Detective Demetra Hammons was named one of HPOU’s Investigators of the Month in April after her expert investigation of the aggravated robbery of a woman in the 12400 block of Oxford Park Drive.
Hammons volunteered for the investigative assignment after hearing the facts.
On Nov. 24 the victim was simply walking to her vehicle in an apartment complex parking lot when four young males descended upon her, held a handgun to her head and demanded her purse. They ran off with her cell phone and Ipad.
The entire incident was captured on the video of the apartment complex’s security system. Apartment officials supplied the victim with a copy of the video, which she supplied to Channel 2. The television channel ran the video on its Nov. 29 newscasts.
Seeing the video on Channel 2, Hammons volunteered to investigate the case. She wasted no time.
Sgt. Tony Mora explained what then happened.
“Using her well-honed investigative experience, instincts and knowledge, Detective Hammons obtained a copy of the video and first went to the intermediate school nearest to the location of this incident, estimating that there was a good probability that at least one of the youthful suspects had attended an area school.
“Detective Hammons met with the staff of Budewig Intermediate School and reviewed the video from this incident with them. She was then able to develop the identity of one fuspect as a 15-year-old freshman, who was now attending Elsik High School.”
In Sgt. Mora’s words, Hammons used her “natural compassion and empathy” to get the confidence of the suspect’s mother. In a subsequent interview in his mother’s presence, the suspect confessed to the crime and named the other three suspects. The detective soon used the same process to get a confession from a second suspect.
On Dec. 1, Hammons met with the victim, who identified two other suspects. Hammons worked with the parents of the other suspects and eventually got the cooperation from all the parents involved. They surrendered their sons to Westside Station without incident.
Mora said, “Detective Hammons’ expertise, intuition and professionalism were clearly demonstrated in her investigation into this incident.”
The sergeant said her follow-up work after volunteering to take the case “exemplifies the public’s expectations and image of the dedicated public servant.”