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IMPD officer charged with obstruction of justice, may be fired

November 30, 2017

A 10-year veteran of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department accused of deleting cell phone messages made to an 18-year-old female acquaintance who committed suicide has been arrested on a charge of felony obstruction of justice and has been recommended for termination from the force.

The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office announced Thursday that IMPD Office Francisco Olmos was arrested on charges of Level 6 felony obstruction of justice and Class A misdemeanor computer trespass. Meanwhile, IMPD put out a statement saying shortly before his arrest, Olmos had been suspended without pay with a recommendation for termination.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Olmos’ professional and legal trouble traces back to Nov. 2, 2015, when 18-year-old Heidi Gatliff died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Gatliff’s body was discovered by her father, Michael, who went to find her when Olmos appeared at their home and asked to speak with her.

Olmos, 31, met Gatliff in January 2015 when she was doing an ambulance ride-along as part of the IMPD Explorer Program. The two struck up a relationship and began doing ride-alongs together, and also communicated frequently while Olmos was off duty. Olmos, however, has repeatedly denied having an intimate relationship with Gatliff.

According to Olmos’ statement, as described in the probable cause affidavit, he became concerned when Gatliff called him on Nov. 2, told him she could not speak to him anymore, then told him she loved him. Olmos then sent a series of text and Snapchat messages and made phone calls to Gatliff, who never responded or answered.

After Olmos arrived at the house at 4:30 p.m. and Michael Gatliff discovered his daughter’s body, he called for Olmos to come into the room. Gatliff called 911 from his cellphone at 4:41 p.m., while Olmos asked to use Heidi’s phone to call IMPD Officer Daniel Bullman. Olmos placed the call, then placed the phone on a shelf.

Officers were dispatched to the home at 4:43 p.m., and Detective Jose Torres was among the officers who responded for the investigation into Gatliff’s death. According to the probable cause affidavit, Torres tried to access Heidi Gatliff’s phone to see who she had most recently been in contact with, but the phone was password protected. However, Heidi’s parents told Torres the phone had never been password protected, and after a series of failed attempts to discern the password, the phone locked up and was inaccessible.

The case was then referred to the Special Investigations Unit, which submitted a request to the IMPD Digital Forensic Unit on Nov. 25, 2015 for the phone to be examined. However, due to technological issues, the phone remained inaccessible until August 2017.

After examining the phone’s history, officers discovered 16 unanswered calls from Olmos; 16 unread Snapchat messages from Bullman; 10 unread, yet deleted, iMessages from Olmos; two Snapchat messages from Olmos, which were later read and deleted; one unanswered call from Bullman; one unanswered call from an unknown phone number; and one unread message from a phone number listed in Gatliff’s contacts. Each of these messages were received between 12:52 and 4:22 p.m. on the day of Gatliff’s death. She was pronounced death at 4:47 p.m.

Investigators further discovered the phone had been unlocked at 4:40 p.m., when the email, Snapchat and messages applications were accessed. A Snapchat message was opened and deleted at 4:41 p.m. Messages from Olmos, but no one else, were also deleted sometime between 4:40 p.m. and 4:44 p.m.

Finally, investigators discovered a call was made to Bullman’s phone number at 4:44 p.m., and the phone was then locked at 4:47 p.m. Michael Gatliff later told investigators he did not make any calls from his daughter’s phone, nor did he unlock the phone, delete any content or give anyone permission to delete any content.

Based on the results of the investigation, Olmos was charged with the felony and misdemeanor offenses Thursday and was subsequently arrested. An initial hearing in the matter has not yet been set.

According to IMPD, Olmos has been stripped of all police powers and will remain on unpaid leave until a final determination about his employment status is made.

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