Sources: DA Matt Stowe stonewalls TBI

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PARSONS, Tenn. — District Attorney Matt Stowe has halted all Tennessee Bureau of Investigation crime services for all law enforcement agencies in the 24th Judicial District in which he serves, multiple sources have confirmed. TBI spokesperson Susan Niland has confirmed TBI Director Mark Gwyn met Tuesday morning with heads of law enforcement agencies in Stowe’s district but would not go into detail about what was discussed. Sources who attended the meeting in Parsons tell WBBJ Gwyn announced that, at the decision of Stowe, TBI services no longer will be available for agencies in Stowe’s judicial district effective immediately. All unprocessed evidence would be returned to the respective agencies, according to sources. District 24 includes Benton, Carroll, Decatur, Hardin and Henry counties. The TBI is responsible for providing support to local law enforcement agencies in joint investigations at the request of the local district attorney, according to the bureau’s website. With this decision, expert testimony from the TBI no longer will be available for prosecuting cases in the district. State forensics services also will no longer be available for crime scene investigations. Also, forensic testing normally processed in TBI crime labs will have to be processed by private companies at the expense of the particular agency. Tests normally processed at state crime labs include DNA testing, rape kits, toxicology reports and autopsies, including DUI blood tests for the Tennessee Highway Patrol. State crime lab services are paid for through taxpayer dollars. Several law enforcement officials have said the cost of this decision could be damning for their departments. It is not clear at this time what this means for the Holly Bobo investigation in Decatur County. The meeting was called by the TBI about 24 hours in advance with no details provided, and Matt Stowe was invited but did not attend, sources have said. The TBI referred questions to Stowe‘s office, but he has not returned phone calls and messages seeking comment. WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News will have more information as it becomes available.

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