Newport's city manager is supporting the city police department in reviewing the 1966 death of an employee, Doris Duke, wealthy heiress. The review found no new information to alter the original investigation which determined that it was an accident.
After reading the "Homicide At Rough Point" by Peter Lance, a witness who had never spoken to police before came forward and opened police's review into Eduardo Tirella's death. An author and journalist from Newport, Duke died in 1993 after striking Tirella with her car at her home.
Bob Walker (68), was a 13-year-old paperboy who was the first to the scene. His account was different from the official version of what actually happened.
While Detective Jacque Wuest conducted the review and found Walker credible, she stated last week in a statement to Lance that there was no new evidence to change her previous conclusion or warrant further investigation.
Tuesday's statement from Joseph Nicholson Jr., the City Manager, stood by the police and stated that "at this point we cannot ascribe any conclusive motive or intent to Ms. Duke."
"To this end, it would not be prudent to either reclassify the incident or offer any commentary beyond our official opinions." "In conclusion, the Newport Police Department believes that there is insufficient evidence to make any conclusions about the motives of Ms. Duke," said the statement.
He stated that he was the author of many books critical of the FBI on antiterrorism and organized crime. "I have never witnessed such an abdication of a law enforcement agency's responsibility to tell truth about a criminal act."
Duke received her money from James Duke, her father and president of American Tobacco Co., as well as co-founder of Duke Energy. Duke University is North Carolina's name after her family.
Tirella was a Duke designer for many years. According to Lance's book, the couple were driving the car to see an artifact on the day of their death. Lance stated in the book that Duke was furious at Tirella because he told her he was leaving Hollywood to become a set designer.
A few days after Tirella's tragic death, police conducted a brief interview to Duke. Investigators accepted her word that it was an accident.
In 1966, Duke held a lot of power in the city, Lance stated.
He explained that it meant, in essence, that Doris Duke, who died at 80 in 1993, still has a great influence over the current City of Newport administration."