Local News

Wake Forest Watches As Detective Gets Caught Up In Afghan Abuse Case

Posted July 14, 2004

— A Wake Forest police detective is caught in the middle of an Afghanistan prison abuse case.

She is not charged with a crime. But people are waiting to see what happens next.

The case has landed in the middle of Main Street in Wake Forest. CIA contractor David Passaro, from Lillington, is charged with assaulting an Afghan prisoner who later died.

Passaro is being held without bail while he awaits trial.

The case has drawn attention here because Passaro's girlfriend is Wake Forest police detective Bonnie Heart.

"It's interesting to me, you know, with things going on in the world today, that something could be so close to home," said Wake Forest restaurant owner Karen Bennion.

Said Dwight Woodlief, who works in Wake Forest: "When you start talking about the CIA, this sort of thing ... becomes real interesting."

Heart is not on trial. But last month, a federal judge said her testimony at a hearing for Passaro was "troublesome," adding that it contradicted taped phone conversations Heart had with Passaro.

Prosecutors implied that Heart might help Passaro run.

According to court papers, agents found money stuffed in Ziploc bags in Heart's apartment.

"There's a buzz about town regarding it," Wake Forest Town Commissioner David Camacho said.

Camacho said local leaders are watching because of Heart's position in the community.

"As town employees and town staff, we're certainly going to pay attention to it," he said.

The Wake Forest police chief said he is watching, too. But he is not taking any action against his detective right now.

Camacho said it's important that people do not jump to conclusions.

"I think most people I've talked with are taking a wait-and-see approach to see if there's anything to it," Camacho said. "If it's circumstantial evidence, I don't know. I don't know if anyone's passed judgement yet."

According to Heart's voicemail at work, she will be out of the office until further notice. WRAL contacted her Wednesday, but she did not want to comment.


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