A.G.’s office takes over St. John ameba case

Published 11:45 pm Friday, October 3, 2014

By Monique Roth

LAPLACE — Louisiana State Police turned over the results of their St. John Parish Water District 1 ameba investigation to the State Attorney General’s Office Thursday.

LSP launched an investigation Sept. 2 following the Aug. 27 announcement that water taken in an sample two weeks earlier from St. John Parish Water District 1 tested positive for Naegleria fowleri ameba.

“It is not a criminal investigation,” LSP Troop B spokeswoman Melissa Matey said in September. “Could it lead to a criminal investigation? Depends on what we find.”

It is now up the Attorney General’s Office to review the LSP investigation report, which Matey said would include “whether or not procedures were followed and proper water samples were taken” and would focus on studying any inconsistencies with paperwork and procedures.

“Our office is now in receipt of the State Police investigative file,” Kurt Wall, criminal division director at the Attorney General’s Office, said. “We will immediately begin to review this information to determine the appropriate course of action.

“We also appreciate the cooperation provided by the St. John Parish Administration who has supplied us with their internal findings as well.”

Steven Hartmann, public information division employee at the Attorney General’s Office, said there is “no timeline going forward” as to when the Attorney General Office’s review of the case may be completed.

Parish President Natalie Robottom said reporting inconsistencies by parish employees, not negligence or criminal activity, may have been what led LSP to investigate water quality records in St. John Parish.