Time for an apology for Ryan Larson

Now can someone tell Ryan Larson they’re sorry?

Despite there being no witnesses, no gun, no evidence, and no charges, police authorities and the media covering the killing of Cold Spring police officer Tom Decker last year all but indicted Larson for the killing. In the case of the news media, they ignored their own policies against identifying people as suspects when they haven’t been charged. The case provided every example possible for having the policies in the first place: Larson didn’t do it.

The authorities acknowledged as much today when the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension announced that Eric Joseph Thomes of Cold Spring would have been arrested on murder charges had he not taken his own life when police closed in on him on Jan. 2.

There was no news conference today, only a short news release that stopped well short of an apology to Larson:

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office have completed the active portion of the investigation of the November 29, 2012 murder of Cold Spring Police Officer Tom Decker. As new information emerges, the investigation will continue. In discussions with the Stearns County Attorney, the BCA and Stearns County Sheriff’s Office have been advised to leave the case open.

Investigators have compiled evidence that would have resulted in Eric Joseph Thomes’ arrest for the murder of Officer Tom Decker had Mr. Thomes not taken his own life on January 2, 2013.

Although sufficient probable cause existed to arrest Ryan Michael Larson, continued investigation did not reveal sufficient evidence to charge Mr. Larson. At this time, the investigation has provided no information that Mr. Larson participated in Officer Decker’s murder. There is no known connection between Mr. Thomes and Mr. Larson related to this crime.

Anyone with additional information related to the shooting or to Mr. Thomes’ actions from the time of the shooting to the time of Mr. Thomes’ death is urged to contact the Stearns County Sheriff’s Office at 877-782-5683 or the BCA at 877-996-6222 or bca.tips@state.mn.us.

“My life is gone; basically stolen from me,” Larson told WCCO earlier this year. “I am always going to be looked at as the person that committed this crime.”