April 23, 2010
Charges Dropped By Prosecutors
Eugene, OR (The Weekly Vice) - Azoulas David Yurashunas, a 23-year-old Eugene man who was accused of kidnapping a young child during a boy scout event has been cleared of all charges.
According to the Eugene Police Department, Officer Steven Chambers was working at Bethesda Lutheran Church during a boyscout event when he heard a mother calling out for her child. He then witnessed what he thought was a man attempting to lure a 2-year-old boy away.
The woman reportedly snatched the child away from Yurashunas as he hopped into an automobile and left the scene. Officers later stopped Yurashunas and booked him into jail on kidnapping charges.
Yurashunas disputed the charge from the onset, telling investigators that he was attempting to help the child who had apparently hit his head on a sign and appeared lost.
Reports later confirm that the child was indeed injured as Yurashunas stated and a mother calling out for her child would seem to substantiate Yurashuna's contention that the boy indeed became separated from his mother for some period of time.
Although a grand jury returned an indictment against Yurashunas, it stated that the circumstances of the incident did not rise above a reasonable doubt. The grand jury's doubts about the case was followed up with a dismissal of all charges from the Lane County District Attorney's office on Thursday
The Weekly Vice Opinion:
Although investigators in this case insist they acted appropriately in this case -We'd beg to differ.
While it may be true that the Eugene Police department has a lower threshold of reasonable doubt to meet than the D.A.'s office has, a proper and thorough investigation would have likely revealed that this case wasn't going anywhere.
Even worse - perhaps that investigation was thorough and the department decided it was going to run with the charges despite the shaky circumstance they were founded on.
The fact that the "suspect's" statements coincided with his actions should have been the first clue that perhaps he was indeed attempting to help this child just as he stated. It's a shame the Eugene Police Department left these "coincidences" out of their press release and report.
Our sources tell us that Yurashunas was a scout himself who was invited out to the event. Before leaving that event, Yurashunas took the opportunity to do what any good scout should do. Help a fellow citizen in need.
We truly hope the Eugene Police Department and it's "lower threshold of reasonable doubt" argument will remember this lesson.
When you get it wrong and ignore the obvious - the Internet can be a real bite in the ass to a police department's reputation. Perhaps your department should raise that bar just a bit, eh?
The Weekly Vice
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Posted by Danny Vice at 1:41:00 AM
Azoulas Yurashunas - Cleared Of All Charges