COLUMBIA, Mo.— A newspaper here is reporting that a police officer is on a personal leave of absence after questions were raised about his relationship with Jesse James Valencia.
Valencia, 23, a 1999 Boyle County High School graduate, was found murdered,his throat slashed, Saturday near his apartment in Columbia. He was attending the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Though Valencia was known in the gay and lesbian community, police have said
they are not investigating the murder as a hate crime, reports the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Valencia’s grandmother, Connie Baugh of Perryville, said Wednesday that her grandson was not gay, despite the implications of news reports on the investigation.
She said he had gay friends, but never had affairs with any of them.
Baugh said authorities are giving little information to the family about the investigation.
Columbia Police Chief Randy Boehm confirmed a personal relationship between Valencia and one of his officers, but said that the officer is not a suspect.