Investigator Speaks Out About Pollard Wrongful Death Verdict

It's been one week since a jury found former Pitt County Lieutenant Michelle Pollard negligent in the wrongful death case of her husband Stacey. Thursday, the investigator who led that investigation back in 2005 spoke to WITN about the verdict.

Lieutenant Paula Dance says she was relieved the day Michelle Pollard was found negligent in a court of law. She says the verdict was validation. Six years ago when Lt. Dance led the investigation into Stacey Pollard's drowning, she asked for the S.B.I. to be called in. The sheriff at the time, Mac Manning, told his deputies to continue with the case instead and the department ruled the drowning accidental. It took several months before the SBI was notified. A year later, Stacey's family filed a lawsuit against the sheriff's office and Lt.Dance says she was blamed for it and later intimidated into leaving her position. Now she's been re-hired under the new administration led by Sheriff Neil Elks, and she says with the civil case over she hopes this will not be the end of the story.

"At one point I thought it was the beginning of the end. I certainly have litigation still going on and for me. It's the principle about the thing," said Dance.

Lt. Dance filed a lawsuit against former sheriff Manning. We reached out to the attorney of Michelle Pollard, but she did not return our phone call.


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  • by David Sutton on Nov 7, 2011 at 03:00 AM
    Did anyone see that David Sutton was arrested for Simple Assault? Why wasn't this reported on? It is on the NC AOC calendar for November 15,2011
  • by what on Oct 18, 2011 at 08:38 AM
    It is amazing what you see people put on their facebook pages if you are friends with them. Dance has been posting comments (sometime on county time) about this for over a year now. You can see the bias she has. Watch your thoughts because they become words. Watch your words because they become actions. Watch your actions because they become habits. Watch your habits because they become character. Watch your character because they become destiny.
    • reply
      by Exactly on Oct 26, 2011 at 01:53 PM in reply to what
      You can see alot from social networking sites... Check out Elks facebook page and you will see more interesting associations!!!
  • by Formerly O.L.I. Location: ENC on Oct 15, 2011 at 03:41 PM
    According to past news articles and online information, suspicion wasn't aroused about Michelle's involvement in Stacy's demise, until later on. Her behavior the day of, and after Stacy's funeral, was not that of a grieving widow, but rather more of a celebration. For those readers who don't know, Michelle threw a party in the barn out back of her home, and 'entertained' some of the guests later on, in private. Investigator Dance may feel she can proceed without intimidation now, and well she should. I say, let Michelle make her own statement if she disagrees with Dance, as I mentioned in earlier posts. At least, Investigator Dance is not afraid to speak, even on camera.
    • reply
      by Get on Oct 15, 2011 at 07:34 PM in reply to Formerly O.L.I.
      Get a copy of the trial transcripts so you can get your facts straight...
    • reply
      by Clem on Oct 16, 2011 at 10:03 AM in reply to Formerly O.L.I.
      One HUGE problem with all of this stuff. Neil Elks made this issue a big part of his campaign, and he has been in office for awhile now. Paula Dance has been back working in te sheriff's office since Elks' return. Why haven't they been investigating this alleged crime since day one? What has been stopping them? I'm sure the Pollard family and their attorney provided the sheriff with every bit of info that we saw at trial. So what is the excuse that Elks has, and hasn't Dance gone after Elks if she feels so strongly about this?
      • reply
        by Formerly O.L.I. on Oct 16, 2011 at 01:48 PM in reply to Clem
        Clem, 'timing is everything' could be the reason the reopening of the case is being done now. They may have had 'hands tied' and had to wait to pursue the case further...just my take on it.
        • reply
          by Clem on Oct 17, 2011 at 01:06 AM in reply to Formerly O.L.I.
          So civil matters now takes precedence over murder investigations? What if the sheriff's office tied their own hands so as to not influence the outcome of the civil trial? If Elks office investigates and finds no reason to charge Michelle Pollard that certainly would have impacted that lawsuit.
        • reply
          by PolicePride on Oct 17, 2011 at 04:39 PM in reply to Formerly O.L.I.
          Really, Formerly O.L.I.? Is there a new political campaign brewing? Are you running? You probably think you should be because your followers would surely "demand it." Delusional. Grotesquely delusional, and, the size of your fingers pointing back at you swell as you point your shaking, crooked finger all the more at defamation and fabricated fantasy!
      • reply
        by PolicePride on Oct 17, 2011 at 04:33 PM in reply to Clem
        Clem, finally, true hope! Finally some hint that at least "some" are only now perhaps, but finally, beginning to see the Sutton-slime mirage for what it is... a fabrication designed to disparage, defame, and burn at the stake a woman whose greatest offense was to happen upon her dead husband, lifeless in the family pool. Vile character assassination, pure and simple, and worse than despicable... this Sutton miasma campaign itself is the only crime here!
    • reply
      by PolicePride on Oct 17, 2011 at 04:24 PM in reply to Formerly O.L.I.
      Well, Formerly O.L.I., or family spokesperson for the Sutton-Jerry Springer Miasma Machine, you certainly are cute and clever if not in pursuit of truth! Your sleazy "According to past news articles and online info..." ...yeah, since you know well that much of what is found in past news articles and on the Sutton "Justice4Stacey" (sorry you were so abused, Stacey) Sutton web site spewed directly from the Sutton destruction disinform, distort and fabricate campaign. And, good use of the mea culpa disclaimer quoted since you dare NOT use trial transcript that clearly showed those charges at odds with the truth and purely intended to poison the public perception. As clearly descriptive and appropriate as it is, the term "miasma" is beginning to show inadequacy in fully identifying Sutton-muck. Rejoice, Pitt County, for you must live with the profits you choose to follow!
      • reply
        by Formerly O.L.I. on Oct 19, 2011 at 10:54 AM in reply to PolicePride
        I have the right to comment, just like you. I am not a politician, nor a LEO; I'm just a very interested average citizen who has been following this lurid story like hundreds of other readers. Accusing me of being people you do not like is nothing more than your weak attempt to give weight to your garbled, false, hateful replies. My comments sure do bother you; wonder why?
        • reply
          by jmo on Oct 19, 2011 at 12:21 PM in reply to Formerly O.L.I.
          Your overuse of the word garbled is so tiresome.
      • reply
        by Formerly O.L.I. on Oct 20, 2011 at 06:23 AM in reply to PolicePride
        Then stop doing it. Grow up. Learn how to put lucid sentence structure together.
      • reply
        by Clem on Oct 20, 2011 at 07:32 AM in reply to PolicePride
        So what does this trial transcript show? Are there grounds for appeal? There is no getting around it only took jury 45 minutes to find against Michelle Pollard in that case. How does the trial transcript clear her of charges?
        • reply
          by Transcripts on Oct 20, 2011 at 09:06 AM in reply to Clem
          Transcripts tell what the media decides not to print. The transcripts don't give the one sided skewed view as has been drummed up for 6 years. For example, those who were present know that a lot of rumors were started by a scorned woman and that she did not realize that her actions would rise to all that has occurred. Which is why you should always watch what you say because you don't know how it will effect someone later. In her heat of anger she made bogus allegations.
        • reply
          by PolicePride on Oct 20, 2011 at 06:36 PM in reply to Clem
          Clem, in brief, the transcripts reveal that the M.E. saw through the Sutton "witch hunt" and used the word "miasma" to describe what Sutton was about, including in his efforts to effect change of death from "accident" to "unknown" -- which, when Sutton's miasma was finally unveiled was returned to "accident" as cause of death. The transcripts show that Sutton's star witness, the scorned woman who shaped, created, and projected the rumors latched onto and expanded by Sutton, that woman finally came forward to recant in order to "set the record straight" only to be furiously attacked by Sutton in efforts to slash and burn her character. It is unhealthy to dare to stand against Sutton, but the woman did so very nicely and convincingly. The transcripts show that, despite Sutton's public bravado, he agreed to withdraw allegations excepting a simple "negligence" in charge to the jury -- after the judge strongly suggested he do so because he would lose with no hope to win any other allegation. And, the transcript will show that the charge to the jury so portrayed "negligence" in a broad enough sense that the jury could have found Mother Teresa of not having done enough to save those she so famously helped! As for appeal.... grounds, yes. But, appeals cost money. More importantly, ask yourself, if an appeal allowed you to go through this public miasma again, would you? ...especially when you are already in bankrupcy and the public has been conditioned with six years of Sutton miasma to believe in.
        • reply
          by Clem on Oct 21, 2011 at 06:26 AM in reply to Clem
          In reply to PolicePride, why wouldn't someone go through appeal process if it gives them a chance to restore their reputation?
        • reply
          by To Clem on Oct 21, 2011 at 01:25 PM in reply to Clem
          Clem - an appeals attorney cost a lot of money. Every paper filed cost money. Every deposition cost money to the tune of $600.00 - 1000.00 each. transcripts cost anywhere from $3-5.00 a page... so a 1000 page transcript would cost roughly $3-$5000. That does not include the attorney or their paralegals cost per hour - most attorneys run $150.00 an hour or more. It is extremely expensive.
  • by ? on Oct 15, 2011 at 04:12 AM
    If you can't police yourselves then why is there an internal affairs officer?
  • by How about that on Oct 14, 2011 at 08:52 PM
    Finally after months and months of it being said that Detective Dance was fired she comes forward and says she walked away. Well it took long enough to straighten that fact out. Maybe she was to busy campaigning to let people know the facts were wrong on how she left. When you put yourself out there other trues many just walk through that open door.
    • reply
      by A shame on Oct 15, 2011 at 12:07 PM in reply to How about that
      The best thing she could of said was nothing. The next best thing she could of said was ...I let the court and jury speak for itself. I think the beginning of the end of this lawsuit is here. Now I also see why some don't care for her. She is not smarter than as 5th grader.
    • reply
      by What? on Oct 24, 2011 at 06:15 PM in reply to How about that
      Yeah. Detective Dance is now friends with David Sutton on Facebook.
      • reply
        by really on Nov 7, 2011 at 02:52 AM in reply to What?
        Did you know that David Sutton was arrested for Simple assault?
  • by says alot on Oct 14, 2011 at 06:34 PM
    If you are so great of a investigator and no one would hire you after you left PCSO. I think that says it all.
  • by around on Oct 14, 2011 at 06:19 PM
    Formerly O.L.I. Take some steps bacl and look again
    • reply
      by Formerly O.L.I. on Oct 15, 2011 at 08:04 AM in reply to around
      Get some rest; your spelling's getting tired.
  • by Wow on Oct 14, 2011 at 06:06 PM
    Defective Dance is a true disgrace. Don't "proudly" serve you department but continue to strive on what happened. Could of's, should of's, would of's. Its sad what happened but for you to go publicly about it and the Sheriff, scared lil Neil, allowed you to do it. You both need to go!!
  • by Wow on Oct 14, 2011 at 06:06 PM
    Defective Dance is a true disgrace. Don't "proudly" serve you department but continue to strive on what happened. Could of's, should of's, would of's. Its sad what happened but for you to go publicly about it and the Sheriff, scared lil Neil, allowed you to do it. You both need to go!!
  • by Really on Oct 14, 2011 at 04:38 PM
    Really.... Not so sure
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