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May trial set for boyfriend’s rampage with 22 rifle in Onalaska

Friday, March 27, 2015 at 8:47 pm
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Todd H. Bergfalk, facing camera, waits his turn to appear before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court for a bail setting hearing.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 44-year-old man who allegedly fired a 22 rifle towards his girlfriend as she ran away from him outside her trailer home in Onalaska over the weekend remains held on $250,000 bail.

Todd H. Bergfalk pleaded not guilty yesterday to two counts of second-degree assault. He also allegedly pointed the Remington 22 long rifle at his girlfriend’s 23-year-old son.

He was arrested on Saturday after deputies were called to the 700 block of state Route 508. Deputies reported Bergfalk was very intoxicated and emotional, rambling about abused animals and how he was upset, according to authorities.

He denied pointing the gun at anyone, but said he should probably just go to jail, according to charging documents.

At his first appearance before a judge on Monday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court, a defense attorney said Bergfalk was unemployed, so he qualified for a court appointed lawyer.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported Bergfalk and his girlfriend were arguing when he fired four rounds inside her trailer, and that he wouldn’t let her leave, but she finally made a run for the door.

The sheriff’s office said he fired approximately 10 rounds as she she ran down her driveway, and that some were fired in her direction.

Charging documents state Julie Schoonover ran into the main house and told her son what had happened, and he went outside to try to calm Bergfalk. The 23-year-old said Bergfalk pointed the gun at him and told him not to get any closer, charging documents state.

He called 911, and arriving deputies learned from Susan Bergfalk she had already secured the gun.

Neither charging documents nor the sheriff’s office indicated why he may have been upset, but the documents do state that Schoonover said when she first arrived back home after going out to look at a boat for sale, she found Bergfalk standing in the driveway holding a knife and yelling.

The evidence cited in charging documents includes a bullet hole in the mud approximately 50 feet from the trailer in the direction Schoonover said she ran, as well as more bullet holes in the mud just outside the trailer steps and numerous shell casings.

While he was arrested for first-degree assault when booked into the Lewis County Jail, the charges filed by the prosecutor on Monday were for second-degree assault.

Bergfalk has a conviction for misdemeanor assault from 1989 and at the time of his arrest, a warrant out of King County related to driving under the influence, according to authorities.

The sheriff’s office said he lives in Tacoma. He gave his home address as Onalaska in court documents.

No contact orders were put into place regarding Schoonover and her son. Bergfalk’s trial was set for the week of May 18.
•••

For background, read, “Boyfriend jailed after allegedly shooting at woman, missing” from Monday March 23, 2015, here

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, March 27, 2015 at 6:21 pm

UNCOOPERATIVE DRUNKS FIGHT

• Centralia police talked to several intoxicated individuals when they responded to a brawl outside a bar on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue last night. None of the eight to 10 people who reportedly had been fighting nor anyone else was willing to cooperate and officers arrested no one but stayed in the area until they all cleared out, according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• A set of keys and a Milwaukee radio were stolen out of a vehicle parked at the 1100 block of Eckerson Road in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

SUICIDAL WOMAN PULLS KNIFE ON POLICE

• Chehalis police were called to the parking lot at Wal-Mart just before 6 o’clock yesterday evening about a possibly suicidal woman who threatened to harm herself and reportedly said if police showed up, she would stab them. Arriving officers located the 31-year-old in a camper and she pulled a knife from her pocket, opened it up and told them to shoot her, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Eventually she was taken into custody without anyone getting hurt, until she was in the back of a patrol car and kicked an officer, Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said. The woman, whose address is listed as transient, also appeared to be intoxicated, Kaut said. She was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and then booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault, according to police.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants,  misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, dispute, shoplifting, hit and run, collisions on city streets, somebody driving crazy, a report of possible child abuse, a customer at a gas station in a Mercedes sports car who pooped over by the propane dispenser … and more.

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Shakedown at Chehalis ATM

Friday, March 27, 2015 at 10:17 am

Updated at 11:07 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police searched without success last night after the attempted robbery of a customer who had walked up to a bank’s ATM machine in Chehalis.

Officers called about 9:15 p.m. to the TwinStar Credit Union on the 1500 block of South Market Boulevard found the victim, a 42-year-old Chehalis woman, was uninjured, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

She said she was approached by a male who wanted money from her,” Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said. “The victim replied she didn’t have any cash, she only had a check; he took her cell phone.”

He was wearing a black and white bandana over his face, according to police.

No weapon was displayed, but she saw something in his waistband she thought was the handle of either a gun or a knife, Kaut said.

Kaut said it appeared from the officer’s report a relative of the woman’s was with her, but still in their car.

The subject was described as in his early to mid-20s, heavyset and about 5-feet 6-inches tall, wearing a black hoody, Kaut said.

The report also labeled the male as Hispanic, but said he didn’t speak with any kind of an accent. No hair or eye color were noted.

Police were told he ran toward the opposite side of the bank, where a car was heard speeding away; the victim saw headlights going down a side street.

A police dog attempted to track him, but nobody was found, according to Kaut.

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Prosecutors gathering information from husband for wife’s trial in 3-year-old boy’s death

Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 9:11 pm
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Brenda A. Wing looks on as her lawyer John Crowley, center, confers with Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  The mother of three, accused with her husband in the death of a toddler who was staying with them in their Vader home appeared in court this afternoon, as lawyers continue to map out a path to her trial.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told the judge that Brenda Wing’s attorney was asking to postpone her trial a week, as her husband Danny Wing recently pleaded guilty in the case.

“That kind of changes things a little bit,” Halstead said.

The couple were arrested in November, a month after 3-year-old Jasper Henderling-Warner died from what the coroner calls battered child syndrome.

Prosecutors charged them with homicide by abuse or, in the alternative, first-degree manslaughter; each of the two were charged as either the principal or accomplice.

The autopsy found abrasions, bruises, facial trauma, healing fractures that were described as weeks-old injuries.

Danny Wing pleaded guilty last Thursday to first-degree manslaughter and assault, and as part of the deal, is expected to be a cooperating witness for the prosecution.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt agreed to move the trial to the week of May 18.

The lawyers set a date of April 30 for a hearing where they typically file a document that includes the expected length of the trial and other particulars. Today, they estimated it could last a week and a half, or up to three weeks.

Seattle-based defense attorney John Crowley said he needs the extra time, to review materials he expects won’t be available until after next week when the state conducts a taped interview with the husband.

Danny and Brenda Wing’s three children, between infancy and age 6, were all taken into custody by Child Protective Services the day they were arrested. Both Wings remain held in the Lewis County Jail.

No details alleging how Jasper sustained his injuries are included in prosecutor’s charging documents.

Yesterday Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said they’d like to know what happened. Today, Halstead said he wouldn’t answer reporters’ questions about the facts in the case.

Whether Brenda Wing’s trial actually takes place remains to be seen.

Outside the courtroom, Halstead sidestepped the question if he is attempting to work out a plea deal with Crowley for Brenda Wing.

“We’re always working to resolve our cases,” Halstead said.
•••

For background, read “Prosecutor expects plea deal will help reveal answers about Vader toddler’s demise” from for Wednesday March 25, 2015, here

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News brief: Tenino police chief let go by mayor

Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 1:46 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Tenino’s mayor says he plans to hire a new police chief as as soon as possible after letting go Chief John Hutchings yesterday.

Hutchings was hired by Mayor Bret Brodersen’s predecessor in the summer of 2012.

“It’s just a difference in philosophies,” Brodersen said, calling the termination a release from service.

The small department is budgeted for a chief, three officers and a part time administrative person, but currently has only two officers, according to Brodersen. He appointed one of them as officer in charge for the time being, he said.

“I’m looking forward to improving the police department and continuing to provide quality services in the future,” Brodersen said. “I thank Mr. Hutchings for his service to the community and wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 1:12 pm

NIGHTTIME ARSON ATTEMPT

• An individual out walking his dog just before midnight called police after seeing someone trying to light a fence on fire along the 400 block of Northeast Jefferson Avenue in Chehalis. He said he smelled smoke, saw flames and a subject parked there jumped in a dark red Toyota Corolla-type car and left, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The damage to the wooden fence was minimal and an officer was unable to locate a suspect, according to police. Burned paper and matches were found, department spokesperson Linda Bailey said.

UNDERAGE DRINKING

An officer was called to W.F. West High School just before noon yesterday where an 18-year-old student appeared to have been drinking alcohol. The student was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for minor in possession of alcohol, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Someone lost their handicapped placard out of their vehicle while parked at the 900 block of South Schueber Road in Centralia yesterday. The report was made to police about 1 p.m., according to the Centralia Police Department.

HIT AND RUN

• Centralia police were called just before 3 p.m. yesterday to the 900 block of Johnson Road where it appeared a vehicle had struck the fence at the little league field.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants,  misdemeanor theft, protection order violation, driving under the influence; responses for suspicious circumstances, a retailer that accepted a fraudulent check, collisions on city streets … and more.

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News brief: Hospital to turn on backup generator Saturday morning during electrical system upgrade

Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 10:38 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A planned brief shutdown of the power at Providence Centralia Hospital on Saturday morning means its outpatient pharmacy and outpatient lab will be closed.

Several departments, including the emergency room, will be using generator power during that time, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Providence has been working with Centralia City Light to improve the reliability of its power supply, according to spokesperson Chris Thomas.

“We upgraded the electrical transformer in September connected to the east side of the building, and now we’re connecting the west side of the building,” Thomas said. “We don’t anticipate any problems.”

It begins at 7 a.m. and won’t take very long, but they’ve given themselves a two-hour window to complete the work, according to Thomas.

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Prosecutor expects plea deal will help reveal answers about Vader toddler’s demise

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 9:28 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Danny A. Wing has pleaded guilty in the death of the 3-year-old boy he and his wife were taking care of at their Vader home, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s the one who killed the child.

And it doesn’t mean his wife is exonerated, or that she’s necessarily the one who killed the toddler either.

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Danny Wing

Authorities say Jasper Henderling-Warner died from ongoing child abuse and charged both Danny Wing, 26, and Brenda Wing, 27, last November in Lewis County Superior Court.

Charging documents in the case lay out facts that describe a variety of week’s old injuries and conflicting statements from the married couple whose home Jasper lived in. His 21-year-old mother had asked the couple that summer to take him for a year, while she was homeless and looking for work out of state, according to authorities.

The criminal investigation began the night of a 911 call on Oct. 5 from Brenda Wing that Jasper was unconscious at their home on the 400 block of Main Street in Vader. He was transported by ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The Wings were arrested and charged a month later with homicide by abuse or, in the alternative, first-degree manslaughter. The two crimes have widely different penalties. Each of the two were charged as either the principal or accomplice.

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Brenda Wing

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said Danny Wing pleaded guilty last Thursday to first-degree manslaughter and also to assault.

It came out of a plea agreement, in which prosecutors will recommend Danny Wing be sent to prison for 16 years and four months, according to Meyer.

The hearing took place without being noted on the court’s regular calendar, because the defense attorney from out of town was here, and the deputy prosecutor and the judge found time to just go ahead and do it, according to Meyer.

Danny Wing admitted he didn’t properly care for Jasper, Meyer said.

But what exactly took place and who did it is still not clear.

“That’s one of the things we all want to know,” Meyer said. “What happened.”

The autopsy found abrasions, bruises as well as healing fractures and labeled the cause of death as chronic battered child syndrome. Jasper was suffering from skin infections that were found to be secondary to his cause of death.

Meyer indicated part of the deal is Danny Wing must cooperate and share some information.

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Jasper Henderling-Warner

“We’re anticipating we’ll learn more, as part of the agreement,” he said today. “It’s also fair to say, additional investigation will take place, now that he’s pled guilty.”

While the specifics are still unknown, Meyer said he still believes they both are responsible for the death.

“We’ve always alleged they both had a hand in it,” he said. “We’re not changing our position at all.”

The Wings remain held in the Lewis County Jail.

Brenda Wing’s trial is scheduled for  trial in May.

Meyer said he doesn’t know when Danny Wing’s sentencing hearing will be held, but expected it would not take place until Brenda Wing’s case is finished.

Separately, the Lewis County coroner has initiated a court action to ask a judge to settle the question of which funeral home he should call to pick up the body from the coroner’s office to be cremated.

On Jan. 28, Coroner Warren McLeod was freed from the prosecutor’s hold on the body, and tried for two weeks to get unified direction from the unmarried parents before filing the civil action on Feb. 11.
•••

For background, read “Coroner: Ongoing physical abuse led to Vader toddler’s death” from Friday November 7, 2014, here

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News brief: Thurston County prevails on accidental bite by K-9, of another officer

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 12:59 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An appeals court ruled in favor of Thurston County yesterday, regarding an incident in late 2010 in which its police dog bit a Tumwater officer in the testicle during a search in a darkened building for a burglary suspect.

According to Thurston Deputy Rod Ditrich, K-9 Rex thought Tumwater Officer Bryent Finch was a threat when Finch shouted at the suspect to show his hands, at the same time Ditrich was calling Rex to come back to him.

The two men were standing next to each other.

Finch drove himself to the hospital, underwent surgery and then on June 6, 2012 filed suit against the county, the sheriff’s office, the deputy and the deputy’s wife, according to court documents.

A judge hearing the case in Mason County Superior Court granted a summary judgement to the respondents dismissing the strict liability claim. Finch, and his wife Patricia Finch appealed.

The opinion issued yesterday by the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division II, held the legislature abolished strict liability claims for injuries from lawfully used police dogs, even though the police dog exemption didn’t go into effect until the day after Finch’s suit was filed.

The Finches initially also claimed negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, but had dismissed those two portions after the Mason County decision, according to court documents. Deputy Ditrich and his wife are immune from civil liability under a statute regarding police dog handlers acting in good faith, according to the appeals court.

The three-member panel was unanimous.
•••

For background, read “Read about police dog bites police man in groin in Thurston County …” from Friday November 19, 2010, here

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 10:22 am

Updated at 6:40 p.m.

CAR FULL OF YOUNGSTERS ROLLS ON U.S. 12

• A rollover wreck on U.S. Highway 12 in between Salkum and Ethel this morning sent two teens and two young children to the hospital. All are from Onalaska. Troopers called just before 8 o’clock report Owen Langehennig, 16, was driving westbound when for unspecified reasons his car traveled off the roadway to the right into a ditch and when it struck the edge of a driveway, it rolled and landed right side up. Everyone was belted in, according to the Washington State Patrol. Transported to Providence Centralia Hospital all for precautionary reasons were the driver, along with Andree T. Langehennig, 15, Hunter Pickering, 8, and Tucker Pickering, 6, according to the state patrol. The driver is being cited for wheels off the roadway, the investigating trooper reports. The 1981 Nissan 300ZX was impounded and towed.

THEFT FROM RENTAL

• A deputy was called yesterday to the 100 block of Mulford Road where a 53-year-old Toledo woman reported someone entered her rental property and stole two heat lamps and various garden tools sometime between Monday afternoon at 2 o’clock and 9 a.m. yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

GARAGE PROWLER

• A Toledo-area man reported yesterday someone stole his wallet from his unlocked truck parked in his garage on the 100 block of Mulford Road sometime between Sunday and yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

POSSESSION CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

• A 42-year-old Chehalis resident is facing a possible DUI and was jailed for possession of a controlled substance following contact with an officer yesterday evening in Centralia. Chad E. Edwards was arrested in connection with an incident around 6 p.m. at the 1900 block of Trillium Lane, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DINE AND DASH

• Chehalis police were called about 12:30 a.m. today from Applebees restaurant after three diners finished their meal and drinks and left without paying their bill of $45.68. They left three dollars on the table, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The incident at the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue is under investigation, according to police. Officers were provided a license plate to follow up with, department spokesperson Linda Bailey said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants,  theft, obstructing, protection order violation, driving with suspended license; responses for suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets, a fake $20 bill passed at a store … and more.

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In case you missed it: Coroner hopes releasing name of dead woman will lead him to next of kin

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 5:59 pm
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The Chehalis Police Department says this picture of Sara Candice was taken in about 2007; authorities are looking for her relatives.

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The coroner is appealing to the public for help to find family of the woman whose skeletal remains were discovered on a wooded Chehalis hillside a month ago.

Scroll down to read more, or click here.

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Sahara Pizza man attacked in Centralia with bear repellent

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 5:32 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A pizza delivery man thwarted an apparent attempted robbery today in Centralia in which the assailant pulled out a can of bear spray.

It happened around 2 p.m. as the 44-year-old driver from Sahara Pizza was approaching the 100 block of Gleason Road where he was headed to make a delivery, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A male stepped out onto the roadway and the driver slowed to speak with the man, who said something to the effect of, “Sorry, I have to do this,” according to the sheriff’s office.

The driver knocked the can out of the individual’s hand, followed him when he ran off, and then chased a smaller blue car he got into up to the other end of town, according to the sheriff’s office.

The car was last seen headed the wrong way on Sprague Street, a one way road, according to Chief Deputy Stacy Brown.

The victim did get sprayed in the face a little bit, but didn’t require medical attention, Brown said.

He drove to the Centralia Police Department to report what happened, according to the sheriff’s office.

The Frontiersman Bear Attack Deterrent Spray used is advertised as being protection in the wilderness with a range of up to 35 feet away.

Deputies who responded to the call at 2:09 p.m. are looking for an older, smaller, blue vehicle. The suspect was described by the victim as about 5-foot 6-inches tall, with a thin build and wearing a dark sweatshirt and blue jeans.

Brown said the suspect was wearing sunglasses and the victim couldn’t tell how old he was, but said he was white.

“It happened pretty fast, he looked up and he was right there,” Brown said.

The pizza order came from a man who called himself Anthony Kramer.

The sheriff’s office is asking anyone who has any information on the suspect, to call them at 360-748-9286 or Lewis County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-748-6422.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 at 1:58 pm

HOSPITAL ASSAULT

• Centralia police were called about 10:30 p.m. yesterday to Providence Centralia Hospital for an alleged assault on hospital staff. The case was referred to prosecutors for a possible charge of third-degree assault, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FUEL THEFT CENTRALIA

• Centralia police took a report yesterday from the 3600 block of Northpark Drive where someone stole gas from a company vehicle that was parked inside a fenced compound, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FRAUD IN CHEHALIS

• Police were called yesterday by a Chehalis resident who said someone tried to file a tax return using their name and social security number.

• Chehalis police were called yesterday regarding attempted fraudulent charges to a credit card associated with the 1400 block of Northwest Airport Road.

SHOPLIFT OF ALCOHOL

• Chehalis police were called to Safeway on South Market Boulevard about 10:40 p.m. yesterday after a male left with several bottles of liquor in his backpack. He was not located, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

WARRANT ARREST AT WINDOW

• An anonymous report about the location of a wanted person – the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office warrant of the week posted on their Facebook page yesterday – led law enforcement to Packwood where after knocking a door of a house, the subject was caught crawling out the window. Ryan A. Justice, 27, of Randle, was taken into custody at the 100 block of Edmonds Road yesterday afternoon and booked into the Lewis County Jail for his warrant from the state Department of Corrections, his warrant for escape from community custody and his warrant for failing to appear in Lewis County District Court for a fourth-degree assault case,   according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

COLLISION

• A 43-year-old Olympia woman was hospitalized after her Honda Accord was rear-ended on U.S. Highway 12 in Randle yesterday, while she was making a left turn onto Kindle Road Troopers called just after 8 a.m. report a 2002 Buick Rendezvous was traveling at a high rate of speed when it hit the car. Both vehicles were totaled, according to the Washington State Patrol. Nina R. Sebastin, of Olympia, was transported to Morton General Hospital, according to the state patrol. Shannon K. Wagner, 40, from Moses Lake was reportedly uninjured. Speed and inattention were blamed, and Wagner was to be issued a citation for second-degree negligent driving, the investigating trooper reports.

• A 50-year-old Rochester resident was injured early yesterday morning when his his pickup truck left the roadway to the left shoulder and struck a cable barrier on eastbound state Route 8 near Mox Chehalis Road in Grays Harbor County. Troopers responding about 3:40 a.m. to the scene about seven miles east of Elma report James E. Ammons was transported to Summit Pacific Medical Center, according to the Washington State Patrol. Ammons had been wearing a seatbelt, according to the state patrol. Alcohol or drugs are not suspected, but the cause of the wreck remains under investigation, the state patrol reports.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants,  theft, obstructing, driving without a license; responses for alarms, vandalism, hit and run, protection order violation, misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances, a lost white ferret … and more.

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Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, March 23, 2015 at 8:59 pm

MAN RESCUED NEAR ADNA

• A 70-year-old Adna area man was found yesterday after spending about an hour alone and injured out on the woods. “He was out walking in the woods and fell down, like rolled down a hill and banged up his knees and his arm a little bit,” Lewis County Fire District 6 Firefighter Kyle Eiswald said. Neighbors along the 400 block of Deep Creek Road heard him calling for help, and a deputy happened by, Eiswald said. It was around 10 a.m., he said. A crew from District 6, with help from Lewis County Fire District 13, carried him out and the patient was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to Eiswald.

POLICE: MAN ARRESTED FOR KNIFE INCIDENT

• A 67-year-old Centralia man was jailed last night for harassment after allegedly threatening an individual with a knife. Marvin J. Moreno was arrested after an incident associated with the 1400 block of Belmont Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department. Prosecutors declined to file a criminal charge and Moreno was released from the Lewis County Jail this morning.

NEAR BICYCLE THEFT

• A 24-year-old Centralia man was arrested for fourth-degree assault and third-degree theft after he allegedly tried to steal a bicycle at the skate park in Centralia late Saturday afternoon. Ronald A. Yeager was issued his citation and then released, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT FROM SHED

• Centralia police yesterday took a report of a break-in to a shed on the 400 block of Denny Way. It is unknown if anything was taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT FROM MOTEL

• Centralia police responded yesterday to a 5:30 p.m. report of furniture stolen from a motel room on the 1300 block of Lakeshore Drive.

THEFT FROM GAS STATION

• An employee of the Randle One-Stop was arrested yesterday for allegedly stealing small amounts of money from a cash register at work. A deputy called on Saturday to the service station on the 10,000 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Randle found that $72.70 was taken during the current month, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Kathrine Coby, 55, from Randle, was contacted and arrested for third-degree theft and then released, according to  Chief Deputy Stacy Brown.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Morton police are still investigating the theft of an aluminum ladder, taken from the back of a pickup truck parked on the 200 block of West State Street in Mossyrock last Tuesday. The loss is estimated at $100, according to the Morton Police Department.

STOLEN PLATES

• Chehalis police were called on Friday afternoon following the discovery by a shopper at Wal-Mart that someone removed their front license plate while they were in the store. An officer was called a short time later by an individual from the 100 block of Southwest Third Street who also was missing a front license plate, but it had been taken sometime during the previous two weeks, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

FRAUD

• Centralia police took a report on Saturday regarding unauthorized electronic purchase made from a credit card account.

• Centralia police were contacted on Friday afternoon for a report of unauthorized charges being made to an individual’s accounts.

DRUGS

• A 31-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for possession of methamphetamine after contact with an officer at First and M streets about 12:50 p.m. yesterday. Genevieve J. Molina was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 35-year-old homeless man who reportedly went into a business he had been banned from on the 100 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia on Saturday evening was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for trespassing. Terry L Bryan was subsequently also arrested for possession of methamphetamine, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 37-year-old Toledo resident reportedly discovered in a shed off an alley in Chehalis early Sunday morning was arrested for possession of methamphetamine. Police were called about 3 a.m. to the area off the 100 block Southwest Seventh Street were told by Christopher S. Huston he was waiting for someone, according to the Chehalis Police Department. An officer located hypodermic needles, pens, and a smoking device and booked Huston into the Lewis County Jail, according to police. The residue field tested positive for meth, according to police. Prosecutors today declined to file a charge and he was released from jail.

• Chehalis police called to Wal-Mart late Friday night about a suspected shoplifter subsequently located a pipe with residue that field-tested positive for amphetamine. Eual N. Davis, 30, of Chehalis, said it was not his, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Davis was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and booked into the Lewis County Jail. Davis posted bail, appeared in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon and his arraignment was scheduled for Thursday.

TRESPASS ARREST AFTER LEAVING SURPRISE FOR GAS STATION

• A 42-year-old man was arrested after he was caught on a security camera defecating near the front door of a Silver Creek gas station over the weekend, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy was called about 10:30 a.m. on Saturday to the Texaco station on the 2900 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Silver Creek and learned it happened just before 3 o’clock that morning, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. Richard E. Graham had been banned from the business in 2012, Brown said. A deputy located Graham on Leonard Road and booked him into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree trespassing, according to the sheriff’s office.

SUSPICIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES

• Morton police report they were called to a business on the 100 block of Main Avenue when a male was seen trying to get into a ATM machine with what appeared to be a screwdriver. The Thursday morning case was solved quickly. The individual was the ATM repairman, according to the Morton Police Department.

FOUR-VEHICLE FREEWAY WRECK INCLUDES TEEN, BIG RIG

• One person was injured this morning when a northbound semi truck and a northbound Toyota Prius driven by a 15-year-old girl collided on Interstate 5 near the Harrison Avenue interchange in Centralia. Troopers responding about 9:40 a.m. report the Prius was spun into a construction barrel pushing it onto the roadway causing a swerving Taurus to strike a Toyota Corolla, according to the Washington State Patrol. The Prius, driven by Danielle J. McCollum, 15, of Chehalis, was described as totaled. She was unhurt but her passenger, Louis M. McCollum, 57, also of Chehalis was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the state patrol. Vasyl D. Tsar, 43, of Vancouver, who was driving the 2000 Freightliner was uninjured, as were the other two drivers, according to the state patrol. The collision remain under investigation.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, misdemeanor assault, protection order violation, third-degree malicious mischief, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence, physical control of a vehicle while intoxicated; responses for alarms, disputes, hit and run, attempted suicide, misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets and parking lots, counterfeit $20 bills discovered at a local business … and more.

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Coroner hopes releasing name of dead woman will lead him to next of kin

Monday, March 23, 2015 at 6:35 pm
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The Chehalis Police Department says this picture of Sara Candice was taken in about 2007; authorities are looking for her relatives.

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The coroner is appealing to the public for help to find family of the woman whose skeletal remains were discovered on a wooded Chehalis hillside a month ago.

All attempts to locate next of kin by his office and the Chehalis Police Department have been unsuccessful, Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said today.

McLeod released her name, Sara Candice, her age, 56, and where she lived, which he described as the Twin Cities area.

How and exactly when she died remains unknown.

The human remains were found by a surveyor about a quarter mile east of the 2200 block of Northeast Kresky Avenue on Feb. 23. The spot was remote, a rugged hike from  property where some earthmoving is underway east of Yard Birds Mall.

Police estimated she had been there about a year, based on personal papers found in a handbag-type bag near her. There were no signs of a homeless encampment and no obvious signs of foul play at the scene, according to police.

Her identity was confirmed through dental records the coroner secured using a name found in the papers. She was not reported missing, as far as police know.

McLeod said today he couldn’t give out any information about the woman, such as what they have learned about where she lived or where she worked, citing confidentiality.

“We don’t know anything about any employment,” he said, however.

He has been told she might have a brother in Alaska or Canada, and he believed she traveled a lot, he said.

“One of the contacts we were able to find said she used to go all over the country, and send her post cards,” McLeod said.

The decedent was a roommate of the contact’s niece, he said.

McLeod said he didn’t know her middle name, but that police might, since they have her identification. Chehalis police say they don’t have a middle initial or name.

Chehalis detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said they found former addresses for Candice in both Chehalis and Centralia. Her most recent residence was an apartment on the 400 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia where she lived alone, Wilson said.

“She didn’t have a lot of associates and didn’t have any real connections,” Wilson said.

They located some people Candice had business dealings with and they gave indications she pretty much kept to herself, he said.

Wilson said police could not find that she had a driver’s license in any state. The only local law enforcement contact with her was in 2012, he said.

“So, she was just one of those people who was not in trouble with the law,” he said.

The receipts found with her go back to March of last year, he said.

When detectives went to the apartment where Candice last lived, nobody was living there, WIlson said.

“The people who controlled the apartment hadn’t heard from her, rent was not being paid, so it was being cleaned up,” he said.

Chehalis police secured a photo taken of Candice from a law enforcement agency in Arizona, which Wilson said he thought was taken in about 2007.

Wilson said he doesn’t feel like police are any closer than they were a couple of weeks ago to finding out how or why she died.

The goal for both police and the coroner right now is to locate her relatives.

The condition of her body was such that no autopsy could be done, but her remains have been sent to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office where a forensic anthropologist may or may not be able to determine a cause of death, according to the coroner.

McLeod asks anyone with information regarding the decedent and possible next of kin to please call the coroner’s office at 360-740-1376.
•••

For background, read “News brief: Dental match confirms identity of Kresky Avenue remains” from Thursday March 5, 2015, here

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Boyfriend jailed after allegedly shooting at woman, missing

Monday, March 23, 2015 at 10:47 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 44-year-old Chehalis-area woman escaped with her life after her boyfriend reportedly fired repeatedly from a rifle towards her as she ran down her driveway following an argument.

Deputies called to the 700 block of state Route 508 found the suspect had already given up his gun, was very intoxicated and emotional, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

“He said he didn’t want to make any statements, but told the deputy he should probably take him to jail,” Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning.

Todd H. Bergfalk, 44, of Tacoma, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree assault, according to the sheriff’s office.

Brown said the incident took place about 5:20 p.m. on Saturday.

What the disagreement was about, she didn’t say, but indicated at one point the girlfriend locked Bergfalk out of the trailer but then eventually let him back in.

When he began to load a Remington 22 long rifle, she tried to leave but he wouldn’t let her, according to the sheriff’s office. He fired off about four rounds inside the trailer, Brown said.

The woman finally went outside and he followed, firing approximately 10 rounds as she fled, according to Brown.

She didn’t know where the bullets were going and was very afraid she would be shot, Brown said. Evidence showed some were fired in her direction, according to Brown.

“She wasn’t hit, thankfully,” Brown stated.

Bergfalk is tentatively scheduled to appear before a judge at 4 o’clock this afternoon.

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Man rescued after being trapped all night in mud along river

Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 8:25 pm
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Firefighters finally get their patient out of the marsh and to an ambulance. / Courtesy photo by West Thurston Regional Fire Authority

Updated

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A motorist pulled over for speeding last night ran off into the dark and ended up spending more than 12 hours stuck in a marshy area along the Black River outside Littlerock.

The individual was stuck chest deep in the swampy backwater of the river, and crews had to blaze a path through brush with chainsaws to get to him, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority Chief Robert Scott.

The rescue operation for the 44-year-old man took all night, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

“The dive team was called, and put on their dry suits and walked out to him,” Lt. Cliff Ziesemer said. “But they were unable to bring him back out because he was so hypothermic.”

Fire Chief Scott said part of the reason it took so long was because they were waiting for daylight, but also because of the composition of the ground, partially quicksand like.

The dive team deputy waded through waist deep water and very thick brush for about two hundred yards to reach the man.

“It took an hour and 20 minutes just to move him 50 yards,” Scott said. “Every time the deputy would go to move him, the deputy would sink.”

The temperature overnight got down to about 37 degrees, according to Scott.

Responders were able to ferry out some items to keep the man’s body temperature from dropping further, according to Scott, such as blankets, heat packs and glucose.

“If it wasn’t for us getting that stuff to the deputy, the outcome would have been much different,” he said.

The patient, James A. Mueller, was finally brought out to waiting medics about 11 o’clock this morning, put into an ambulance and taken to the hospital, according to Ziesemer. Mueller is a Thurston County resident.

The lieutenant said it began about 7:15 p.m. when a deputy tried to stop a car along Littlerock Road south of Tumwater for speeding, and the driver fled on foot.

Around 12:45 a.m., they got a 911 call about someone screaming for help in the swampy area, roughly 200 yards off the road near 110th Avenue Southwest.

They requested assistance from helicopters from both the Air Force and King County, but neither could help because of the fog, he said.

Chief Scott called it a very manpower intensive operation, with nearly 25 firefighters from four other departments joining them.

Ziesemer said the man had felony warrants.

Update: Mueller was released from Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia a few hours later and then booked into the Thurston County Jail for warrants. No charges or ticket is planned for the speeding incident, according to Ziesemer.

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Town meeting: Got a question for the sheriff, the prosecutor?

Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 6:43 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The sheriff and prosecutor are getting ready to hit the road, for a series of town meetings around Lewis County, to talk with citizens, answer their questions and listen to their concerns.

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Sheriff Rob Snaza

Newly-elected Sheriff Rob Snaza and Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer plan to speak about projects their offices are involved in, their agency goals for the future and their accomplishments.

Both will welcome interaction from the audience, according to a joint news release.

The first meeting is set for Wednesday afternoon, at the Salkum Timberland Library in Salkum. It begins at 3 p.m. and goes until 4:30 p.m.

Snaza, elected to a four-year term in November, says he’s always felt such gatherings are beneficial to provide transparency about what they do.

“Partnerships between law enforcement, the prosecutor’s office, and the citizens living in the county are so important when trying to reduce crime and deal effectively with community issues,” Snaza states.

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Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer

Meyer, who ran unopposed in November and won a second term, encourages those who can attend to do so. He thinks it will be a productive meeting.

“I believe this meeting will be an excellent opportunity to share how well we are doing to ensure justice is served for victims in Lewis County,” Meyer states. “I look forward to answering questions about the process involved in prosecuting those who break the law, and talking about some of our successes these past few years.”

Future town meetings will be held throughout the year in different communities in Lewis County.

What: Town Meeting with Lewis County Sheriff Rob Snaza and Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer
Where: Salkum Timberland Library, 2480 U.S. Highway 12, Salkum
When: Wednesday March 25, 2015
Time: 3 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.

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New face at the Lewis County Law and Justice Center is sweet

Friday, March 20, 2015 at 7:30 pm
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Oak, a new court therapy dog, patiently poses for a snapshot at the Lewis County courthouse.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office has expanded its staff by one; one four-legged furry volunteer whose primary job is to help put people at ease.

His name is Oak, and he started coming to the office last week.

The two and a half year old pup is a court therapy dog, and the idea is he can sit with witnesses or victims before trials, to maybe make them less nervous, according to one of his three handlers.

He’s not getting paid, he was offered by the woman who trained him, originally as a seeing eye dog.

Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer, or one of his staff, picks him up from her home in the morning, and returns him there each night.

It’s not an entirely new idea, there are other counties that use court therapy dogs, Meyer said. In Thurston County, one is used at Monarch, the child sexual assault center, for example.

Meyer said he’s spoken with the judges about Oak, and maybe even one day he could accompany a witness into the courtroom, for comfort. But that’s not something he’s expecting anytime soon, because of various logistics, he said.

Oak’s first big assignment was going to be yesterday, to sit with a teenage victim during a sex case trial. But the defendant took a plea deal before the jury was seated.

When Oak on the clock, and wearing his vest, he’s just a lovable animal, Meyer said.

“He’ll come up to people and let them pet him, or he’ll just lay there and hang out with them,” he said.

And when the vest comes off, he just runs around and plays like a regular puppy, he said.

Meyer said he plans to share more details with the public about Oak next week.