I thoguht I might finish this thread by showing just how much of the US government is run by Dyncorp...and I suppose I will get around to that.
But...the BIG news in my area this morning is this....
Cho (mental) health records found
RICHMOND -- Virginia State Police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the discovery of Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho's missing mental health records.
Former Cook Counseling Center Director Robert Miller returned Cho's records and those of several other students to the university July 16 after finding them in his home, according to a memorandum from the university's legal counsel to the counselor for Gov. Tim Kaine. The memorandum was released Wednesday.
The recovered documents are expected to contain full details of Cho's interactions with Tech counseling staff, university spokesman Mark Owczarski said.
It's unclear how Miller came to remove the files from the counseling center. It has been a long-standing policy that all files remain at the counseling center, Owczarski said.
The discovery has raised new questions about the handling of information related to the April 16, 2007, rampage. Cho killed 32 students, faculty and staff in West Ambler Johnston Hall and Norris Hall before turning the gun on himself.
Tech officials have turned over copies of the records to the state police, Owczarski said.
Authorities will investigate the disappearance to determine if laws were broken, Kaine said. If they find evidence of a crime, it will be turned over to the Montgomery County commonwealth's attorney, state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said.
State police served a search warrant on the university shortly after the shootings seeking treatment records of Cho, who had a history of behavioral problems. But the counseling center's staff could not find those records.
Tech officials now believe the records were removed more than a year before the shootings, when Miller transferred from the counseling center, according to the memo from Mary Beth Nash, the university's legal counsel.
Miller was transferred to a counseling position in the human resources department in December 2005, Owczarski said. Citing personnel matters, he declined to say why Miller was transferred.
The disappearance has been a source of consternation for victims' families and a state panel that investigated the shootings.
State and university officials are seeking consent from Cho's family and the administrator of his estate to make the records public, but Kaine also noted that the information could be obtained by subpoena.
Kaine said he intends to have the information added to a public archive of records related to the shootings.
The families of two deceased victims, Julia Kathleen Pryde and Erin Nicole Peterson, have lawsuits pending in Montgomery County Circuit Court against the state, university, the New River Valley Community Services Board and Cho's estate. Miller and several Tech officials are named as defendants in the case.
The remaining victims' families signed an $11 million settlement offered by the state.
Robert Hall, an attorney for the Pryde and Peterson families, said the discovery of Cho's records raises questions about why Miller removed them in the first place.
"Why did he take any patient records home, and why this kid?" Hall said in a telephone interview Wednesday.
"How could he not have been aware of the state police search warrant and the commentary in the governor's [panel] report about the disappearance of these records?" Hall said. "I guess the last question is why now? Why did he find these records now?"
He said the removal of the records was "probably in violation of state laws and regulations in terms of the maintenance of mental health records."
When asked by Tech officials after the shootings if he knew the whereabouts of Cho's missing records, Miller said he did not, according to Owczarski.
Miller retired from Tech in 2008 and now is an assistant professor at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine. He did not answer the door at his Blacksburg home Wednesday, where construction debris and bulging black garbage bags littered the front porch. Nor did Miller return phone or e-mail messages seeking comment.
Roger O'Dell of Roanoke County, whose son Derek was wounded in the shootings, said he had assumed the records "were long gone."
"It makes you wonder what the motivation was," O'Dell said. "It could have been legitimate. But if it was legitimate, he should have racked his brain about two years ago.
"You wonder what else maybe could have happened that we don't know about," O'Dell said. "And it would make you question the whole legitimacy of the counseling provided at the Cook Counseling Center if it was provided under the leadership of someone who would do something like this."
Andy Goddard, the father of wounded student Colin Goddard, said the most important question may be answered by the medical file: "How disturbed was he at the time and was it clear to the individuals. And if it was, what did they recommend at the time?"
Goddard said families received an e-mail from the governor's office about an "important announcement" Tuesday night. It didn't mention the records, and Goddard said he was shocked when he heard the news Wednesday.
To him, it's just another twist in an ever-changing story about the shootings and their cause.
"It seems there's no end to it," he said. "We thought we'd come to an end with the panel report. And then the settlement revealed new stuff and we found out there were things wrong with the panel report."
Meetings with police and revelations from lawyers produced still more information and changes to the narrative, he said. But it will all be worth it if it can provide some closure and a clear picture of what happened and why, so that others can learn from it.
"For a lot of people the only thing that could come out of it good is teaching other people to avoid future pitfalls," Goddard said. "They aren't going to get their kids back like I did. The bottom line is we need people to not trip over the same things that Virginia Tech tripped over."
In its voluminous report on the shootings, an eight-member panel appointed by Kaine found that the counseling center and a team of officials that dealt with troubled students failed to provide needed support and services to Cho in late 2005 and early 2006.
The panel blamed the failures on inadequate resources, faulty interpretation of privacy laws and passivity and also noted that records of Cho's "minimal treatment" at the counseling center were missing.
Staff writer Greg Esposito and news researcher Belinda Harris contributed to this report