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Family demands apology from state officials for farm search

The Kansas City Star, USA
Oct. 19, 2004
Tony Rizzo • Tuesday October 19, 2004

The attorney for a southwestern Kansas family whose farm was the object of a 10-day search is demanding an apology from state officials for the unwarranted public attention directed upon the family.

The Bitners continue to hope the government agencies responsible for this episode will issue a public statement explaining how this all got started, along with an apology Clinton B. Peterson, the Bitner family attorney said in a statement Tuesday.

Peterson leveled the brunt of his criticism at the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Kansas Attorney General’s Office, the lead agencies in the search, which reportedly was for bodies and evidence of other crimes.

The Attorney General’s Office said Monday evening that the search of the Bitner farm in Morton County had ended but that the criminal investigation was continuing.

In his statement Tuesday, Peterson accused KBI officials of lying about the use of force when they served a search warrant on the family’s land on Oct. 8.

Guns were drawn and pointed at members of the Bitner family, the statement said.

In a telephone interview, KBI director Larry Welch stood by earlier statements that agents did not brandish weapons and did not use force or intimidation with family members.

Welch also said that the KBI did nothing to embarrass or draw attention to the family. We didn’t contact the media; we didn’t publicize it, he said.

Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline has repeatedly asked the media to not speculate on the investigation and has not provided details of the case. A spokesman for Kline’s office on Tuesday declined to comment on the latest accusations by the Bitner family.

Read The Kansas City Star online

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