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Police say records from mishandled child abuse case may be missing

Dayton police cannot find records related to the botched investigation of the alleged abuse of Brayden Ferguson by Ryan “Luke” St. John more than a year before St. John beat the 2-year-old to death.

St. John was convicted on April 6 of murder in connection with Brayden’s death and will be sentenced May 1.

St. John, the boyfriend of Brayden’s mother, was arrested but never charged in a separate alleged beating of Brayden in November 2015.

The city in February punished Det. Lindsey Dulaney for failing to properly investigate the 2015 incident, according to disciplinary records in her personnel file. However, she was found not guilty of an allegation that she was “untruthful” in a special report in which she claimed she had completed additional investigation in the case requested by the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.

Timeline: Toddler’s death followed police, children services involvement

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Records show Dulaney did not respond to requests for information from the prosecutor’s office in November 2015, May 2016 and August 2016.

The internal police investigation also found Dulaney not guilty of a separate allegation that a DVD of a recording of an interview with St. John is lost or missing.

The Dayton Daily News has requested both the special report and the DVD.

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl says the department has an electronic version of the special report, but “the signed original could not be located.”

FULL REPORT: Critical mistakes led to two-year-old’s death from beating

As for the DVD, Biehl said, “No recording of the interview can be located.”

“The detective turned the DVD over to the Assistant Prosecuting Attorney,” Biehl added. “At some point, the DVD was misplaced and our investigation could not conclusively determine who last possessed the DVD.”

Dulaney forfeited five vacation days for her mishandling of the investigation.

The Daily News requested a copy of the police department’s investigation of Dulaney. Biehl said the information ”is being reviewed for necessary redactions prior to release.”

Biehl said the department is conducting an investigation that will include a review of the actions of police supervisors and administrators.

“This case is a tragedy and one which multiple agencies had a role and responsibility to investigate and take appropriate action,” he has said.

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Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley’s office said she would not add to what Biehl has said about the Brayden Ferguson case. “The mayor stands behind Chief Biehl’s comments regarding this case,” a spokeswoman for the city said. “She will not make further comment.”

The Rev. Daryl Ward, an area pastor who is running for city commission, said: “Some kind of outside resource” should take over investigating cases like this.

“One of the problems, and it’s not a new problem, is that it’s so crazy that they investigate themselves,” he said.

His opponent in the race, the Rev. Darryl Fairchild, said he wants to wait until the departmental review is over before making any conclusions. But he said it’s important “if there are failures that they address those failures.”

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