WARSAW — Documents were filed with the Kosciusko County Courts by Indiana State Police on March 2 which detail the purpose of the search warrant, through an affidavit.
Submitted by Aaron J. Rypma, Indiana State Police, it notes the affidavit submitted was in support of an order for tablets, laptop computers and cell phones issued in connection with employment (or election) by the sheriff’s department. Rypma states on Aug. 4, 2015, ISP assumed the investigatory duties associated with a case in Kosciusko County involving Mark Soto, Kevin Bronson and Aaron Rovenstine after the court appointed E. Nelson Chipman, Marshall County Prosecutor, as the special prosecutor in the matter.
All three individuals were indicted by a grand jury, with those indictments opened and publicly released on Feb. 29.
Rypma states based on his prior experience with law enforcement, it is common practice for law enforcement agencies to issue cell phones, tablets or laptop computer to employees. A subpoena was issued to Verizon Wireless in 2015. ISP investigators learned a cell phone used by Rovenstine, had as its subscriber, County of Kosciusko. Individuals: Don Wiesehan, Aaron Rovenstine, Matt Rapp, JD Ayres, Chris Rager, Mike Speigle, Josh Spangle, Todd Sautter, Chris McKeand and Joe Mooney, utilize the department/county-issued equipment during investigations. These devices are paid for by the citizens of Kosciusko County.
Rypma became aware of conversations between Warsaw Police Department personnel and Rovenstine, where Rovenstine made threats to Warsaw Police Department Detective Paul Heaton. Both Heaton and Warsaw Police Chief Scott Whitaker asked Rovenstine that Bronson’s calls from the county jail and visits be recorded. Both also requested the stopping of all Bronson’s special privileges while that department completed its criminal investigation.
Documents state a pattern of noncompliance with the request “to cease a pattern of unrecorded and undocumented telephone calls and meetings between Soto and Bronson” at the jail were authorized by Rovenstine as sheriff. Requests by Heaton and Whitaker were made on March 20, 2015, and July 2, 2015. Within hours of the request to Rovenstine on March 20, 2015, Bronson made another unrecorded telephone call to an alleged victim in the case.
On May 8, 2015, that same victim recorded a call from Bronson and supplied a copy of the recording to Heaton.
At a later date, the victim provided his cell phone records to the ISP to corroborate the incident. Despite request by Warsaw Police to Rovenstine to end all unrecorded and undocumented visits or phone calls by Bronson from the jail, the calls continued. On Aug. 10, 2015, Bronson was transferred into the Marshall County Sheriff where his telephone calls and visits are monitored and recorded.
Rypma notes, in the document, Rovenstine made two threats to Heaton. The first threat was made on or about July 2, 2015, in which Rovenstine allegedly told Heaton that he (Rovenstine) can “paint a story” that makes Heaton look like a “crook.” The second threat was made on Aug. 14, 2015, when Rovenstine told Heaton that he has investigators too and that Heaton doesn’t want “World War III.”
ISP obtained information through interviews on Oct. 14, 2015, with Mike Speagle, Joe Mooney and Chris Rager, confirming that an investigation was launched against Heaton and that investigation did not begin until after threats were made to Heaton by Rovenstine. Additionally Rager also disclosed the investigation was conduct related and not criminal.
Todd Sautter told ISP on Nov. 17, 2015, some of his investigators, in which there are eight total, were participating in an ongoing investigation into Heaton. The ISP investigation has documented five of the county detectives were cooperating in an investigation into Heaton that began sometimes between July 30, 2015 and Oct. 5, 2015.
Special Prosecutor Chipman had requests to the sheriff’s department to produce documents associated with the months-long investigation into Heaton. The investigation into Heaton allegedly continues. “Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department detectives have likely utilized their department cell phones, tablets and laptop computers to contact and communicate with people as well as prepare responsive documents to the special prosecutor’s request.”
The document provides an example of a recorded interview where Rapp provided his cell number to a witness, Michael Walls, after Rapp asked Walls to search an area that Rapp would not have had legal authority to search, absent consent or a valid search warrant. Rapp allegedly asked Walls to call or text if he “gets” or “finds out” something. Rypma states Information contained in the cell phone provider’s records is material and critical to the prosecution of the indicted target. The document also states information contained in the devices’ memories and processors likely contains communications between Soto, Rovenstine, Wiesehan as well as communications between Rovenstine and detectives in relation to the retaliatory investigation of Heaton.
Soto’s cell phone records indicate numerous texts to Lt. Don Wiesehan and Rovenstine.
The search warrant also requested any iTunes, email, user ID and password/passcode for each device used by the officers, which were seized.
The warrant authorized the ISP to search for and seize: all photographs and videos; complete address book; all text messages incoming and outgoing; all instant messages incoming and outgoing; owner and cell phone information; all Internet based cookies, bookmarks and sites; all call logs, made and received; all data located on any SIM card located inside or with the cellular phone; all data from any type of memory card that is placed inside or with the cellular phone contained in the listed cellular devices.