Mississippi police have questioned a fifth person who may be connected to the break-in at the nursing home of Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R) wife, according to the Madison County Journal.
Elaine Vechorik, who has been linked to state Sen. Chris McDaniel’s (R) campaign challenging Cochran, was originally considered as a suspect in the investigation and was questioned recently about her connection to the four men charged in the case.
A Sunday New York Times story mentioned a fifth “person who has not been named or charged” that was mentioned in Facebook correspondence about an alleged plan to enter a nursing home to photograph Cochran’s wife for a video attacking the senator. A blogger, “Constitutional” Clayton Kelly, has been charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult and related conspiracy charges along with three others, one of whom was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Madison County District Attorney Michael Guest confirmed to the Madison County Journal on Wednesday that the unnamed person mentioned in the New York Times article was Elaine Vechorik.
“As part of the investigation she was spoken to by members of law enforcement regarding connections she had with [the accused] conspirators and was originally considered a suspect in the investigation,” he said. “It was determined that evidence did not exist to file charges at the time.”
Vechorik denied that she was involved in the break-in.
“No, I’m not the fifth person and I have no comment at this time,” she told the Madison County Journal on Wednesday.
Vechorik has been tied to the McDaniel campaign and is a plaintiff in the True the Vote lawsuit against the Mississippi Secretary of State and Mississippi GOP alleging that Cochran won the Republican runoff primary with crossover votes from Democrats and African-American voters. McDaniel has yet to formally file a legal challenge to the election results.
The McDaniel campaign returned a $2,599 campaign contribution to Vechorik, according to records reviewed by the Madison County Journal.
Records in January showed that Vechorik was a staffer of the campaign and that the $2,599 check from the McDaniel campaign was a “payroll” disbursement.
The McDaniel campaign in June amended an April filing to specify that the check to Vechorik was a refund, not a payroll disbursement. McDaniel campaign spokesperson Noel Fritsch chalked it up to a “clerical error,” adding that “you can make a story of it, but it’s kind of silly.”
Vechorik denied that she worked for the campaign and said it was the result of a “computer glitch.”
“There was a computer glitch and I paid 3 max donations. I asked the McDaniel campaign correct that. They issued a refund,” she said.
Fritsch said that the transfer was a refund of a general election contribution after McDaniel lost in the June 24 primary. However, the Madison County Journal pointed out that the original filing was in April, before the primary.