new of Vanecko’s familial ties to the Daley clan. This is particularly damning as the Police Department has long claimed Vanecko’s relationship to Daley was not a factor in his never being charged with Koschman’s death.

Walsh told internal affairs investigators he searched for the files for six months before they suddenly reappeared. In a letter to Area 3 Cmdr. Gary Yamashiroya Walsh wrote the files were “removed and returned in violation of department rules and regulations.” The Police Department released copies of the missing documents previously but resisted releasing the internal affairs investigation, claiming it wasn’t subject to state public records law. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan ordered the Police Department to release the report last month.

Vanecko was eventually charged last December with manslaughter in Koschman’s death. The independent investigation into the case led by attorney Dan Webb is ongoing.