Search continues in Maine as officer is charged with lying about taking missing person to hospital

WASHBURN, Maine (AP) — A Maine police officer accused of lying about a missing-person case was charged with several crimes, including falsifying a report in which he claimed he had taken the missing man to a hospital, police said.

Washburn Police Sgt. Chandler Cole resigned after being charged with aggravated forgery, tampering with public records or information, falsifying physical evidence, and unsworn falsification, according to court records. He was arrested on March 29.

Cole said he had no comment when reached by The Associated Press.

The charges, first reported by WAGM-TV, stem from the case of a missing person who appeared to be distressed when seen walking along a road on Jan. 30.

Cole reported that he had picked up Erik Foote and dropped him off at a convenience store, but he told Foote's parents he took him to the hospital.

An investigation concluded Cole altered his report to reflect a hospital drop-off. But there is no hospital record to support the claim.

Foote has yet to be located in a case that has riveted the community of 1,500 people, which has organized another search party to look for him this weekend.

The Aroostook County Sheriff's Office is now handling the investigation.

The town is in the process of deciding whether to keep a police department. Washburn's police chief retired Jan. 31, Cole resigned in February and a young officer is working elsewhere, Town Manager Donna Turner said.

For now, the Sheriff's Office is providing coverage while Washburn is without police.


This story has been corrected to say Foote was seen Jan. 30, not March 30.