The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

June 7, 2013

Police: Psychics aren't on payroll

IOWA CITY — The Iowa Department of Public Safety wants to make it clear: it does not pay psychics to help solve cases.

Spokesman Rob Hansen said Thursday that new Commissioner K. Brian London did ask investigators whether they’d received any tips from psychics related to the kidnapping and slaying of two cousins, and whether they followed up on them.

Hansen said London made the inquiry in December, the day the bodies of Lyric Cook and Elizabeth Collins were found in a wooded area in northeast Iowa. The girls were 10 and 8 when they vanished last July while riding bikes in Evansdale, and no arrests have been made in their deaths.

The commissioner, who started in October after being appointed by Gov. Terry Branstad, believes his routine inquiry has been mischaracterized, Hansen said. He said London faced questions from an officer at one recent meeting about whether the department pays for psychics and “corrected the record” that it does not.

Hansen said that London believes investigators should follow every lead, including those from psychics, particularly when other investigative leads dry up. But he said the department isn’t using psychics “as some sort of philosophy” under London. Numerous psychics had, in fact, offered their services in the Evansdale case.

“The commissioner’s viewpoint is, to the person or the family or the parents, put yourself in their position,” he said. “Would you want us following every piece of information that has been provided to us? We didn’t seek any of those things out. But things were brought to us. And did we run those things down? His belief is we should do everything we can do with information that is provided to us.”

Responding to an open records request by The Associated Press, the department said Thursday it had no correspondence to and from London related to psychics or any invoices for their services.

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