Scott County officials address fundraising in Lawless case

Thursday, August 27, 2009

BENTON, Mo. -- At their regular county commission meeting Tuesday, Scott County officials discussed how to handle and document money raised for DNA testing in the Angela Mischelle Lawless case.

Independent Forensic Services, a private company based in the Netherlands, was selected to test the DNA. The bill from IFS for the DNA testing was $39,795.46. So far, payments of $9,200 from the Law Enforcement Restitution Fund and $15,000 from the Sheriff's Civil Fee Fund were made leaving an unpaid balance of $15,595.46.

Earlier this month, family members organized fundraisers to help the investigation along and show their support of the county's efforts.

"I think what the family is doing is admirable," Burger said.

Walter said the victim's mother made it clear to him that she wants the sheriff's department to receive the money raised for the investigation directly rather than through a bank.

"That's her wishes so I'm going to go with her wishes," Walter said.

Burger advised the sheriff's department should record all contributions for the investigation on a spreadsheet documenting checks, cash and even anonymous donations.

Glenda Enderle, county treasurer, confirmed that the state auditor advised her their concern is that the county documents monies received and expenditures.

After further discussion, county officials agreed it would be best to deposit in and appropriate funds from the county law enforcement fund rather than create a new fund.

New line items will be created in the county budget's revenue and expenditures to track money received for and spent on the investigation.

While the investigation would have continued without the contributions, county officials are impressed that "people are coming together and helping out," Walter said. "This is still about Mischelle, this is still about the family. I don't want to lose sight of that."

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