Maria Keena (@kmoxmaria)

BERKELEY, Mo. (KMOX) – It’s going on five months since 25-year-old Monica Sykes went missing from her home, and now a police officer linked to her has been terminated from the Berkeley Police Department.

KMOX spoke with the interim Berkeley police chief about officer Robert Howard’s separation from the department.

Sykes went missing Oct. 28, and Howard had been with her the morning she disappeared.

Capt. Art Jackson says Berkeley’s Public Safety Committee requested the police department do a complete background check on Howard, which they did, and it revealed discrepancies with Howard’s application.

Jackson would not say what the discrepancies were, nor could he answer where Howard worked before.

Related story: Berkeley Woman Missing for Months; Family’s Frustrations with Police Mount

Jackson was asked if a background investigation is done prior to a police officer being hired. He replied, “Yes, it is, and not to say that there was not a background done, but the background that was done initially wasn’t thorough.”

KMOX asked Jackson if that means something was missed or something wasn’t looked into further, and Jackson said, “It wasn’t a complete background; it wasn’t a thorough background.”

sykes poster Berkeley Police Officer Linked to Missing Monica Sykes Terminated

(Courtesy of the Berkeley Police Department)

Jackson says Howard has been excluded as a suspect in Sykes’ disappearance. He adds that they are looking at a person of interest in her disappearance, but would not elaborate.

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