Friday, January 9, 1998
Police weary but determined
Body search goes fifth day

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Mike Partin
COVINGTON, Ky. - Helicopters and boats combed the Ohio River and its shorelines Thursday, the fifth exhausting day of searching for the body of a police officer.

Workers also followed the lines of debris in the river, looking for anything floating. They identified five or six spots where debris appeared to be piled up, places they'll check today, Assistant Police Chief Bill Dorsey said.

A piece of sonar equipment flown in Wednesday from Colorado still had not been used as of Thursday evening. Rain added to the current's swiftness, Lt. Col. Dorsey said, making it impossible to use the special scanner.

''I can tell you that the troops are drained,'' he said, referring to the search's effects on morale. ''We're all thinking about it.''

Officer Mike Partin, 25, on the force for 15 months, was last seen about 2:30 a.m. Sunday when he fell into the cold water from the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge linking Covington and Cincinnati. He slipped through a gap between the roadway and walkway while rushing to help another officer chase a fleeing suspect.

That suspect, Shawnta Robertson, 20, of Cincinnati, is scheduled for a hearing this morning in a Hamilton County courtroom, where he will answer allegations he violated his probation in an unrelated case. Kenton County authorities hope he can be brought across the river shortly after the court appearance so the case stemming from the chase can move through Kentucky courts.

It is possible to extradite a person to Kentucky to face misdemeanors, though it's not done routinely.

For this case, however, that process will take place if necessary, said Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson. CommonwealthAttorney Don Buring has not said whether he might add charges to Mr. Robertson's case because a police officer died.

Mr. Robertson is charged with disregarding a red light, possession of marijuana, driving under the influence and resisting arrest, a charge added in a court hearing Thursday.

Mr. Robertson did not appear at his arraignment in Covington because he had turned himself in to probation officials in Hamilton County and was in jail there.

His attorney, Ken Lawson, said Mr. Robertson feels the weight of the circumstances on his shoulders.

''It's a lot of weight on him, you know,'' the lawyer said. ''I mean, it's a tragic situation.''

Officials say they will continue to try to find their colleague - for as long as it takes.

The question may be a difficult one in another way: Officer Partin's wife of eight months, Lisa, cannot draw her husband's benefits until he is legally considered dead. If his body is not found readily, a death certificate can be sought by filing a petition in circuit court.

Thursday's report

Rain slows search for officer

Wednesday's report

Pro divers added to search

Tuesday's report

Officer's family grieves at river
Bridge gap has a purpose
Borgman cartoon
Police keep taking risks for our sake Karen Samples column

Monday's report

What happened(118k gif)
Search fails to find officer
Tristate police suffer another blow
Rookie looked, acted like vet