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Hampton police chief acknowledges errors made in Codi Bigsby case

A review found Cory Bigsby was denied a lawyer during questioning about his 4-year-old son's disappearance. Bigsby's lawyer said he's proud police addressed it.

HAMPTON, Va. — In a news conference Monday, Hampton Police Chief Mark Talbot said police division leadership conducted an internal audit and found that Codi Bigsby's father's request for a lawyer wasn't honored while police were questioning him.

Cory Bigsby reported 4-year-old Codi missing around 9 a.m. on Jan. 31.

Police and the community quickly launched a search that has been taking place since then.

"It has been 14 heart-wrenching days," Talbot said.

Investigators brought Bigsby to police headquarters to answer questions the day he reported his son missing. He stayed there for days before being arrested. The child neglect charges brought against him were not related to Codi's disappearance, but Talbot did say that Bigsby has been the primary "person of interest" in the disappearance.

Prior to the news conference on Monday, Talbot had said Bigsby waived his right to legal counsel while he was at police headquarters answering questions. At the news conference, Talbot explained that was not the case. Police leadership came to that conclusion after an internal investigation the weekend of Feb. 12 which included the review of more than 100 hours of video footage. 

The review also came after Bigsby's lawyer said Bigsby had not been allowed access to a lawyer.

Talbot said Bigsby took a polygraph test with a federal agency before his arrest.

"I won't discuss the result, I will say there was a heated back-and-forth," Talbot said Monday. 

The chief added that in that exchange, which involved the lead detective on the case just after 4 a.m. on Feb. 1, Bigsby mentioned legal counsel twice. He wasn't given a lawyer until his family hired one for him, days later.

According to Talbot, Bigsby should have been provided a lawyer once that mention of counsel took place.

"His desires should have been honored, they weren't," Talbot said. 

The chief removed the lead detective and put the detective on leave.

Jeffrey Ambrose, Bigsby's attorney, told 13News Now he is proud of the police division for going over the tapes on their own to make sure everything was in order and when it wasn't, they quickly came forward.

"I think says a lot about this police department and I gotta say I am very proud to be a citizen of Hampton today. I think they’ve handled it well, given what happened," said Ambrose.

He said there are still a lot of outstanding questions and he looks forward to reviewing those tapes himself.

Despite the acknowledgment of the misstep in procedure, Talbot emphasized that the investigation still is on the right track.

"Nothing that has occurred has shaken my confidence as to whether or not we have paid attention to the right person," Talbot said. "I’m disappointed that we have done anything that may have slowed us down on our quest to bring justice."

When asked if he is concerned this will create distrust between the community and his department, Talbot said yes, but says he was there speaking openly about what happened to avoid that.

Talbot also said the unrelated child neglect charges will stand. He said those stemmed from information they got from the first hours of their discussions with Bigsby, before he asked for a lawyer.

"He's in a jail cell for appropriate reasons," Talbot said at the conference.

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