A lot of mistakes were made in the investigation, by a lot of different people, working for various agencies.
This page will point out several of the more serious examples.
Here is an example which provides an overview of one example of the types of deception the FBI used.
All of the clips on this page were conducted with reporters from Utah press agencies present.
None of the Utah reporters revealed any information to the public which cast doubt on the FBI's version of events.
This is a fairly long clip of a defense lawyer talking about several issues at a hearing, long before a trial was held.
There are several elements to this testimony which will first be described separately.
This refers to the right of anybody to overrule local laws or rules due to circumstances which make those rules or laws temporarily irrelevant. Exigency is often abused, but in this case it has a certain relevance. There was only one apartment which had not been searched. It was an apartment the girl frequented. It was occupied by people from two competing ethnicities. A witness had last seen the girl walking in the direction of the apartment. Etc. These are some of the factors which temporarily overruled normal 'search warrant' rules or laws. An additional factor had to do with non public information which the FBI had, but that will be ignored for the moment.
Exigency is entirely in the domain of individuals. An individual can claim exigent circumstances, a group cannot. A group claiming exigent circumstances to excuse an action is being used by individuals within that group to hide their own mistakes or do some other scheming.
2) Who had control over the basement
This is an irrelevancy, due to item 1, but it was used by the FBI to create a smokescreen which allowed them to hide misconduct which derailed the investigation and may have been ultimately responsible for the death. The question raised by this issue was whether the roommates had the right, in terms of local laws, property laws, etc, to authorize FBI agents to search the basement. A person can argue either side of this, but no matter which side they take their argument is irrelevant in this specific situation.
3) The Shell Game
This is the scam that FBI strategists used to cover their misconduct and divert attention from responsibility for the death. A complete picture would require a lengthy discussion of other parts of the case, including time of death and other timelines, but here is a key part.
Under guise of 'a new search' the FBI agents had entered the apartment and 'found' the body.
During the search they sent one of the roommates supposedly to another apartment to get the phone number and address of Esar Met. This was part of a hastily arranged plan to arrest Esar Met, and at this point it will be ignored how hastily that plan was drawn up, in other words whether it was during the apartment search or before it.
At any rate the roommate went to another apartment and got Esar Met's phone number then returned to #472 and called Esar Met under the direction of an FBI agent and told him the police needed to talk to him.
The initial question is whether the roommate left the apartment after the body was found, or before the body was found. Either way is problematic for the FBI agents.
a) If they say it was after the body was found then it means they searched an apartment where four roommates had been refusing to answer the door for 30+ hours, and where a body was then found, but they then sent one of those roommates out, unaccompanied, to go to a different building in the complex to get the phone number of somebody that they had no evidence even existed. In other words a) the roommates act very unusually by refusing access to people searching for a child that often visits, then b) the FBI agents find a body there, then c) the roommates say they don't know anything but one of them can leave for a while, if the FBI agents like, and get the phone number of that person. Obviously that scenario is improbable. The FBI agents would have taken the four into custody then gotten the phone number of the person who was not there.
Fortunately for police and the FBI, not one Salt Lake City reporter told the public that the roommates were not even handcuffed when they were brought to the police station. The FBI was so sure that they knew who the killer was, based on their analysis of phone calls made between various non ethnic Karen houses, that they arranged an aggressive arrest of Esar Met, with 40+ heavily armed assailants from various agencies as the roommates were politely questioned as a formality, before any investigation had been done.
The FBI agents made a lot of mistakes, but this riddle of when they should say they found out about the other roommate was what tripped them up.
b) If they say it was before the body then it is even more implausible. Why would they be sending police to pick up Esar Met if they hadn't found the body yet?
So scenario a is highly unlikely, but scenario b is even more unlikely.
The FBI eventually went with scenario b. In other words they claim they had a roommate call Esar Met before the body was found and tell him police were going to his address to question him. If that version is true then it means the FBI knew the body was there before the search began.
This will be a sequential timeline of FBI actions over several days, a series of events listed in the order they occurred. The timeline will show how the only chance to find Hser Ner Moo before she was killed was squandered, and it will show how and why the FBI, and a person from another agency, coerced witnesses into changing their testimony.
Audio clips will be added eventually for each item.
Here is a longer version of that same clip. At a previous hearing an FBI report had been used which had contradictory 'facts'. Here they are trying to decide whether to allow use of the FBI version of events, knowing that if they allow it there is a possibility that certain additional discrepancies will become public.
In that specific issue what the FBI is trying to hide is that they directed one of the roommates to leave the apartment unescorted, and go to another apartment to get the phone number of the house where Esar Met was. If any of this had become public it would have raised numerous questions. Did they let the roommate leave after the body was found or before? Either way is problematic. Eventually an FBI agent testified that it was before the body was found, and that was the final version.
One of the ways they hide what they are doing is to pretend they are examining whether the roommates had authority to authorize a search of the basement. This is a complete non issue, but it allows some legal maneuvering which is used to hide what the FBI did.
Much worse is the fact that later testimony suggests the FBI was colluding with the roommates to clean up their testimony in this regard.
Some audio files contain whispering and require volume be turned up.
The whispering in that audio appears to refer to the issue which caused the previous preliminary hearing to be postponed.
Just to be clear, it appears that the defense attorney was upset that Esar Met did not want to plead guilty, and he wanted the judge to do something about the translator who had spoken to the media and told them what Esar Met had said. This seems to be almost criminal behavior by the defense attorney. Amazing as that is, there are worse details which will be added here eventually.
That translator was not ethnic Karen, in other words he was not allied with the roommates.
The judge fired the translator who had spoken to the media, and appointed another translator, who was ethnic Karen, to translate for non ethnic Karen witnesses. This translator was appointed despite not being certified, and despite the fact that plenty of Burmese certified translators were available by then. There are ethnic tensions between the two groups.
The effects were predictable.
Here is a clip from the next morning.
Over the next few days there were a lot of secrets which reporters in Salt Lake City kept.
In fact, if any reporters had mentioned two years later, at the trial, that Esar's Uncle had visited SouthPark and asked him to bring a bike tire repair kit, any defense lawyer could have demanded the judge declare a mistrial, and that the investigation start again from the beginning. If that material, along with the suppressed interview, were made public, Esar Met could not have been convicted in a fair public trial.
In fact, bit by bit the prosecution case disintegrated, again.
And the FBI and others tried to fix it, again, instead of admitting their mistakes and prosecuting the real killer.
Any of the reporters present at these hearings could have published what they heard, even anonymously, and shown that there was overwhelming evidence the wrong person was being prosecuted.
Not one of the reporters present ever violated the gag order.
Some of the interview discussion which needed to be hidden was discussed in open court, in whispers so people could not hear. But it still is not entirely clear to what extent the defense lawyers were tricked by the prosecutors and FBI or to what extent the defense simply didn't understand the implications of the interview.
The prosecutors and FBI did take steps to prevent the judge and others from viewing the interview or reading transcripts, but once they realized that the defense was clueless they may have simply stepped back.
There are problems with technical aspects of FBI testimony at hearings in this case
Here is a clip of two FBI agents starting to testify
Nothing unusual in the clip, but the next 10 minutes or so of audio record has disappeared, and been replaced with several short clips of completely different material.
Here is the next audio clip after the broken short clips.
At this point their main concern is simply covering up, and they have the legal authority to force others in the legal system to cooperate in the coverup.
The only thing keeping Esar Met in jail, as of the time of those hearings, is the FBI's unwillingness to have their mistakes in the early investigation exposed.
All of the FBI agents involved are deliberately keeping a non guilty person in prison to help their careers.
This will be updated through July/August 2021.
1) Hser Ner Moo's family can't find her so an acquaintance, Carrie Pender, contacts police.
2) That evening police searching increases and eventually a 'child abduction response' group is called, which includes the FBI.
3) The FBI uses its resources to collect information about the neighbors, including phone records. The call from Maung Th** Ht*** to Esar Met's relatives on the evening of March 31, 2008 is noticed. It required federal resources to quickly connect the individuals and understand the potential significance of the call. The FBI does not share this information with local police.
Maung Th** Ht*** is the person referred to as 'Yenoot' in the false confession interview. He would later be openly disrespectful of investigators after they refused to listen to the information he had which corroborated the initial truthful part of the interview.
4) Long before any local law enforcement is aware of Esar Met, the FBI has determined that he left SouthPark around the time she disappeared, and is at his aunt and uncle's house, and they place that house under surveillance, also without letting any local law enforcement know.
Here is an FBI agent explaining why he arrived at the scene about an hour before finding the body. If he and the other FBI agents had simply worked with a little bit of integrity, instead of trying to pretend they were supercops, local searchers could possibly have found the girl before she was killed.
Once their hero scenario didn't play out they had no hesitation in putting a Burmese refugee in prison for the crime in order to keep their mistakes secret.
5) Shortly before the raid on the aunt's and uncle's house, another group of law enforcement agents is brought to SouthPark. This group specializes in capturing dangerous fugitives, but they are assigned to assist with a supposed 'new' search of the SouthPark residences which occurs just as the FBI enters apartment #472. this search is not referenced in the police file, as the other searches are, but a member of Marshall service 'joint task force' uses this supposed 'new search' to explain why he was sent to SouthPark shortly before the FBI found the body.
6) The FBI goes to apartment #472, which had not been searched, without informing local police. They pound on the door for 5 or 10 minutes until somebody answers, then they go in, find the body, and contact local police.
7) As they are waiting for local police, the FBI agents take one of the roommates to a neighbor's house and have him retrieve the phone number of the aunt/uncle where Esar Met is. This trivial aspect of the case will soon snowball into a massive web of coverups.
Note the use too of the word 'kalar' https://coconuts.co/yangon/features/kenneth-wong-the-origins-of-the-controversial-myanmar-word-kalar/
One problem which the FBI agents quickly realized was that everything confirmed Esar Met's initial statement that he had gone to his uncle with a tire repair kit, a fact carefully kept out of the media. The FBI wanted the public to believe he had fled a murder scene.
Another problem was that many federal agents were sent to the scene only an hour or so before the body was found. If this became public it would make people wonder if the FBI knew where the body was before they arrived, and the evidence indicates they did.
The specifics of the testimony clearly show that the FBI solicited cooperation from the roommates in the ruse. In other words, the FBI agents said something to the roommates, along the lines of 'If you will help us fix this part of the case we will help you.'
The specifics of the help which the FBI agents gave to the roommates can be deduced by looking at how their memories evolved.
There is not much that can be done when a major law enforcement agency not only works with the murderer and his friends, but devises elaborate schemes to hide evidence, and uses its 'police powers' to pressure other agencies to cooperate with the coverup.
Who should Esar Met contact to file a complaint? There is nobody.
8) One of the oddities at this point is the silly lengths FBI agents were going to in order to appear to patronize local police. Here is audio of an FBI agent trying to sound chummy with a local cop who would later help the FBI hide some facts about the investigation, then die under odd circumstances.
9) Another peculiarity was the unusually long time the FBI agents spent upstairs while searching. There were two bedrooms upstairs and the FBI agents claim they spent ten or 15 minutes searching those two bedrooms. There was literally almost nothing in those bedrooms aside from beds and clothes. A blood spot was later found on the floor which the FBI agents 'did not notice'.
So why did they claim ten to fifteen minutes upstairs?
Looking at the timeline a lot of questions arise, not least the long pause between when they arrived at the apartment and when they found the body. The FBI did not want the public to know that they had spent about ten minutes pounding on the door before they arrived. Later two of the FBI agents would give completely different accounts, one saying the roommates took about ten minutes to answer, and only after pounding on the door and shining flashlights in, then another agent saying, as the trial approached, that in fact the roommates had answered the door immediately.
10) The 'dangerous fugitive' group, which had just started assisting in the apartment search, is abruptly sent to the address where Esar Met is, along with dozens of other police.
Although there are 'dangerous fugitives' in the world, more than 95% of the people those groups arrest are not what most people would call 'dangerous'.
11) Higher level FBI supervisors have been congratulating each other and praising all of the agents involved. The next step is for an FBI agent to get the confession which will discreetly show everybody how brilliant and slick the FBI agents are.
12) During the interview it becomes clear that the FBI agents made some major mistakes, and arrested the wrong person.
The agent conducting the interview obviously has some hook in the FBI which causes senior FBI supervisors to try to fast track his career. He may be related to a high level bureaucrat.
During the interview he is told by a fellow agent, carefully, that there are obvious problems.