Justice Denied: Louisville Woman’s Unsolved Attack Raises Questions about Detective Work

Louisville, Ky. – In December 2018, Mary Spalding, 72, experienced a traumatic event that left her feeling unsafe and without closure. The attack occurred as she was preparing for work, and when she went to her basement, she was assaulted from behind by an unknown assailant. Struck with a metal object, she was left bruised and battered, prompting a call to her sister, who then contacted emergency services. Despite the absence of forced entry, Spalding was left shaken and seeking justice.

Detective Deidre Mengedoht took lead on the investigation, instilling hope in Spalding that the perpetrator would be caught. Tragically, on Christmas Eve of the same year, Mengedoht lost her life in a collision involving her parked police cruiser during a traffic stop. With the case transferred to different detectives, Spalding faced continued challenges with communication and lack of progress in identifying suspects.

Frustrated by the lack of progress, Spalding filed a complaint with Louisville’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Following their investigation, significant discrepancies and issues were identified in how the Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) handled Spalding’s case. It was revealed that essential evidence was mishandled, suspects were not properly questioned, and investigative procedures were flawed, raising questions about the overall conduct of the investigation.

The OIG’s report highlighted shortcomings in evidence collection, suspect interviews, and overall case management within the LMPD. Despite suspicions pointing towards Spalding’s ex-fiancĂ©, authorities failed to follow up on critical leads and conduct thorough investigations. The mishandling of evidence, including DNA testing and blood analysis, further compounded the challenges in seeking justice for Spalding.

Inspector General Edward Harness emphasized the need for improved investigative practices within the LMPD, recommending better evidence handling, enhanced case management, and reduced caseloads for detectives. While the OIG’s recommendations aim to address the shortcomings identified in Spalding’s case, the effectiveness of implementing these changes within the department remains uncertain.

Spalding’s case serves as a poignant example of the complexities and shortcomings in investigative procedures, underscoring the importance of thorough and diligent law enforcement practices. As she continues her quest for justice, the challenges and obstacles she faces highlight the need for accountability and transparency in criminal investigations.