Saturday, April 4, 1998
'Life is really lonely now'
Officer's wife awaits discovery of body

BY JANE PRENDERGAST
The Cincinnati Enquirer

partin
Lisa Partin looks at a picture of her late husband, Covington Police Officer Mike Partin.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |

TAYLOR MILL - The temperature of the Ohio River on Friday was 55 degrees.

Partin
Mike Partin
Not many people would have reason to know that. But Lisa Partin does. For her, the number indicates when she might reasonably expect to be able to bury her husband.

The love of her life, Covington Police Officer Mike Partin, fell into freezing water early Jan. 4. Helping another officer chase a man, he slipped through an open space on the Clay Wade Bailey Bridge. He was 25 and an officer for just 15 months.

The water was frigid then, three months ago today. It is warming now. And the warmer it is, the more likely it is that Officer Partin's remains will surface.

Those are the hard facts of life now for this 29-year-old widow. She has planned his funeral, but waits for word there's finally a body to bury.

''Life is really lonely now,'' Mrs. Partin said Friday afternoon, sitting in a black leather chair in the living room of her apartment, the same chair she barely got out of for days after her husband never came home.

''I miss him so much,'' she said. ''He taught me so much. He read poetry to me. He was so literate. He just wasn't ordinary.''

Mrs. Partin agreed to talk for a variety of reasons. She was ready to. She wanted to praise the grand jury's indictment last week of Shawnta Robertson, the man her husband was helping chase when he fell into the water. She wanted to thank the Kentucky General Assembly for legislation that makes it a felony to flee a police officer.

''It has his name on it,'' she said. ''And it says that if you're going to run from a police officer, you're going to pay the penalty for it.''

She also wanted to squelch some particularly nasty rumors.

''We don't have Mike's body,'' she said, shaking her head in amazement that anyone would think such a thing. ''We don't have a piece of Mike's body, not his arm or his leg.

''And there's no insurance scam. There's not enough money in the world to go through this.''

Through a greeting card and note, she has formed an initial bond with Linda Pope, the wife of Cincinnati police officer Daniel Pope, who was shot to death a month before Officer Partin fell. She hopes they can get together sometime, when the hurt isn't so new.

Mrs. Partin talked about the man with whom she would be celebrating one year of marriage later this month. They married April 26, 1997, at his church, St. Timothy's Episcopal in Anderson Township. He wanted the tradition and the religion of a church ceremony with lots of people.

That's the kind of guy he was, she said - the kind who believed in tradition, God, respect and discipline. All that meshed to make him a natural, she said, for police work - a job he had wanted since he was a boy.

Introduced by her mother, the two went dancing on their first date Oct. 15, 1994, and knew almost immediately they were meant for each other.

In marrying her, Officer Partin took on the job of helping raise her daughter from a previous marriage, Sara, 11.

''A lot of men would never do that,'' she said. ''I had baggage. But he took the responsibility. And he loved Sara very much.''

Sara was cleaning off the dining room table one day recently. Mrs. Partin noticed she was spending extra time cleaning the spot where her stepfather sat. She asked her daughter why.

''It just broke my heart,'' Mrs. Partin said. ''She told me, 'I really miss the man that used to sit here.' ''