Police schedule news conference about probe

jkegley@herald-leader.comJune 17, 2010 

Umi Southworth

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Lexington police have planned a news conference Thursday afternoon to release information about an internal investigation into its response to a case involving a woman found badly beaten behind her home last week. The move comes on the heels of city officials declining Wednesday to reveal detailed information about the internal investigation and an outside investigation that also was initiated.

The police news conference will discuss "what we have done to this point, preliminary information about the evaluation and what we plan to do going forward," according to a news release. Police launched the investigation to assess the department's response last week to the discovery of Umi Southworth, 44, who was initially thought to be dead but was found to be alive almost five hours later. She later died.

On Tuesday, Mayor Jim Newberry said an outside agency has been asked to assist in that process. Newberry said he and police Chief Ronnie Bastin were "concerned about our response to her death." On Wednesday, the city and police both declined to name the agencies that had been tapped to help with the investigation.

"We believe that releasing that information too early may put undue attention on the individuals who are going to be carrying out this review," Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said.

Roberts said multiple agencies from a variety of disciplines are involved, including "other law enforcement agencies, medical people and policy experts."

"It's not a single outside agency, and these people are not doing an investigation separate from ours," Roberts said. "We are all working together to find out what happened."

David Jude, spokesman for Kentucky State Police, said state police are not involved in the investigation.

Detailed information will not be given during Thursday's news conference because of the ongoing homicide investigation, the release said.

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