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A Tennessee cop is accused of kidnapping and killing a man while on duty.
Patric Ferguson, 29, an officer with the Memphis Police Department was arrested and charged with the kidnapping and murder of Robert Howard, 30, the police department stated in a Saturday press release.
Howard’s girlfriend had called the department on Wednesday evening to report him missing; she said he was last seen one day earlier. She had downloaded an app that helped her track her boyfriend’s cellphone, which she found. However, there was no sight of Howard.
Investigators determined that Howard was “taken” from a home.
“After a review of the evidence in this case, it was found that Ferguson, acting on his own accord, armed himself with his personal handgun, encountered the victim outside the residence, and forced the victim in the rear of a squad car,” the press release stated, alleging that he drove him to another location a third of a mile away where he shot him.
Howard’s body was recovered by Memphis’ Wolf River bridge.
The two men knew each other, police noted. The exact nature of their relationship is unclear, as is a motive.
“Additionally, Patric Ferguson is a Memphis Police Officer and was on duty when this incident occurred,” the press release stated, adding that he has been employed with the department since 2018.
Ferguson allegedly searched how to clean up crime scenes and destroy DNA evidence, according to an affidavit obtained by CNN. The affidavit also alleges that evidence suggests the office purchased cinder blocks and chains in an attempt to “hide evidence.”
Joshua Rogers, 28, an acquaintance of Ferguson, allegedly “assisted Ferguson with relocating Mr. Howard's body after he was killed,” police said.
Ferguson has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree murder in perpetration of aggravated kidnapping, especially aggravated kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, and fabricating and tampering with evidence. He has also been “relieved of duty,” according to the department that employed him.
Rogers has been charged with accessory after the fact, abuse of a corpse, and fabricating and tampering with evidence.
Ferguson is being held without bond. Rogers was released on a $25,000 bond.
It’s unclear if either men have lawyers who can speak on their behalf.
“No one is above the law,” Memphis Police Department Director Michael Rallings said in the press release. “Knowing that a Memphis Police Officer, someone who took an oath to protect and serve, made the decision to commit this horrific crime is devastating. His actions were not that of a law enforcement officer and should not reflect on fellow officers.”
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