Savage sues Charleston police department and County Sheriff's Office
The weekend discovery of Katherine Waring’s remains on Wadmalaw Island has ignited a legal squabble between police investigators and private detectives working the case for the victim’s family.
A private investigator hired by attorney Andy Savage, a Waring family friend, found the missing woman’s remains Saturday, ending a four-month search. At the request of Charleston police, county sheriff’s deputies seized and searched the investigator’s vehicle for evidence, authorities said.
Savage filed a lawsuit today against Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon, Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen, and their respective departments, and seeking unspecified damages and the return of photographs, notes and other items taken from private investigator William Capps. Savage also is seeking a temporary restraining order preventing authorities from viewing, using or sharing the seized items.
Court documents state that the items seized from Capps contain sensitive, confidential “work product” from the Waring investigation and other cases, and that their release would violate attorney-client privilege.
Savage also told Charleston police that his staff has been advised to avoid speaking with police about activities taken on behalf of clients. He informed police that he would be dealing directly with Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson on the Waring case.
The sheriff’s office and Charleston police had no immediate comment on the lawsuit or Savage’s stance.
The two sides are scheduled to argue their positions in a 9 a.m. hearing Tuesday before Circuit Judge Thomas Houghston.
Ever since Waring’s disappearance, four private investigators working for the Waring family had been involved in the effort to find her, Savage has said. On Saturday, they learned the exact location of the body, and one of the investigators found Waring’s remains, he said.
The remains were located about 30 to 40 feet off the main road into Polly Point Plantation, a secluded development off Bears Bluff Road. Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten has not released the cause of the death.
Waring lived with her parents on Murray Boulevard in Charleston. She vanished after she went to a West Ashley gym, a downtown drugstore and then to Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse. Her cell phone and credit cards haven’t been used since.
Charleston police on Wednesday arrested a couple on charges of forgery and obstruction of justice in relation to the case. Ethan Mack, 29, of Pineland Drive on Johns Island, and Heather Angelica Kamp, 30, of Riley Road on James Island each were charged with one count of obstruction of justice and one count of forgery. Authorities allege both suspects gave false statements about events on the night Waring was last seen and that they forged a check drawn on Waring’s account. Bail was set at $200,000 on Thursday for both.
A memorial service for Waring will be held Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 71 Broad St., Charleston. Her family will receive friends Friday between 5 and 7 p.m. at Ashley Hall school, 172 Rutledge Ave., Charleston. J. Henry Stuhr’s downtown chapel is handling the arrangements.