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Columbia Missourian

Columbia police officer taken into protective custody

By KATE MOSER
June 11, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT

Officer threatened to harm himself

A Columbia police officer was taken into protective custody Thursday nightafter threatening to harm himself, police chief Randy Boehm said in a release Friday morning.

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The officer, Steven Rios, was identified on Thursday as the officer on leave from the department due to his personal relationship with homicide victim Jesse Valencia.

At about 6 p.m. Thursday, Rios called the Columbia police department and said that he had a shotgun and intended to harm himself, the release said.

Police believed Rios was in the Kansas City area. Police spoke with Rios over the phone for several hours, Boehm said in the release.

With the help of Kansas City law enforcement agencies and the FBI, Columbia police tracked Rios back to the Columbia area. He was taken into protective custody at about 11:30 p.m.

"Due to Officer Rios' actions yesterday, we are concerned and reevaluating his status in the investigation," Boehm said in the release.

Columbia police said Wednesday that an officer was on leave from the department due to his personal relationship with Jesse Valencia. The Missourian reported Thursday that sources close to Valencia identified Steven Rios as that officer. Valencia was found dead Saturday in his East Campus neighborhood. Valencia's death is being investigated as a homicide.