Officer Holmes says a supervisor made him lie. But KCPD brass say he bungled a murder investigation.

The Cop Who Killed a Murder Case 

Officer Holmes says a supervisor made him lie. But KCPD brass say he bungled a murder investigation.

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According to Holmes, Hutcheson insisted that Holmes' report include everything that Hamre and Holmes had done that evening until they got to the drug dealer's door. The search of the apartment should be left out.

Holmes wrote neatly, in all capital letters, about a Hispanic man at the Lost Sock Laundromat at 35th Street and Main who told him that Coombs had been asking about cocaine and meth, just before he was reported missing. He wrote about two street people who told him that they'd met Coombs at a gas station at 37th and Main; they said they'd put Coombs in contact with a Raytown meth dealer. He wrote about a male prostitute who had heard that Coombs was smoking crack and spending money with other male prostitutes at Buddy's, a bar on the 3700 block of Main. He wrote about the hooker who had said if Coombs wasn't dead, perhaps Henderson, the dealer, knew where he was. He wrote that Sgt. Kenneth Frederick of the Homicide Unit knew of this investigation, as did Holmes' patrol sergeant, John Bryant.

Holmes had a rapport with the small-time drug users and petty thieves who came to know him on midtown's streets, but he didn't have a lot of friends within the police department. As he wrote his faulty report, Holmes didn't think that it could cost him his job. It could also cost Jackson County prosecutors a murder case.

By all accounts, Guy Coombs liked to party.

He grew up in the small coastal town of Wells, Maine. He was tall, handsome and athletic, a star on his high school football, basketball and baseball teams. He earned good grades and got a bachelor's degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In 2001, the Cerner Corporation hired Coombs as a salesman, and he spent six months in training sessions in Kansas City. The Kansas City-based medical software company allowed him to work as a sales associate from home in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He lived with his fiancée, Isa Simmons.

On Friday, January 17, 2003, Coombs traveled to Kansas City to attend a sales meeting at Cerner's headquarters. The night he arrived, Coombs and his Cerner friends went out drinking on the Plaza and in Westport. Coombs downed Red Bull and vodkas.

The party headed downtown, ending up at Totally Nude Temptations. The strip club doesn't serve alcohol, so the group split its time between Temptations and the bar next door, the Cigar Box. At Temptations, members of Coombs' party asked the strippers for sex. Someone complained, and the club kicked out Coombs and his friends. Everyone headed back to the hotel — except Coombs.

At three in the morning, Coombs called his fiancée.

"What are you doing?" Simmons asked Coombs. "It's, like, three or four. Don't you have work tomorrow?"

"I'm getting something," Coombs said. "I'm in a shady situation. Pray for me. I'll call you back."

Coombs didn't hang up his phone right away. Listening from their home in Connecticut, Simmons could hear his footsteps bang loudly, as if on a set of steps. "Hey, Black," Simmons heard Coombs say before the line disconnected. Alarmed, Simmons stayed up, waiting for her phone to ring again.

Coombs called back an hour later. Simmons could hear male voices in the background. Coombs told her that he was with some friends in a cab heading back to the hotel. Simmons figured they must be people he'd met at the Cerner training session, so she relaxed and went back to sleep.

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