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Sentinel Retracts False Murder Story Claiming Police Had Warning

The Santa Cruz Sentinel's editor Don Miller wrote a letter of retraction printed Tuesday. "In retrospect, as a newspaper, we could have done a more rigorous job of determining the truth about the caller's claim."

Last week the Santa Cruz Sentinel had many in the community upset by a story that claimed a resident called 9-1-1 numerous times to report a suspicious person, whom they said later .

The report was made by Don Adams, who has a business in Lower Ocean, the newspaper said last Wednesday, sparking anger in the community and on local talk radio station KSCO-AM (1080) about the failure of police to respond. The article was released online Wednesday and printed in the paper Thursday.

Thursday, had been made by Adams, a regular neighborhood watch caller, about a suspicious man.

"In hindsight, we could have waited to examine dispatch records before publishing the claim," wrote editor Don Miller Tuesday. "We understand that police are under intense pressure to deal with complex social problems on the streets of Santa Cruz, problems that are not easily solved in a city where transients, street crime, drug dealing and mental illness have become volatile political and legal issues.

"The tragic and senseless murder of Shannon Collins has brought all of this back into the forefront of public discussion. The Sentinel is committed to providing an accurate and factual report on these problems. In retrospect, as a newspaper, we could have done a more rigorous job of determining the truth about the caller's claim."

Police Chief Kevin Vogel was unhappy with the story and the work it caused, but happy about the correction.

“It is unfortunate that this created a distraction causing Santa Cruz police and Santa Cruz Regional 911 resources to be utilized to disprove something that never occurred," he said.  "I am pleased the editor of the Sentinel corrected this irresponsibly false claim made by Don Adams.”      

audrey estrada May 17, 2012 at 06:49 AM
The reporter on the job essentially should own the slopjob sensationalism of an article irresponsibly written without the facts. Really this is NOT 'The Sentimentals' first time. The newspaper should boast its' ability to get away with more false reporting than 'The Star' or 'INQUIRER' . Just a lawsuit waiting to happen. To answer councils question... does'nt homeless services have enough to do?

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