|| Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation
Harvey P. Pratt
Public Information Director
08/25/10 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
New Law Opens Door on Cold Cases
The OSBI is pleased to announce that a law passed this legislative session will allow the Bureau to tap into resources outside the agency and outside formal law enforcement. Earlier this month, OSBI sent our reports on the death of Shawn Beaty from Bryan County to a group of Criminal Justice students at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama.
“A graduate class of law enforcement professionals will spend a year going over the case to find any new leads. This resource has aided law enforcement in other high profile cold cases, so we thought it should be a tool for the OSBI. Representative Sue Tibbs (R-Tulsa), Senator Don Barrington (R-Lawton), and Senator Patrick Anderson (R-Enid) ran House Bill 3294 which allows the Bureau to use specialized services to help solve cases,” Jessica Brown, OSBI PIO, says. Beaty’s husband contacted AUM about the case review and convinced them out of cases across the nation to study this one.
Dr. Ralph Ioimo, associate professor of Justice and Public Safety at AUM, will head up the students’ investigation into this case.
Ms. Beaty (d.o.b. 4/24/54) was found dead inside her burning Bryan County home January 31, 2005. The medical examiner’s office ruled the cause of her death as smoke inhalation, but the manner of her death is unknown. Initially, the Bryan County Sheriff’s Office worked the case along with the State Fire Marshal’s Office. December 19, 2005, the Bryan County District Attorney’s Office requested OSBI’s assistance. This case is especially challenging because by the time OSBI was called in there was no more crime scene, which is where an investigator begins searching for clues. Since OSBI opened the case, agents have polygraphed several people and interviewed even more attempting to rule out potential suspects. The State Fire Marshal’s Office ruled the fire arson.
During a grand jury hearing in December 2007, District Attorney Rob Hudson took over the case. He spoke with OSBI in December 2009 about using other outside resources. At that time, state law prohibited the Bureau from sharing investigative records with anyone outside law enforcement.