Emails show D.A. Hawk's absences began in July

FOX 4 has obtained hundreds of emails that reveal District Attorney Susan Hawk's battle with depression may have started to interfere with her work earlier than she admitted to last month.

Earlier this week, FOX 4 learned that doctors have not set a date for Hawk to be released from treatment and return to work.

Back in January, when Hawk took office, she made a promise, but now nearly nine months later, the D.A.’s office is in limbo.

Michael Casillas, a former prosecutor who worked for Hawk and has since left, says Hawk's tenure has been unstable.

“It really shook the office up when Bill Wirskye got fired,” said Casillas. “That caused people to really feel like they were walking around on eggshells, ‘cause if it could happen to someone like Bill Wirskye, with all of his experience and successes and respect he's gained, then it could happen to anybody.”

Then came the absences that FOX 4 learned from emails actually began in July.

"When no one who is high up seems to know where the person is, it does really make the front line troops kind of scratch their heads,” said Casillas.

Casillas, a former prosecutor for Hawk, could not find Hawk when he tried to submit his resignation letter for weeks.

“I was always told things like, ‘Well, she might be in next Monday,’” he said. “Nothing they told me indicated they knew where she was.”

After emails revealed that Hawk appeared to be absent earlier than she had admitted, her first assistant, Messina Madson, confirmed to FOX 4 that Hawk was out of the office for six business days before Aug. 3.

She sent an email July 22 asking for her meeting that day to be canceled.

Hawk's email was then silent until July 27, when she responded on her iPhone to an email from Toni Brinker with Operation Blue Shield.

Brinker wrote, "I have left several phone messages and hope my numbers for you are still correct.”

Hawk responded, "I took some time off last week.”

Madson says Hawk was at home sick three days that week. Then the following week, she was supposed to be at a conference, but she was a no-show.

Another email reveals that a prosecutor was trying to meet with Hawk and others to discuss a "murder case with some issues.”

As late as Aug. 18, her first assistant asked to get her thoughts on a mission statement -- apparently in the dark about when Hawk would be back.

There was no reply.

FOX 4 asked Madson directly if Hawk's absence has anything to do with any type of substance addiction.

Madson would only say it's a very personal matter and that it's up to Hawk to decide how much she wants to share with the public.

Madson says she’s talked to Hawk several times now while Hawk has been in treatment and that Hawk is looking forward to returning to work.

Hawk was originally set to return to work next week, but doctors have not yet given her a release date.