YPD detective accused of improper conduct in double murder investigation

YPD detective accused of improper conduct in double murder investigation
YAKIMA, Wash. -- A YPD detective is on administrative leave following allegations of improper conduct for his role in a double murder investigation two years ago. KIMA was the first to obtain a copy of the internal investigation.

It began as an unusual murder case in December 2012. Michael Eby and Ryan Pederson were found dead in a car near the Yakima Canyon.

Two years later, and Detective Geoff Gronewald is on administrative leave surrounding allegations over his role in the murder investigation.

KIMA dug through more than 250 pages of the internal investigation for answers.

The report says, shortly after the murder, Gronewald developed a romantic relationship with Michael Eby's former girlfriend, Shannon Rosales. She told investigators that Gronewald shared detailed information about the active case. For instance, during a search warrant, the report says Gronewald sent hundreds of texts allegedly telling her what they had found.

When confronted in an interview, Gronewald said he didn't believe he told her any information about the case, but couldn't remember what all the texts said.

The report also revealed that, although Gronewald assisted in the murder investigation, he never submitted the required police report detailing his involvement.

The report says Gronewald had a friendship with Eby before he was killed. Eby was said to have supplied information to Gronewald, such as information that helped YPD capture Jacob Lucey, an inmate who escaped while on furlough.

Eby's role as an informant was listed as a possible motive in his murder. The report says other officers in the murder investigation suspected Gronewald of destroying evidence: namely texts that he had with Eby before he was killed.

"How much damage could something like this potentially do to the department?" asked KIMA.

"That's very subjective. It can hurt in a lot of other ways that you don't really look at, and there's integrity issues that we have to be concerned with. So, because this is not over with, there's no final determination made," said Yakima Police Chief Dominic Rizzi.

YPD is done with the investigation. The next step is for Gronewald to present his side at a hearing before the chief next month. After that point, the police chief will make his final decision on the case.

Detective Gronewald is on paid leave until his hearing next month. An attorney with the prosecutor's office reported the allegations to the police department when he suspected misconduct. It's not yet clear if Gronewald's actions will affect the murder case.

To get all sides, we reached out to the Yakima Police Patrolman's Association for a comment on the investigation. They said that, to protect Gronewald's rights, they didn't want to comment until after he's had his final hearing.