Patrol: Returned bond money was borrowed from councilman father

Friday, February 10, 2006

CHAFFEE, Mo. -- Former Chaffee city court clerk Robin Dannenmueller borrowed $1,000 to replace the money she allegedly pocketed from a prisoner's bond from her father, city council member Bob Sullivan, according to a Missouri State Highway Patrol investigation.

Sullivan allegedly gave her the money to deposit just before the Highway Patrol was set to interview her as part of its investigation on Jan 17, according to a probable cause statement.

That was one day after Dannenmueller was questioned by police chief Jeff Womack and five days after the money was discovered missing.

Sullivan was at a meeting a could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

Dannenmueller turned herself in to Scott County authorities on Tuesday and posted bond. She has been accused of stealing a $1,000 cash bond paid by a prisoner arrested in Chaffee on a Cape Girardeau warrant.

When the defendant was owed his money back in Cape Girardeau in January, the court couldn't find the money. Womack requested the patrol to begin investigating on Jan. 17.

The subsequent investigation found no evidence that the bond money had been deposited to the Chaffee bond account or forwarded to Cape Girardeau.

During the investigation, Dannenmueller told the patrol she deposited the money in the city account and later wrote a check to the Cape Girardeau court, according to the affidavit signed by Sgt. Scott Stoelting.

Dannenmueller resigned on Jan. 20, and a city council meeting was called on Jan. 23 to discuss the matter in closed session. The following day, Scott County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Boyd issued a press release saying the investigation had been terminated because the city had decided to handle the matter internally, but the Highway Patrol continued its investigation and charges were filed two weeks later.

Boyd said his office notified patrol investigators in January that Chaffee wanted to handle the matter internally and not to waste further time on the investigation.

"According to information provided by the chief, the mayor (Bill Cannon) indicated that Chaffee would be fine with the employee's resignation and reimbursement of the missing money," Boyd said.

But on Monday Boyd's office received a probable cause affidavit from the patrol and subsequently filed charges.

Based on the facts contained in the affidavit, Boyd said he determined there was probable cause that a crime was committed, and that Dannenmueller had something to do with the commission of the crime.

Stoelting said he couldn't comment on the reason for sending the affidavit after the investigation was reportedly terminated before reaching conclusion. He did not say whether the investigation had actually been terminated.

"I can't give any more details without jeopardizing the case," Stoelting said.

Womack said the city didn't have the power to stop the investigation, but that he had indicated to Boyd the city would be content with handling the matter internally.

Cannon declined to comment on the case.

Dannenmueller's arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. Feb. 21 at the Scott County Courthouse.

335-6611, extension 182

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