WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - Vermont State Police officials took the unusual step of issuing a statement late Tuesday evening saying their agency appears to have dropped the ball this past week when it came to warning the public that a dangerous subject had absconded from a drug rehab facility.
The state police have launched a formal internal affairs investigation into their handling of the disappearance of Everett Simpson, 41, from Valley Vista in Bradford late last week.
Simpson, who has a history of leading police on high-speed chases had been arrested for just such an episode back in September and he had been held for lack of $20,000 bail up until he was allowed to enter Valley Vista.
Instead of completing substance abuse treatment, Simpson essentially escaped from the facility and then went on a harrowing crime spree that included carjacking a woman and her child in Manchester, New Hampshire and forcing her to drive to White River Junction. Once he was back in Vermont, Simpson forced the woman to rent a room at a local hotel where he then allegedly sexually assaulted the woman before stealing her vehicle.
The report of that attack Saturday evening was the first inkling that local law enforcement agencies had that Simpson was at large and the public did not learn about Simpson until media reports the next day.
Simpson is currently under arrest in federal custody and is expected to appear in court soon in Vermont for arraignment on a slate of federal and local charges.
The FBI and a number of other law enforcement agencies became involved in the effort to locate Simpson on Saturday and Sunday and, in the release issued Tuesday, the Vermont State Police included a timeline of events that was developed as part of their own post-incident review of the case:
WATERBURY, Vermont (January 8, 2019) — The Vermont State Police have established the following time line regarding their involvement in the Everett Simpson investigation:
7:26 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 3 -- Everett Simpson posts bond and is released from Department of Corrections custody with a court-ordered condition that he report to the Valley Vista substance-abuse treatment facility in Bradford.
10:59 p.m. Thursday, Jan 3 -- Simpson arrives at Valley Vista.
9:47 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4 -- Vermont State Police dispatch receives a complaint from Valley Vista that Simpson has left the facility in violation of his court-ordered conditions. Dispatch receives from Valley Vista a partial description of Simpson. In response to the call, a trooper at the St. Johnsbury barracks speaks with the caller from Valley Vista and learns that Simpson has not been seen since 8:30 p.m. The trooper learns that Simpson is on court-ordered conditions of release.
The trooper responds to the last known address for Simpson in St. Johnsbury but is unsuccessful in locating him. The trooper then receives additional information from Valley Vista, including the phone number Simpson had last called, but when the trooper called that number, it had been shut off.
11:38 p.m. Friday, Jan. 4 -- A K-9 track was considered but determined not to be a viable option. The trooper was dispatched to handle another call.
12:56 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5 -- Before going off duty, the trooper sends an email to other troopers in the barracks to update them about Simpson.
7:53 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5 -- Another trooper at the St. Johnsbury barracks receives a report of a stolen vehicle in the town of Newbury. A GPS device in the vehicle tracks it to New Hampshire, and Vermont State Police in St. Johnsbury issue a "be on the lookout" alert for the stolen vehicle.
8:37 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5 -- The vehicle is located unoccupied in a parking garage in Manchester, New Hampshire, by local police.
4:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5 -- Valley Vista provides to VSP a description of the clothing Simpson was last known to be wearing to compare with surveillance photos from the location where the vehicle was found.
6:34 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5 -- Hartford police ask VSP in St. Johnsbury to check a location in West Fairlee that may be connection to Simpson. While troopers are en route, a VSP supervisor in St. Johnsbury asks Hartford about their investigation and learns Simpson is a suspect in a sexual assault in White River Junction.
3:22 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 6 -- Hartford police obtain an arrest warrant for Simpson on suspicion of kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, interference with access to emergency services, aggravated operation without owner's consent, and violation of conditions of release.
10:54 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 6 -- Hartford police formally request assistance from the Vermont State Police in their investigation related to the kidnapping and sexual assault in which Simpson has been identified as a suspect. VSP deploys multiple resources including Major Crime Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Tactical Services Unit and others.
About 6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 6 -- Police in Upper Darby Township, Pennsylvania, take Simpson into custody following a vehicle pursuit.
The Vermont State Police has determined that there were additional steps that should have been taken, including seeking an arrest warrant on Friday night, Jan. 4; issuing a "be on the lookout" alert for Simpson; and issuing a news release informing the public about Simpson.
Simpson is not known to have come into contact with law enforcement between the time he left Valley Vista and his arrest Sunday night in Pennsylvania.
The circumstances surrounding this incident are under review, including a formal investigation by the Vermont State Police Internal Affairs Unit.
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