Cops Investigating Leaks to Former Tampa Reporter

Meredyth Censullo parted ways with WFTS in Tampa a few weeks ago, but she is making some waves as a freelance Reporter using Twitter. 

She is part of an investigation into leaks about details in a bizarre fire as part of a murder suicide.  

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, as well as the Sheriff's Office, wants to know how detailed information about the gruesome murder scene in Avila where the Campbell family was discovered, got onto the web before investigators got into the house.

As the fire in Avila burned, so did detectives' frustration.
WFLA reports that before detectives were allowed inside the Avila mansion, they read on the New York Post's web page and other internet sites about bodies, bullet holes, and gas cans. Detectives feared the release of such pertinent information might prove disastrous to their crime solving efforts.

"We didn't even know what crime we had, other than there were three bodies inside," Chief Deputy Jose Docobo said.

Censullo seemed to be the one getting the details and posting them to Twitter.

By 9:58 a.m. she tweeted, "3 dead, 4th suspected. Reportedly gunshots to head."

Two minutes later she tweeted, "...bodies found in burning mansion in Avila had heavy duty fireworks wrapped around their heads." 

"The types of details that were being released are extremely pertinent to conducting a homicide investigation," Docobo stated.

Detectives were not allowed into the building until 3 o'clock that afternoon.

"Many, if not all, of the details that were released were in fact accurate," Docobo observed.

Information that can give a bad guy a heads-up.  The question is how did that information get out before detectives had a chance to go in?

"It comes from individuals who have access to it. It's people at the scene, who have direct access, visual access," Docobo said.

Docobo informed Fire Rescue personnel at the scene that releasing crime scene information may make it more difficult if not impossible to find a killer.

"If you're out there irresponsibly and interfering with an active criminal investigation there might very well be appropriate charges," he said.

According to district chief Frank Fernandez, HCFR is conducting an internal investigation.

"There were a number of folks that were out there. There were Fire Rescue personnel. There were law enforcement and there were civilians that were extremely close to the actual incident scene that could have overheard anything, not to mention all of our radios, if anything was said over the radios," Fernandez said.

Fernandez states he isn't sure who provided crime scene information, but he is sure that it is a serious breach.

"My office is conducting the investigation and will be looking to the sheriff's department for some assistance as well," Fernandez said.