Security footage was routinely deleted, Crestview Police Department spokesperson says
Genevieve DiNatale @cnb_DiNatale
CRESTVIEW — Calandra Stallworth, a 29-year-old mother of two, was reported missing once before she disappeared entirely in late March.
The first time her mother, Sheila Knight, reported her daughter missing was around 8:22 a.m. on March 22. That afternoon, upon hearing that she was missing, Stallworth reportedly went to the Crestview Police Department sometime between 3 to 5 p.m. to state that she was back, closing the initial case.
Laura Hudson — a Crestview resident and long-time personal friend of the Knights — has been advocating on behalf of Stallworth, pressing the media and local police for the security camera footage of her appearance at the CPD.
“I asked the CPD to (show us) the video footage of her supposedly walking in the police station and saying that she’s not missing. Still no answer from them,” Hudson said in a Facebook conversation with the News Bulletin. “We really need your help and really need answers and quick. (Calandra’s) daughters are just lost.”
The News Bulletin on July 26 submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the security camera footage; results of the FOIA indicated that the footage had been destroyed.
“Per your request of the video recording regarding Calandra Stallworth, the information is no longer available. This information has been destroyed per Florida State Statutes,” wrote Julee Tabor, an employee at the CPD who assists with FOIA requests.
Brian Hughes, the public information officer for the CPD, said there was nothing unusual about destroying security camera footage because it is destroyed automatically every two weeks.
If a request were filed within the two-week period following Stallworth’s appearance at the police department, it would have been available following a timely FOIA, he said.
“That video was just a security video and I think it recycles every two weeks,” he said. “So it’s got a period where it wipes out every two weeks. So unless there is a complaint filed or request for it during the period in which it was cycled, then they destroyed it.
“There was no need to keep it because it was a missing person who has been found because she came in and said, ‘Here I am,’ so there is no need to keep any video.”