The Manhattan Beach Police wasted no time in trying to gather that evidence, but in the most inappropriate manner possible. A letter signed by Chief of Police Harry L. Kuhlmeyer was sent to 200 parents of then current or former McMartin students asking them, in effect, to act as amateur investigators. The letter told parents of the arrest of Ray Buckey and asked them to speculate, on an enclosed form, if he might have abused any children at the school. The letter read, in part:
Records indicate that your child has been or is currently a student at the preschool. We are asking your assistance in this continuing investigation. Please question your child to see if he or she has been a witness to any crime or if he or she has been a victim. Our investigation indicates that possible acts include: oral sex, fondling of genitals, buttocks or chest area, and sodomy, possibly committed under the pretense of taking the child's temperature. Also, photos may have been taken of the children without clothing. Any information from your child regarding having ever observed Ray Buckey to leave a classroom alone with a child during any nap period, or if they have ever observed Ray Buckey tie up a child, is important.
Incredibly, the letter prophetically admonished the 200 parents to keep the investigation
"strictly confidential because of the highly emotional effect it could have on our community." But the parents could not contain themselves; community gossip and pandemonium ensued as panicked parents interrogated their children. Hoag continued investigating, but some parents became upset that her interviews were too rough on their children. Others complained that the police were covering up for the preschool and demanded that the investigation be intensified.10