police

Editor's Note: This is an ongoing story. The Herald is reaching out to the Montgomery Police Department and district attorney's office.

Surrounded by investigators and police chaplains, Wetumpka Police Department police chief Greg Benton shared investigation details concerning the body found in front of Elmore Community Hospital on Friday.

Benton said case details revealed KeAira Battle was murdered in Montgomery and her body was dropped in front of the hospital but the Montgomery Police Department has not picked up the case.

"We are not satisfied with what Montgomery is doing," he said. "That is why we are here today speaking with the family. White or black, a child was murdered. A person was pushed out of a vehicle in Wetumpka."

Benton said his investigators had the case developed and the facts to back up their claims, but when WPD attempted to share information about the case with MPD, the communications were met with resistance.

"The police chief (Ernest N. Finley) was enraged about the text I sent to him and basically told me in a phone call, 'You handle your stuff, and I'll handle mine,'” Benton said. “We handled our stuff and their stuff, and they refuse to participate."

Benton said he believes the only reason MPD has not taken the case is because Finley did not want the city's murder statistics to increase.

"It is the only thing that comes to mind," he said. 

Benton said WPD has also spoke with Alabama State Bureau of Investigation and the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency. 

"We talked with a lieutenant at ALEA who said he would make a call to the (district attorney's) office," Benton said. "He said would should receive a call back from an assistant district attorney in Montgomery last Friday. We still have not got a phone call."

Battle, 27, was a graduate of Wetumpka and lived in Montgomery at the time of her death.

Her mother Lanay Bowe said she last saw her daughter Thursday evening.

"She gave me some lights for a family reunion we were having," she said. "She still had lots of friends here in Wetumpka."

As for case details, Benton said there are a lot of moving parts that cannot be shared at the moment.

"I can tell you this, if this happened in Wetumpka we would have had the case locked up," he said. "We are not slinging mud. We are slinging facts."