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Retired Utah cop's murder investigation a waiting game

Published April 1, 2014 10:18 pm

Sandy • Police await DNA results on evidence from the former officer's home.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Kevin Meik was a good, methodical cop.

That's how Michael Fierro remembers the police officer he supervised when they both wore Salt Lake City badges. Meik "didn't slouch away from anything," Fierro said. "If there was work to be done, he did it."

But when it comes to Meik's murder, the work is in a holding pattern.

It's frustrating for the now-retired Fierro to see a lack of publicity and progress, from an outsider's perspective, on his former brother-in-blue's homicide investigation. It's been more than two months since someone shot and killed Meik in his Sandy home on Jan. 29.

And while the investigators wait on results from a backlogged lab, the answers remain out of reach.

Sandy police sent several items from the 63-year-old man's home at 9032 S. Waters Circle (1515 East) to the state crime laboratory for forensic testing, but have yet to see the results and are waiting to move forward until they do. The detectives expected a quicker turnaround, but understand that the lab's small staff is burdened trying to keep up with the constant and growing tide of casework.

"We know they're hammered," as Sandy Police Sgt. Jon Arnold put it.

Given how long it's been since Meik was a policeman — he retired in August 1988 for medical reasons — nothing in the case so far seems to be related to his law enforcement career, Arnold said.

Meanwhile, Meik's family members no longer feel safe in their own homes, said his daughter Karen Schultz. The family had been "kind of prepared for finding him gone because of his heart issues," Schultz said, "but the murder, it's a totally different creature."

The mysteries have complicated the family's ability to mourn. Arnold understands that the past two months have not been easy for Meik's loved ones, but some investigations cannot be hurried, he said.

"Our detectives have gone through the proper steps of following up on the information they receive as they receive it. There's only so much you can do based on time restraints," Arnold said. "It is what it is. You can't rush some of those things."

Schultz wants the FBI involved, given the family's question about whether there is an Arizona angle to Meik's death. The retired cop moved to Arizona in the late 1990s before abruptly returning in 2007. He arrived in Utah having only packed for a two-week stay, but then never went back to Arizona, Schultz said. His family never knew why, exactly — but they want the police to look into it.

Sandy detectives have followed up on leads in the Grand Canyon State and spoken with people there, Arnold said, but he could not comment beyond that.

Like Fierro, Schultz, too, is frustrated by an investigation she believes has — in some respects — moved too slowly.

"Someone was out for my father," Schultz said.

The morning of Jan. 29, Meik failed to meet a friend, so his family called the police. When officers arrived, a family member took them inside and found Meik's body with a gunshot wound to the head.

There was no sign of a break-in, and, at first, investigators thought the death may have been a suicide. But further investigation proved that the wound was not self-inflicted.

Meik's body was turned over to the state Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.

Detectives interviewed family and friends about anyone he may have met with recently. Those talks are "pretty much concluded," Arnold said, though he added that the lab results may give the detectives reason to revisit some of those people.

Schultz last saw her father the day before he died. He looked well. They made plans for the weekend.

He had not only returned to Utah and was seeing his family several times a week, Meik also had returned to his Mormon faith.

Fierro last saw Meik about two weeks before he died, when they ran into each other at church. Before that, Fierro had not seen the man for more than a decade.

"I initially was surprised to see him there; likewise, he was surprised to see me there," Fierro said. "We kind of chuckled about that. It was a very, very warm greeting and it was nice to see him."

Online comments on Meik's obituary recall a kind man with a knack for fixing cars.

He and a fellow officer, Brent Long, had fixed up an old police car and drag-raced it at the race track.

"We spent countless hours on the RaceCar and I have fond memories that will never be forgotten both from 'wrenching' and chasing crooks," Long wrote on the memorial.

During his 14-year tenure at the Salt Lake City Police Department, Meik worked undercover in the narcotics and vice squads. He was also instrumental in starting the burglary alarm unit, according to his obituary.

The undercover narcotics cops used to somewhat intimidate Diane Powers when the Salt Lake City dispatcher started at the department in the late 1970s, with their scraggly clothes and beards. But, she said, Meik, with his quiet smile and one-word zingers, balanced out the "more raucous members" of the undercover unit.

"I have no doubt whatsoever that whoever had the audacity to slay Kevin will be found; if not now, then later," Powers said. "The integrity in all of the officers I've known through the years, no matter the jurisdiction, will never let a fellow brother's death go unresolved."

Anyone with information on this case is asked to contact the Sandy Police Department through dispatchers at 801-799-3000.


Twitter: @mikeypanda






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