Detroit police chief concerned about detectives' strategy to try to solve a murder

It was a release from Crime Stoppers reading, "Have you seen Lisa Maison?" 

Police said they were looking for leads and Crime Stoppers was willing to give a $2,500 reward for information that lead to finding Maison.

After we aired the report on Friday, Fox 2 viewers said they knew where she was -- and pointed us to Lisa Maison's online obituary. Maison was not missing at all.

"Ms. Maison was found on the east side on Phillips Street on February 22, early in the morning," says Captain Eric Decker from the Detroit Police Department.

So was this a mistake? 

"The information came more as a missing person than a homicide investigation," according to Decker.

Or was this a calculated way to get the public to talk?  

Maison was found shot in the back of the head, but who and where remain a mystery.

"We can track Ms. Maison back to the downtown area just a few blocks from here approximately 8 o'clock on February 20, getting off the Greyhound bus. From there we are not sure how she made it to the east side," Decker says. 

Police say they left out information on purpose.

"The fact the Ms. Maison is deceased was not released; that was intentional. We have a higher instance of citizen response - or, possibly a higher instance of citizen response - when it's more of a, maybe a missing person investigation of specific whereabouts. Once you throw out this as a homicide investigation, it could set people back and they may be reluctant to call," says Decker.

But the tactic raises serious concerns when it comes to trust.

"If you are saying this about one case, how many other cases might there be? What is your response to that?" FOX 2's Dave Spencer asks Decker. 

"I would say, this is certainly a rarity. In my time in homicide it's probably the only time that something like that has been released that it's not clearly a homicide investigation," Decker says.

Before deciding to go this route, detectives did talk with the victim's family, getting their blessing to leave out the part about the homicide.

"The facts are that. I mean, that is the information that we are looking at: Ms. Maison's timeline after February 20th," says Decker. "We just didn't put the end time on that, or specifically say that it was a homicide investigation." 

"You say you are not out to deceive, but there is a clear deception. It was just an intentional deception trying to garner information," Spencer says to Decker. 

"Again, it's semantics," says Decker. "Intentional deceive - I don't know if that's a fair and accurate depiction. The information is the same. We're looking for information after February 20th. The end result? I'm not sure if everyone needs to know that."

As for Crime Stoppers, which distributed the release, FOX 2 was told they did so at the direction of Detroit Police Department.

"The fact that we didn't release that it was homicide investigation, I think that was a tactical decision and probably the right tactical decision," says Decker.

Chief James Craig is responding to the decision. He says in a statement to FOX 2, 

"I am deeply disappointed. I have some concerns. I don't support the strategy that a person is 'missing' when they are deceased. This was an independent decision to put this out. I do like the fact that the family was at least made aware of the strategy. I want to make sure that people still trust the police. I take pride in the community's trust in the department."

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