By Ellen Wulfhorst
(Reuters) – A Philadelphia police homicide detective was arrested on Thursday and accused of hiding and protecting his girlfriend when she was being sought for murder, authorities said.
Detective Ronald Dove was indicted on charges he buried evidence and helped his lover, Erica Sanchez, flee the area when she was a murder suspect in 2013, Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said in a statement.
Sanchez was wanted in connection with the death of Cesar Vera, who was found stabbed once in the heart, in an after-hours club in Philadelphia. Sanchez was Vera’s estranged lover, the district attorney said.
To help Sanchez, Dove allegedly bought her a new cell phone, had her car cleaned and stored out of sight and drove her to a motel in Rochester, New York, where she hid for several weeks, he said.
He returned to work in Philadelphia, where his colleagues were hunting for Sanchez, he said.
During that time, Dove also took Sanchez to Niagara Falls, where they toured the sights, he said.
Police did not arrest Sanchez until she surrendered more than five weeks after Vera’s murder, and due to Dove’s alleged actions, a search of her car and apartment turned up no physical evidence, he said.
“This is the kind of case that can shake the public’s confidence in the system,” Williams said in the statement. “An experienced investigator used his specialized knowledge to prevent his own colleagues from apprehending a murder suspect.”
Dove was indicted on charges of obstructing justice, conspiracy and related offenses. Similar charges were brought against Sanchez, who also is charged with murder.
(Editing by Eric Walsh)