According to reports, the chief prosecutor for Marion County, Kansas, withdrew a search warrant issued against a local newspaper last week and returned all seized items. The raid sparked outrage, especially after an elderly publisher died of a heart attack after a home raid.
Joan Meyer, co-owner of Marion County Record, died at her home after hours of shock and grief. The Record claimed that she was in good health for her age.
In a statement, prosecutor Joel Ensey said that the review of the police warrant request established an insufficient link between the alleged crime and the location searched and confiscated items.
Employee computers and personal cell phones, including a newspaper file service, were seized, according to the statement.
Eric Meyer told media outlets that he was with his mother at her home. They watched as police removed her computer and other devices.
The Marion Police Department raid followed a complaint from a local restaurant owner. At a council meeting, Kari Newell accused the Record of illegally gathering information about her.
Eric Meyer shared it with local media and wrote in a Record article that Newell, a restaurant owner, was trying to get a liquor license and was convicted of DUI and driving without a license. But Meyer said he decided not to print the story. Instead, he called the police.
But that backfired, as the police began an investigation with a search warrant to find evidence of identity theft and criminal use of computers.
Newell blamed the paper for abusing her privacy and unlawfully acquiring data about her, while the newspaper has countered that it got data about her through a source, then confirmed the legitimacy through freely available online public records.
During a city committee meeting, Newell confirmed the charges that she had a DUI and drove after the suspension of her license.