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  • Writer's pictureMLWA 7

Investigation into Benton sheriff witness tampering reopened

RICHLAND, Wash. (AP) — The embattled Benton County sheriff in eastern Washington is under criminal investigation once again for allegedly forcing his estranged wife to recant her statements of abuse.

The investigation by the Washington State Patrol comes 18 months after charges against Sheriff Jerry Hatcher were dropped because detectives needed more time.

Sgt. Darren Wright in the state patrol’s main office in Olympia told the Tri-City Herald Wednesday that the patrol is “doing some follow-up investigation on the original witness tampering case.”

Wright said he couldn’t provide any further details of the investigation or comment on its status. Retired sheriff’s Commander Steve Caughey also confirmed to the newspaper that the investigation has been reopened. Caughey said he was interviewed Wednesday about his former boss’ alleged criminal activity involving Monica Hatcher.

Investigators also met with several other witnesses employed by the Benton County Sheriff’s Office.

Hatcher, 57, is also facing a recall effort for alleged retaliatory acts involving employees, intimidation, abuse of discretion, and tampering with and destruction of evidence.


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