Private Investigator Under Arrest For Intimidation
A 38-year-old Yakima woman described as a private investigator is under arrest after authorities say she intimated victims and witnesses of local homicide and assault cases.
Detective Sgt. Mike Russell with the Yakima County Sheriff's Office says Stephanie Barnes was arrested at her Yakima home on Friday. He says she was coercing statements from victims of violent crimes.
“She was trying to downplay the seriousness of what happened and even removing facts of the case to make it not so damaging for the suspects so it was going to make it tough for us to prove in court.”
Russell says she was even offering money to victims and witnesses in exchange for changing statements to make cases more difficult to prove.
Russell says Yakima Police and County Sheriff's Detectives are now reviewing a number of serious cases to determine if the suspect made any contact with those involved.
Barnes faces felony charges of intimidating, tampering and bribing a witness. She's being held on $2 million bail.