Is the Kauai Police Department Worse than the Ferguson Police Department?

Kauai Public Information Office says no to releasing information on a botched cold case murder.

Jim Benish, Editor and Author at Codefore Publishing says he filed a freedom of information request to Kauai on September 7th, 2015 asking for information about the investigation of the murder of 4 year old Aleisea Woolsey-Ruff. Benish said that his intent was to verify information that was provided by a published article respondent.      

Benish said he didn’t receive the requested information from Kauai until January 13th 2015. He said that what he received on from the Kauai Police Department defies any reasonable expectation of a cold case inquiry.

"The redactions were as if they were performed by a 10 year old kid"

JD Benish, Editor-Codefore Publishing

“The   redactions were as if they were performed by a 10 year old kid” he said.  “Portions of the written statement made by the person arrested for the crime were redacted, while information about the police’s denial to provide the arrestee with an attorney despite his request to have  an  attorney present four times were not. On one page, the victim’s name was redacted.”  “It just made no sense.”

Benish said he has been working on getting information about this case since 1993 when he was a police detective investigating the unsolved murder of Tracey Neef.  He said a woman read his book, Closed Eyes, and contacted him with information about a man she knew who confessed to murdering the Ruff girl in Kauai.  The man was Todd Scholnalu who’s brother Aaron Schonlau is in prison for the murder.  Benish said, “I offered to provide the Kauai PD with all of the information that I had received but they were not interested.”

Benish said he questioned the Kauai Freedom of Information office’s Sara Blane and her supervisor Mary Daubert about the redactions and suggested  that the redeactions defy Kauai’s own Freedom of Information Practices.  When the question about who was making redaction decisions and performing the redaction process  the communication seemed to stop. “I was instructed that if I had more questions, it was necessary to file a new request.”

Benish said he filed the new request in February asking limited questions like, “Who is doing the redacting”?  Who is making the decisions as to what is going to be released and what is not”? and to provide a copy of the written waiver of right to an attorney by the arrestee. 

Benish said after several follow up emails to Blane, Daubert and the Kauai Mayor, Bernard Carvalho , he was notified that not only was there to be no further information released but there would be no further communication.   He was also advised that an appeal must be filed with a special committee who reviews such requests, or file a complaint in Circuit Court.

Benish said that he will release further information on this case on a later date and that the actions by the Kauai Police Department and Kauai County appears to be a cover up that rivals the incidents in Ferguson Missouri and has been going on since 1993.  He said that the victim Lacy Ruff Woolsey’s relatives and friends of the family are coming forth with more information on the conduct of the police department in Kauai.