Couple sues to recover seized items from sheriff’s office

A couple has filed a lawsuit to return tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of property still locked inside an evidence room from a homicide last year.

Tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of property is still locked inside an evidence room after a quadruple homicide in Pendleton last year.

The items belong to relatives of the four that were killed, Amy and Ross Vilardi.

After 7 months of investigation they’re wondering if they’ll ever see their property again.

They’ve filed a lawsuit against the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, demanding their property be returned.

More than 100 items were seized with a search warrant during the investigation, including two vehicles, about $60,000 cash, an Xbox, and an iPod.

Investigators hope that it will help lead to the whoever is responsible for killing four people inside a Pendleton home this past October.

Attorney Christopher Pracht filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Vilardi’s and is looking for answers.

“We’re just looking for answers from the Sheriff’s Office to understand what is evidence in this investigation, what is not evidence. And if it’s not evidence, then it needs to be returned to its proper owner,” says Pracht.

Despite the lawsuit to return the property, Pracht says he wants to be clear: the Vilardi’s would give up anything to solve the murder.

“The Vilardi’s were fine with that. They had no problem giving up anything in their house that may lead to evidence to find the killers.”

Anderson County Sheriff’s Office has a right to hold evidence until someone is held responsible for the killings under the Evidence Preservation Act even if it takes years.

“We have an ongoing criminal investigation, which we’ll continue to investigate, we’re following leads every day and we’ve seized all of the evidence in this case under the Rules of Evidence subject to the search warrant,” says Sheriff John Skipper.

Skipper says they have not filed a response to the lawsuit yet and would not comment on the specifics of the evidence in the investigation.

Skipper also says they’re still waiting on some laboratory tests to come back and he doesn’t know how long that could take.

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