GARY, Ind. – Police radio recordings show officers were told that two teens were missing from a wrecked car, although the youths' bodies weren't found until a relative went to the site hours later.
The Sept. 15 crash injured two teenagers and killed Brandon Smith and Dominique Green, both 18. The injured teens were taken to a hospital, but officers said they found no sign of anyone else and had the wrecked vehicle towed away.
Arthur Smith found the bodies of his son and Green in the nearby brush when he went to the site about six hours later. "It took me all of five minutes to find the boys dead," he said. Police have said the bodies were 60 feet or more from the car.
Dispatch recordings obtained from the police department by the Post-Tribune show that at least one of the survivors told officers Smith and Green were in the car when it crashed.
"He says he had two other guys with him," an unidentified officer said on the recording around 1:45 a.m. "They might still be in the car. You might want to check."
Another officer responded: "Yeah, I'm headed there right now."
A few minutes later, the recording has an exchange between officers.
"He said if they're not in the car, then they had to have gotten out on their own and walked off," one said.
"If you've seen the vehicle, I don't know how anyone would have walked off," another responded.
Police Cmdr. Sam Roberts said last week that the two survivors told officers they might have dropped off their two friends earlier. Roberts declined to comment Wednesday on the dispatch recording or the investigation into how officers handled the scene.
However, the driver, Darius Moore, says he told officers "over and over" that his friends were missing after the car flipped and smashed through a guard rail before settling into a ditch.
"They left them out there to die, that's how I feel about it. I don't think nobody ever searched for them," Moore said last week while recovering at home.
Police have said Moore and passenger DeAndre Anderson, both 17, had alcohol in their systems at the time of the crash.
The Lake County coroner's office has said Smith and Green died instantly, but the families have sought independent autopsies.