Crime & Courts

Wichita police close investigation of Sen. Michael O’Donnell

State Sen. Michael O’Donnell told The Eagle that he brought alcohol to a recent 21st birthday party attended by members of a Wichita State University fraternity.
State Sen. Michael O’Donnell told The Eagle that he brought alcohol to a recent 21st birthday party attended by members of a Wichita State University fraternity. File photo

The Wichita Police Department said it has closed its investigation into whether Sen. Michael O’Donnell, R-Wichita, served beer to a Wichita State University student before she turned 21.

The police department opened the investigation after The Eagle reported first-hand accounts from O’Donnell and the student, Bailey Shupe.

Lt. James Espinoza of the Wichita Police Department would not answer follow-up questions about a statement he sent out regarding the investigation.

“The Wichita Police Department conducted an investigation into a possible misdemeanor crime being committed by Senator Michael O’Donnell,” the statement said. “The Investigations Division closed the case due to lack of evidence and elements of a crime.

“Investigators learned of a possible witness involved in the allegations involving Senator Michael O’Donnell. Investigators attempted to contact this person through a family member. The potential witness informed investigators through the family member that she would not be making a statement on the topic.

“If any evidence or information is discovered at a later time, the department will review the information and determine if the investigation needs to be reopened.

“The Wichita Police Department will have no further comment.”

O’Donnell did not return calls Tuesday from The Eagle.

Democrat Lynn Rogers, the Wichita school board member seeking the Senate District 25 seat held by O’Donnell, said the allegations remain “totally troubling.” He expressed concern that some potential witnesses, who spoke to The Eagle and other media outlets, may not have been interviewed by the police.

Shupe – for whom O’Donnell said he bought the beer – did not return calls Tuesday. Colby Rankin, Shupe’s cousin, who said he was also at the party, did not return calls Tuesday.

Gabriella Dunn: 316-268-6400, @gabriella_dunn

Bryan Lowry: 785-296-3006, @BryanLowry3

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