BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana State Police have concluded no probable cause exists to criminally charge West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Mike Cazes after the WAFB 9NEWS Investigators discovered both an inmate performing work at his home and the sheriff using a parish-owned van for his personal use.
The sheriff admits he left the inmate, a convicted sex offender with a history of running from police, alone in the custody of his wife for about 90 minutes while he went to lunch, according the Louisiana State Police report leaked to WAFB-TV Friday afternoon.
The sheriff, who admits he paid the inmate “35 to 40 dollars” to work at his home, refused to be interviewed by state police as part of their investigation.
A parish prosecutor said Friday, since state police found no potential charges, the criminal investigation into the matter has ended.
State Police Investigator Bill Cox, who conducted the LSP probe, relied on an interview the sheriff previously gave to the Louisiana Department of Corrections regarding the matter. “WAFB broadcast a news report on or about March 12, 2019, in which they made the allegation public,” Cox wrote in his report.
The investigative team from WAFB-TV discovered the inmate, illegal immigrant Elmer Castillo, working at the sheriff’s home in Port Allen on March 8.
Castillo, a state inmate assigned to the WBR parish prison, was serving time for sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. Castillo told WAFB, during an on-camera interview at the end of the sheriff’s driveway, that he was doing work for the sheriff but he did not know where the sheriff was.
The sheriff says after WAFB interviewed the inmate outside his home, he snuck the inmate out the rear of his home and had a parish employee stop by to bring the inmate back to jail, the report says. “This was accomplished by Sheriff Cazes by having the (parish prison) vehicle pick up Castillo on the street behind the residence and having Castillo exit the residence through a rear gate,” the report says.
The WAFB investigative team did not see Sheriff Cazes at any point during the time WAFB was staked outside his home, from 11:30am to 5pm, on the day in question.
State Police did not request an interview with any member of the WAFB staff as part of the probe. Captain J. B. Slaton, Louisiana State Police (LSP) Public Affairs Commander, would not discuss specifics of the report when reached by phone Friday.
“The process is still ongoing and the report is still under review by the district attorney’s office,” Slaton said. “The Louisiana State Police stands by its investigation. The report speaks for itself and the District Attorney supports our findings.”
However, the district attorney’s office said the initial state police report, which that office has already reviewed, is all that is required.
“We’re basing our case on the investigative report, said First Assistant District Attorney Scott Stassi. “If law enforcement finds no criminal matter or criminal intent, there’s nothing further for us to look into.”
The state police investigator, Cox, interviewed the inmate and says the inmate says the sheriff paid him for the work he performed and that he only worked there for one day.