KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) An incident report from the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Department released on Wednesday details a bizarre story involving a missing purse, hundreds of thousands of dollars embezzled from a school district and a suicide that took place in January.
The incident report was released after the department received several requests for it from various media organizations.
The chain of events began on December 30, 2012 when Sherri Adamson, who at the time was the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation Treasurer, contacted the Plymouth, Indiana Walmart to report her purse was missing. Adamson believed she may have left the purse in a shopping cart after she had unloaded it. Her oversight led to the discovery of the embezzled funds.
A Walmart loss prevention employee reviewed surveillance video of the parking lot which showed a man driving by the cart. A short time later the man comes back and takes the purse. The employee identified the suspect as a frequent customer and on January 3, the man showed up at the store. Police were called to the store and the suspect, who was identified as Candido Ramirez told police he had taken the purse, but he had not taken anything from it and the purse was still at his house.
Police retrieved the purse and contacted Adamson. Police took inventory of the purse to see if anything was missing from the original list provided by Adamson.
The police officer found $870 in cash and several checkbooks. He then located four checks written for
$1,250 to Sherri Adamson, signed by Sherri Adamson, all on the same day written on Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation checks. He also noticed the Walmart receipt from the day the purse was taken. All the personal items purchased by Sherri Adamson were purchased using the Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation, Visa Business Card for a total of $303.91.
The officer then contacted Tippecanoe Valley School Superintendent Brett Boggs. The officer told Boggs about the items he had found and Boggs confirmed that Adamson should not have those checks and did not have permission to use the corporation card for personal items.
The case was then turned over to the Kosciusko County Sheriff`s Department.
On January 7, Boggs and School Resource Officer John Hart met with Adamson about the items found in her purse. Mrs. Adamson stated that it was all a mistake and she had nothing further to say about
it. Mr. Boggs then terminated her employment with the School Corporation and Officer Hart informed Adamson that she would be transported to the Sheriff`s Department for a formal interview.
Boggs then escorted Mrs. Adamson to her office to obtain her coat. As she exited her office and headed back down the hallway to the conference room Mr. Boggs stated that she walked towards the women`s
restroom. Officer Hart stepped into the conference room to grab his coat. That is when Mrs. Adamson bypassed the restroom and continued out of the door to her vehicle. Officer Hart gave chase and attempted to get Adamson to get out, but instead Adamson drove off, almost striking Officer Hart.
Police then went to Adamson's Fulton County home. There weren't any vehicles visible and no one answered to door. Terry Adamson, Sherri's husband was contacted and said he was on his way home, but Sherri might be at their son's home.
No sign of Sherri Adamson was found there either. Police returned to the Adamson's residence and Terry Adamson was asked if any guns were missing. He said there weren't, but after another search he discovered a shotgun and shotgun shells were missing. Terry then noticed car tracks in the snow leading west across a field. Police followed the tracks and found Sherri's maroon Ford Explorer. Next to the driver's side was the body of Sherri Adamson. She was dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
An initial review of the Indiana State Board of Accounts showed an estimated loss of $130,000 from the school district in 2012 and that there could be another $100,000 a year for several years prior to 2012.
The district filed a report by the State Board of Accounts. In it, it details how much money Adamson spent in checks and the the district's credit card, as well as the school district's response. Click here to read the report.
The document said Adamson spent more than $34,000 with the corporation's checking account, and more than $244,000 with the district's credit card.
When authorities questioned Terry Adamson about their household finances they were told that a few years ago Sherri had gone to Branson, Missouri with her mother and before leaving she had left him a note and a stack of credit card bills. The bills totaled approximately $250,000. While she was on vacation he went to the bank and mortgaged his farm to pay off the credit card bills. Ever since then their accounts had been separate.
Boggs said in the report with the State Board of Accounts that the school corporation has public official bonds that cover the time
when Adamson misused the money, and the district anticipates the bonds will result in full restitution of those dollars.
The audit cost the state of Indiana an additional $28,149.55 to investigate Adamson. Indiana has requested the estate of Sherri Adamson to reimburse the state for the additional fees.
Tippecanoe Valley Schools includes Mentone Elementary, Akron Elementary, Tippecanoe Valley Middle School, Tippecanoe Valley High School, and the Burket Education Center.
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