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  • LaDonna Humphrey

Setting the Record Straight

I thought it would be fitting that my first blog post would include the afterword from my third book, Connected by Fate.

Stepping into the public eye, especially in the pursuit of justice for those silenced by crime, is akin to navigating the unpredictable waters of a vast and often tumultuous sea. The journey, while noble, is seldom smooth, marked by the rise and fall of public opinion and the occasional tempest of dissent. It is within this complex landscape that, as I write this chapter, I have found myself.

Encountering opposition has always accompanied me like a silent shadow along my journey. However, the recent rise of factions driven by hostility has introduced a new level of challenge. These are not merely individuals with contrasting opinions, but cohesive groups bound by disdain, often vocal and unyielding in their attempts to thwart my endeavors. Their onslaught has been relentless, prompting me to confront this head-on within the concluding pages of my book as my only viable recourse. Early on in my work on the Witt case, the Fort Smith Police Department, recognizing my expertise and the critical need for modern technological intervention, entrusted me with invaluable video evidence. This footage, a silent

witness to the unresolved narratives of the case, was archaic in its current form, its secrets veiled by the limitations of outdated technology. Understanding its potential to cast light on the darkest corners of the investigation, I offered to take on the significant task of updating the crime scene footage to newer technology. This was not just a technical upgrade but a move meant to ensure the evidence could speak its truth more clearly.

However, within the intricate web of professional alliances and rivalries, not all eyes viewed this entrusted role with respect and understanding. Among my team, one figure stood out, not for her contributions to the case but for the shadows of envy and discontent that seemed to follow her. This woman, seemingly driven by a complex web of personal grievances and professional jealousy, has viewed my role through a distorted lens of suspicion and

resentment. One chilling morning, as the team gathered to discuss the progress of their efforts our progress, we discovered that she had unleashed the tempest of her rage within the walls of the Fort Smith Police Department. With accusations as sharp as ice, she alleged that I had stolen the video evidence. The words, fueled by an unfounded jealous rage, hung heavy in the air as she tried to cast a pall of doubt and uncertainty over my integrity and the team’s morale. Yet, the truth, steadfast and unmarred by the tumult of human emotions, lay in the clear facts of the situation. I am far from the thief she painted me to be. The truth is that our efforts to update the video footage to newer technology was the linchpin in a critical endeavor sanctioned by the highest echelons of the Fort Smith Police Department. The project to modernize the crime scene footage was not only approved by law enforcement, but was also supported financially by my team, underlining our commitment to shedding light on the truth.

Upon the completion of this critical task, I then took the next decisive step. Understanding the importance of transparency and collaboration in such intricate investigations, I arranged for both the original and the updated footage to be handed over to the lead on Melissa’s unsolved case at the time–Detective Troy Williams. My commitment to facilitating a smooth investigative process did not stop at merely handing over the footage. In an era where technology could bridge gaps and expedite justice, I also proposed an innovative plan to ensure that the footage was not only accessible but also easily reviewable by the key stakeholders. A private YouTube channel became the chosen medium—–a secure digital space

where barriers to access were meticulously dismantled, ensuring that the footage was readily available to both my team and the law enforcement officers dedicated to the case.

This digital repository was no ordinary YouTube channel. It was a fortress of confidentiality, its gates opened only to those who were directly involved in peeling back the layers of the Witt case. The creation of the private YouTube channel has been a breakthrough, a critical move orchestrated to ensure that the updated footage was accessible only to those directly involved in the Witt case. The agreement was clear and binding: the content, both the videos and any still images derived from them, was restricted exclusively to my documentary team and law

enforcement personnel. This safeguard was put in place not just as a measure of security, but as a testament to the trust and responsibility bestowed upon my team by the Fort Smith Police Department. The decision to use such a platform was strategic, enabling Detective Williams

and his team to view the footage at their convenience, to pause, rewind, and dissect every frame with the precision that the case demanded.

As the footage went live on this secure channel, it marked a significant milestone in the investigation. The grainy, flickering images of the past were transformed into clear, accessible evidence, their silent narratives now whispering truths that had the potential to steer the

direction of the case. Yet, within every story of progress and dedication, there often lies a twist of fate—a moment that tests the very foundations of trust and integrity. And for me and

my team, this moment came with a startling betrayal. This woman, whose envy had previously clouded her judgment, found herself at a crossroads. Her continuous outlandish assumptions about the case, coupled with her inability to collaborate constructively, led to her inevitable dismissal from my team. This decision, though difficult, was necessary to maintain the integrity and focus of the investigation for our documentary.

Fueled by resentment and a desire to retaliate, this woman chose a path of deception. In a dramatic turn, she approached law enforcement, spinning a tale far removed from reality. She claimed that the sacred agreement had been breached, that the evidence had not only been stolen but had been shown to dozens of people outside the agreed-upon circle. This accusation sent shockwaves through the team and law enforcement. The trust that had been carefully built, the progress that had been made, was suddenly under threat. Faced with these serious allegations, the Fort Smith Police Department was compelled to scrutinize the situation closely. The storm of accusations reached a crescendo, compelling law enforcement to call for a meeting that would bring me face-to-face with detectives in Fort Smith.

The gravity of this the situation was not lost on me; the very foundation of my work and my team’s integrity were at stake. Yet, amidst the swirling doubts and the weight of accusations, my resolve was unshaken. During the meeting, the first thing I did was address the elephant in the room—the conflict with this woman that had escalated beyond professional disagreements and had culminated in her dismissal from the team. I provided a detailed account, supported by documentation, of the events leading up to our falling out. This narrative was crucial, not only in shedding light on the motivations behind her allegations but also in framing the context in which they were made. The documents painted a picture of a disagreement rooted in unprofessional conduct and a risk to the integrity of the project, leading to an unavoidable but justified separation. The crux of my defense, however, lay in the evidence surrounding the handling and dissemination of the updated footage. With meticulous detail, I presented logs and records that unequivocally showed the footage’s

viewership was strictly limited to the intended audience— my team and Detective Williams’ and his colleagues.

This was a vital piece of evidence, directly countering the accusations of widespread unauthorized sharing. The YouTube channel, a pivotal element in this narrative, was scrutinized in detail. I revealed that the video, the subject of much controversy, had been viewed a mere five times before it was removed. This fact was not just a number; it was a testament to the controlled and responsible management of sensitive evidence. The

limited viewership corroborated my assertions that the footage was shared with a select few, underpinning the integrity of my team’s actions. Investigators listened intently, the weight of each piece of evidence not lost on them. The documentation of my team’s internal conflict, the meticulous viewership logs, and the restrained use of the YouTube channel spoke volumes.

They collectively painted a picture of a team that, despite internal challenges, remained steadfast in its commitment to maintaining the integrity and confidentiality of crucial evidence.

The revelations brought forth in the meeting began to dissipate the cloud of suspicion that had loomed over me and my team. The evidence was clear, tangible, and a vindication not just of my character but of the entire team’s dedication to our cause and the ethical standards we have worked hard to uphold. As the meeting drew to a close, the air of tension that had once filled the room gave way to a sense of resolution. Investigators, now equipped with a comprehensive understanding of the situation, acknowledged the baselessness of the accusations. The clarity brought forth by my presentation reaffirmed the trust between law enforcement and my team, a crucial element in our continued collaboration on the Witt case.

I emerged from that meeting with the weight of the unfounded accusations lifted from my shoulders. The presentation of evidence and the transparent account of my team’s actions had paved the way for understanding and vindication. The sense of relief that washed over me

was palpable, a momentary balm to the wounds inflicted by weeks of suspicion and doubt.

In the immediate aftermath, there was a sense of closure, a belief that the storm had passed and that the truth had unequivocally prevailed. The integrity of my work and my team’s commitment had been recognized and reaffirmed by law enforcement, a validation that felt

like a beacon of hope in the murky waters of the Witt case. However, the tranquility and sense of resolution that followed the meeting were not to last. This woman, undeterred by the outcomes of the official inquiry and seemingly fueled by a vendetta that went beyond

professional disagreements, refused to let the matter rest. Her departure from the team had left a scar, one that she wore as a badge of defiance, channeling her bitterness into a campaign of sustained malice. The realization that the vindication within the walls of the law enforcement meeting was not a panacea was sobering. The battle for truth was not confined to

presenting evidence and countering accusations in official inquiries. It extended into the community, into the hearts and minds of those who had, over time, become part of the narrative of the Witt case. Following my unwavering defense and the law enforcement meeting that vindicated my team from any wrongdoing, a fresh wave of challenges emerged.

Frustrated by her inability to smear my reputation and undermine the diligent efforts of my team, this woman has resorted to new tactics to fuel her vendetta. That is why it is imperative for me to reassure my loyal readers that this issue has once again been brought to the attention

of the Fort Smith Police Department. I recently escalated the matter to Captain Wendell Sampson, the same officer who initially addressed this situation when it first arose. You can be confident that my relationship with the Fort Smith Police Department remains strong, and I am actively pursuing measures, both civil and criminal, to definitively deal with the woman behind these false accusations.

Now that this matter has been publicly addressed, I urge you to shift your focus to the essential issue: securing justice for Melissa Ann Witt. The unidentified suspect discussed in these pages may become more prone to errors now that suspicion hangs over him. Stay vigilant for any such missteps and persevere in our joint pursuit of justice. If you possess any information, please step forward and reach out to Detective Brad Marion at the Fort Smith

Police Department. Melissa Witt deserves nothing less than full justice, and, together, let’s ensure she receives it.


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