- Associated Press - Friday, April 21, 2017

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - An Arkansas court granted a woman access to the file of the Arkansas State Police investigation into her grandmother’s 1963 abduction and killing after a nearly four-year battle.

The Arkansas Supreme Court granted Heather Bates‘ request on Thursday for the file related to Ruby Stapleton’s killing, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/2plZSAb ) reported. No one has ever been charged in Stapleton’s death.

Bates first filed her request under the state Freedom of Information Act in 2013, saying she hoped to gain closure for her mother and family. But she was denied access by state police who said disclosing the file would hamper the investigation.

“The importance of the Freedom of Information Act is the opportunity to see government act in the open,” said Kevin Keech, attorney for Bates. “Being able to see and get the information is important so our government is not operating in an opaque manner and we actually can see what they’ve done.”

Police spokesman Bill Sadler said he will release the investigation file to Keech after reviewing it and making necessary redactions.

“It met the criteria for using the undisclosed investigation exemption because there was a trail of recent activity in the case and only days prior to the initial request, there had been some information of a potential suspect (possibly) living out of state,” Sadler said.

Stapleton, 59, went missing after leaving her home to go to a laundromat. She was found nude in some woods near White County nearly two weeks after her disappearance. Autopsy records showed Stapleton had been strangled, with deep scratches on her chest and a wad of cotton in her throat.

“There may be some painful things in the file,” Bates said. “I’m prepared for that. I just want to know. I just feel that the truth is always better than the lie.”


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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