Part 2: The Changing of the Stories by Tiah in the case of Laura Henderson-Ibach.
After the police had spoken to all Laura Henderson-Ibach’s co-workers they all said they didn’t know anything about a meeting except for CW. But even she didn’t have a name for this unknown man. Police had asked them to all come in and give a written statement. They put CW and the other co-workers all in one room and let them talk amongst themselves and write their statements.
Suddenly they all “knew” Laura was meeting a man named “Matt” (not Mac) in a white van the night she vanished. Even rookie cops know better than to mix witnesses in the same room, let them chat together, and speculate on what happened. Even rookies know better than to let witnesses talk to a P.I. and add that information into their witness statements, but they allowed that as well.
It is possible they were comparing notes and got confused or, decided it added more weight if they all claimed that Laura was meeting this “Matt” person. It is also possible that police had fed them just enough information and mentioned just enough details that Laura’s attorney, Matt Jamin, had told them. So, the co-workers thought this information should be added to their statement.
Bottom line: their statements changed completely and they changed again later when it came time for the trial. The Kodiak Police Department had never handled a homicide investigation before. They had assisted in homicides investigations but never conducted an investigation by themselves. I think they were so eager to solve their first big case they came up with a theory and then forced/created evidence to support that theory.
Another person who repeatedly changed his story is Al Ruble. He was asked by Laura Henderson-Ibach’s attorney to follow her that night as she picked up the tape. The attorney said he had her followed for her own safety and had instructed Laura not to get into the vehicle with the unknown man (he later changed his story to say that he told her not to get into the white van).
It seems odd that IF someone is offering to help Laura, the attorney fears for her safety, and sends a P.I. to follow her. If he really felt there might be a problem why didn’t he ask police to keep an eye out as well? It’s a small community and the street where they were supposedly meeting, only had three exists: each end of the street and an alley. Ruble and one police officer could have easily covered it all. But the lawyer just sent Ruble and Ruble claims he lost sight of Laura in an area only a couple of blocks long.
Ruble told KPD he was at the agreed spot. He saw Laura pull up and park on the street in front of a white van. He stated that he saw her get out of her car and into Mac’s van. He claims he decided to move to get a better view and as he drove past them, he saw Laura in the front seat smiling and talking to Mac. He said it was just the two of them but what Ruble didn’t know then was that James Kerwin was also in the van!
James Kerwin was with Mac from before 8:30pm until they got home that night. James didn’t have a place to sleep so he slept in the van. Mac was living at a rehab center for his alcohol problem and couldn’t let James stay there. Ruble claims that after he drove past them he lost sight of them for only a minute and then Mac’s van was gone and Laura was no where in sight.
He later changed his story and said he got out of his car and walked down the street for a better view and then lost sight of them. Later he changed his story again and said that he was parked in the same spot, Mac drove his van around the block and then he lost sight of them. Al Ruble was a trained investigator with years of experience. Why do you suppose his story kept changing and why would he let Mac supposedly drive away and not follow them?
Ruble also told police that SH, another of Laura’s co-workers, had told him that she could identify Mac as the person who came to their workplace to see Laura and that he was driving a white van. But, as it turns out, it was Ruble who told SH that he saw Laura get into Mac’s white van and that Mac was probably the one who had come to their workplace that day to see Laura. He was caught in this lie during the Grand Jury procedures where he had to admit under oath that SH never told him a name or a vehicle type and that in fact, he had told her!
The same thing happened when CW suddenly remembered Laura saying that she was meeting this unknown person in a white van. That had come from Ruble to CW as well.
It is important to note that Ruble, who was in charge of protecting Laura that night, changed his story to police, the grand jury, at the first trial, and the 2nd trial. He also changed it when interviewed by the first private investigator hired for Mac’s appeal. That investigator did submit reports and was certain Mac and Jack were not involved at all. Just before he was to have a meeting with Mac’s sister, he learned about some new information that he was certain, would clear them.
Unfortunately, that information will forever remain a mystery. That investigator was on his way to the meeting with Mac’s sister when he suddenly died and the new information he was so excited to share with her, died with him.
To be continued.