Archive for the ‘Top story of the day’ Category

Chamber Way overpass closed, maybe for months

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

One of two vehicles which were damaged by falling concrete. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

Updated at 5:33 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Major work necessary to repair damage after an over-tall load on Interstate 5 struck an overpass at Chehalis today means the main road that leads to Wal-Mart and numerous other retailers will be shut down indefinitely.

Drivers will need to use alternate routes for the foreseeable future, according to the state Department of Transportation.

About 11:40 a.m., a southbound semi-truck hauling a pair of excavators hit the Chamber of Commerce Way overpass, causing significant damage, according to the state Department of Transportation. Concrete debris struck two vehicles in the adjacent lane.

One of those motorists is lucky to be alive.

“I don’t know how fast she was going but if she was going 60 mph and one of those pieces hit her in the head or the chest, I’m sure that would have been it,” Chehalis Fire Department Capt. Rob Gebhart said.

The windshield of her car was intact, but peppered with concrete, he said. Some of the chunks fell into her passenger compartment, and one was left wedged into the glass on her driver’s side, according to Gebhart.

The driver, in her mid-40s from Port Orchard, sustained only a few little scratches, he said.

Melaney A. Watson was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital as a precaution, according to the Washington State Patrol. Her 2014 Ford Fusion was deemed totaled and was towed.

The GMC Yukon driven by a 41-year-old man from Covington was drivable, the state patrol reported.

The Chamber of Commerce Way overpass at exit 79 was shut down initially at the request of the fire and police departments. One southbound lane of the freeway remains closed this afternoon as well.

Due to the extent of damage to the girders and for the safety of the traveling public, the overpass will remain closed until repairs are made, the state agency said in a news release.

“We know this closure is a huge inconvenience for the community,” said DOT Maintenance Manager Glenn Schneider. “Repairing the bridge is going to take time, because each damaged part is unique and integral to the overall strength of the bridge.”

Backups today have stretched 11 miles to Grand Mound in Thurston County.

One of two southbound lanes will remain closed until DOT can remove loose debris and bridge cables that are hanging over the right lane of the freeway.

Washington State Patrol issued citations to the semi-truck driver. He is identified as Henry Abadia, 35, of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Final repair costs are still being determined. DOT will work to recover the costs for the emergency response and repairs from the responsible parties.

Workers next will inspect the overpass to determine the full extent of the damage and develop a repair plan.

Designing and constructing replacement bridge components takes time, and it may take several months until the overpass can reopen to traffic, officials said.

Shoppers can still get to Wal-Mart, Home Depot, the Twin City Town Center and the other businesses on the west side of Interstate 5 by exiting southbound at milepost 79, or using Northwest Louisiana Avenue and Airport Road.

From the south, drivers can get onto Northwest Louisiana Avenue where state Route 6 and Main Street meet just on the west side of the freeway.


The two tractors sit on a flatbed trailer at the scene. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol


Two good-sized chunks of concrete can be seen on the driver’s seat next to the center console. / Courtesy photo

Ex-manager of downtown Chehalis retailer sought for allegedly stealing money

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016


By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Lewis County judge issued an arrest warrant yesterday for the former manger of a Chehalis furniture store, accused of pocketing money from cash sales and concocting phony invoices.

Misti M. Moore was expected to make her first appearance yesterday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court, as a summons had been issued when a charge of first-degree theft was filed last month.

The summons was sent to her address on Littlerock Road in Olympia, but was returned to the prosecutor’s office, Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meager said.

“We don’t know where she is,” Meager told the judge.

Moore, 45, had quit her job from Furniture World on North Market Boulevard with no explanation shortly before the business’s owner contacted Chehalis police in May of last year, according to court documents.

The owner Emina Jusupovic told an officer the issue came to her attention when a customer came in to ask about getting his furniture repaired and the items on his receipt did not match the entries in the company computer, Meagher wrote in charging documents.

A police detective was shown several instances suggesting similar cash transactions when he met with the new manager in July of last year.

One customer, for example, had a receipt showing he spent $2,000 on couches and love seats, but the store invoice showed a purchase of a table lamp for $43, according to Meagher.

That customer said he got a very good deal after he asked about a cash discount and a veteran’s discount and that one of the items he took home was advertised at $1,600 or $1,700, Meagher wrote.

Charging documents don’t indicate why it took more than a year to investigate and/or file criminal charges.

Meagher wrote in charging documents he currently has documentation of $5,880 missing, but the new manager found as much as $20,000 in discrepancies.

Moore has six prior felony convictions for embezzlement crimes committed in Virginia against another furniture store, according to Meagher.

Judge Nelson Hunt agreed to issue a $5,000 arrest warrant.

Contamination of Olequa Creek was costly consequence of August 2015 fire

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The owners of a Winlock warehouse that went up in flames last summer and their insurance company have already forked out more than $200,000 for the contractors who conducted cleanup and demolition, and now the state Department of Ecology has sent a bill for its response.


August 18, 2015

The 15,000 square-foot building held pallets of grocery products, including 1,130 gallons of vegetable oils. Runoff from the fire’s extinguishment spilled into the nearby Olequa Creek, killing as many as 100,000 fish over a stretch of three and a half miles.

Ecology and other agencies oversaw the response for more than two weeks after the August 18 fire. After any oil spill response, Ecology is required by state law to follow up with enforcement, including reimbursement for state expenses, the state agency said in a news release.

DOE has directed Olympic Trading Company to reimburse the state for its costs of $30,887.

The work at Northwest Kerron Street, just south of Laurel Street, included the collection and removal of  65,500 gallons of contaminated water and 25 cubic yards of oiled sorbents and contaminated soil, according to DOE.

The owners are Patricia and Michael Parish, who reside in the Winlock area, Fire Investigator Samuel Patrick said at the time.

Investigators have not found a cause for the fire.

Early on, officials reported finding all species and sizes of fish, insects and other living organisms were killed for five miles downstream, but revised the distance. DOE indicates some endangered species perished. Olequa Creek is a tributary to the Cowlitz River.

The state agency also issued Olympic Trading Company a $1,000 fine. The company has 30 days to appeal the penalty and cost reimbursement.

In its news release, DOE noted  the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering a separate assessment for the value of damages to the environment.

For background, read “Authorities: Stay out of Winlock creek, avoid contaminated runoff from warehouse fire” from Friday August 21, 2015, here

Prosecutors: Thousands of dollars more missing from Mossyrock accounts

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Mossyrock city clerk now stands accused not only of stealing roughly $7,700 from the city, but of making large monthly withdrawals – from roughly $2,200 to as much as $4,833 – from the municipality’s accounts going back to October.


Doneia A. Santiago

Doneia A. Santiago, 53, pleaded not guilty to first-degree theft earlier this month, but already the mayor the police chief and prosecutors were digging up new information by looking into transactions at Key Bank, where the city did business until moving to Security State Bank.

Santiago was arrested on June 26 and was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

The alleged thefts came to light when Santiago approached the mayor to tell him her husband inadvertently used the city credit card to make an approximately $3,600 payment to Central Mortgage, according to court documents.

The initial charges also made mention of ATM withdrawals the mayor said were not authorized and use of Mossyrock’s bank card to purchase fuel.

In a supplemental affidavit filed in Lewis County Superior Court, prosecutors write that on the day Santiago was charged, Morton Police Chief Roger Morningstar was notified Santiago had issued herself a payroll check on June 20, which was not a regular payroll date.

Morningstar advised the mayor to look over the Key Bank accounts, where they found a number of transactions made to Central Mortgage, Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello wrote.

The total comes to more than $37,000.

Information from the Lewis County Assessors Office shows Santiago co-owns nearly 10 acres and a three-bedroom house outside of Mossyrock assessed at more than $258,000.

The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office filed the supplemental affidavit and an amended information on July 8.

The charge of first-degree theft was left out, but in its place are nine charges of second-degree theft and nine charges of  first-degree identity theft.

Santiago has retained Centralia attorney Don Blair. Her next court hearing is scheduled for Aug. 4.

For background, read “Thousands of dollars in unauthorized transactions attributed to Mossy city clerk” from Monday June 27, 2016, here

Unauthorized marijuana production enterprise shut down in Chehalis

Thursday, July 14th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A $25,000 arrest warrant has been issued for a Pierce County man alleged to be behind an unlicensed marijuana growing operation in a rented building in Chehalis’s industrial district.

Steven D. Smith, 39, and two individuals who told police they worked for Smith tending the plants are charged each with one count of manufacture of marijuana.

Christopher M. Hannigan and Regina V.S. Champaco, both 41 years old and both residing at the same address in Tacoma, appeared before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court yesterday afternoon. They were allowed release on unsecured signature bonds.

Charging documents in the case identify the building only as on State Street in Chehalis, with no address, and note it shares a common wall with a neighboring business. Documents indicate a case number associated with the Lewis County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team.

A Chehalis detective was contacted in March about the possible marijuana growing there and the investigation led to a traffic stop for a broken windshield of a suspect vehicle as it left the building’s parking lot on Match 17, according to court documents.

The Tacoma couple said they were working for Smith, according to court documents. Hannigan said he’d built grow rooms and was paid $2,000 a month for the work, according to court documents.

When law enforcement searched the building, they found more than 400 marijuana plants in various stages of growth, charging documents allege.

Among the early clues, listed in court documents: the detective went to the manager of the neighboring business, which shared a wall, and learned there was mold growing in his building and who said when he spoke about it to Richard Na, the son of the building’s owner, Na just laughed it off.

When the Chehalis detective visited the exterior of the building, he could smell the odor of fresh marijuana outside and located items in the trash such as a broken fan, a broken thermostat, fertilizer and potting soil.

Detectives checked the power usage for the building and discovered a tremendous increase when January of this year was compared with September of 2014.

Police could not find either a Chehalis business license or any application to the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board on file.

The building’s owner is not named in the court documents.

On March 23, the detective contacted Na directly, who said he rented to Smith for $5,000 per month and Smith pays the electric bill which runs about $1,300 each month, Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello wrote in charging documents.

Na indicated Smith told him he had medical authorizations to grow for multiple people and would have no more marijuana than was allowed by law, according to Masiello.

When told there were over 400 plants and not the 75 Na had anticipated, Na appeared surprised, Masiello wrote.

Law enforcement tried to locate Smith at his home in Lakewood, but were unsuccessful.

On June 23, Lewis County prosecutors filed charges against all three, sought and secured the arrest warrant for Smith, and also requested court summons to be issued for Hannigan and Champaco.

They were late to their court hearing yesterday afternoon and the judge had already authorized warrants for their arrest, but essentially tore them up, defense attorney Joely O’Rourke said.

Manufacture of marijuana is a class C felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Hannigan and Champaco were ordered to return to court on July 21 for their arraignments.

Hit and run charged after man ‘launched’ into the air by truck

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – While police arrested a 19-year-old Rochester resident for second-degree assault after he reportedly struck a pedestrian early yesterday morning at Taco Bell in Centralia, prosecutors today filed a charge instead of hit and run.

Hit and run is a class C felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Chase A. Deguise

Officers were called just before 2 a.m. yesterday to the 1100 block of Belmont Avenue and stated later in the morning their investigation showed Chase A. Deguise intentionally struck a male with his truck. The Centralia Police Department continued to investigate.

Deguise was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

Lewis County prosecutors wrote in court documents today that numerous witnesses were questioned and it appeared there was a dispute between Deguise and Kyle R. E. Morrison.

“During the dispute, Deguise drove his truck through the parking lot and struck Mr. Morrison, launching him in the air,” Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead wrote.

Morrison was found laying on the ground and was transported to the hospital with a laceration and bruising and may have a severe back injury, according to Halstead.

Deguise had driven home and didn’t contact law enforcement, charging documents state.

When he was contacted and questioned, he reportedly admitted knowing he’d hit the victim, according to Halstead.

Neither charging documents nor police gave any detail about the disagreement between the two.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh told a judge this afternoon when bail was addressed the defendant has no criminal convictions in his past, but does have two cases currently in municipal court.

Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke indicated Deguise grew up in Chehalis, lives with his grandparents in Rochester, is going to school and in the process of getting a job.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt set his bail at $5,000. An arraignment was scheduled for Thursday.

Target of Centralia drug-related search warrant relocated to Thurston County

Friday, July 8th, 2016

Brandon M. Perrott faces a judge today charged with four counts of delivery of methamphetamine.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Bail was set at $25,000 for the suspect that drug detectives were looking for when they raided a south Centralia house yesterday.

Brandon M. Perrott, 33, however, had moved out the day before.

A search warrant was served at 7 a.m., at the 1000 block of South Tower Avenue by the Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team with the assistance of the Lewis County Regional SWAT Team, the Sheriff’s Enforcement Team and personnel with the state Department of Corrections.

Several people were detained, but only three were arrested. Law enforcement officers made their fourth arrest when shortly afterward they found Perrott at his new home on Reeder Road outside Tenino near Maytown in Thurston County.

Perrott was wanted for allegedly four times since early May selling methamphetamine to a confidential informant from the Tower Avenue residence while he was living there with his girlfriend and her family.

Her mother Penny Martin was among those in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon when the arrestees were brought before a judge.

Martin said they’d suspected what Perrott was up to and told him to leave. She was distraught over the condition of her home, after law enforcement officers conducted their search.

“Every room the officers went through, they broke things,” she said. “They opened every dresser drawer, and threw them down the hallway.”

She still can’t find her car keys, Martin said, noting one pile left of her belongings was taller than her bed.

Authorities posted the house uninhabitable, attributing the move to numerous code violations found inside and outside. Martin said they were in the process of remodeling the house they are purchasing.

Martin’s husband was arrested as when asked, he told police he had a methamphetamine pipe in his bedroom and gave them consent to search, according to court documents. Police found two meth pipes with residue and baggies with meth.

They also found two guns – a Winchester Model 70 and a Savage Arms Model 111 – which he is prohibited from having because of prior felony convictions.

Patrick N. Martin, 50, was charged today with possession of methamphetamine and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. His bail was set at $10,000.

Thirty-one-year-old Jennifer N. Morillon, who rents a room at the home told police she had drugs in her pocket and in her bedroom they found a digital scale and numerous plastic bags with residue. She was charged with possession of methamphetamine. Her bail was set with a $5,000 unsecured bond.

Penny Martin’s son, 28-year-old Spencer R. Barney, was also arrested as police found in his bedroom an Windham AR-15 rifle and a Springfield 22 rifle, according to court documents. He too has prior felonies, and was charged with first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. His bail was set at $10,000.

Perrott was charged with four counts of delivery of methamphetamine.

All four of the defendants are unemployed and qualified for court appointed lawyers, according to temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey was initially visibly perturbed when told the confidential informant involved has in the past been represented by all but two of the county’s contract defense attorneys. It would mean finding outside lawyers for the defendants to avoid conflicts, he said, raising his voice.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello then said he’d charged Martin, Morillon and Barney as co-defendants with each other, but they were not involved in Perrott’s case.

Masiello acknowledged outside the courtroom the three arrests at the house were more or less byproducts of the investigation and search warrant meant for Perrott.

Penny Martin didn’t make excuses for her husband or her son, but couldn’t understand the necessity for police to break things.

“When they came, we didn’t fight,” she said. “If my family’s done something wrong, they’ll have their day in court.”

Arraignments for all four of the defendants are scheduled for next Thursday.

For background, read “News brief: Drugs, guns seized at south Centralia residence” from Thursday July 7, 2016, here

The aftermath of a search warrant on South Tower Avenue. / Courtesy photo Penny Martin

Mental evaluation ordered for McDonald’s restaurant stabbing suspect

Thursday, July 7th, 2016

The McDonald’s restaurant in Centralia was the scene of a bloody stabbing during the noon hour on Tuesday.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – When police officers contacted Calvin J. Beck, he was bleeding from his face, acting strange and made numerous statements that didn’t make sense.

So say prosecutors about the 50-year-old accused of stabbing a fellow customer in the Centralia McDonalds restaurant earlier this week.

Authorities said Beck had been in line acting belligerent to counter employees and one patron told him to leave, which he did. But he allegedly walked back into the lobby and stabbed the individual who had confronted him.

“There were two guys holding him down and another guy met me at the door,” Centralia Police Department Sgt. Kurt Reichert said of his arrival to the 1200 block of Lum Road following the approximately noontime call on Tuesday. “It was a bloody mess.”

A folding knife with a four-inch blade lay on the counter, where it was placed by the civilians who disarmed the suspect.

The victim, Keith Mohoric, was stabbed twice in the abdomen, according to police. but took part in jumping his attacker and holding him for police.

Mohoric was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital and admitted into surgery for his injuries, according to prosecutors. A hospital spokesperson this morning said Mohoric is in good condition.

Beck also was taken to the hospital to be treated for injuries he received when he crashed into a window during the fight, police said.

Beck was booked into the Lewis County Jail later that afternoon and charged yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court with first-degree assault.

Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke asked the judge to postpone the hearing, so a court order for a competency evaluation could be entered. Judge Nelson Hunt agreed and said Beck should be held overnight without bail.

O’Rourke said she didn’t think he comprehended the proceedings.

“I don’t believe he understands the elements of the crime,” she said.

Beck, who has an Olympia address listed in his court file, has a prior conviction for second-degree assault, according to prosecutors. It’s from 1991.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead got the order for a mental health evaluation signed yesterday.

Specialists from Western State Hospital are expected to visit the defendant at the jail to conduct their examination and lawyers will likely get their report back next week, Halstead said.

Judge Hunt appointed Centralia attorney Don Blair to represent Beck.

For background, read “News brief: Police investigate stabbing in Centralia McDonald’s restaurant lobby” from Tuesday July 5, 2016, here


Calvin J. Beck appeared briefly before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court on Wednesday.

Sentenced: Mossy man gets eight months for felonies, two years for misdemeanors

Friday, July 1st, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 61-year-old Mossyrock man who returned to his home with an ax in violation of a no-contact order – because of a previous hours-long standoff there in which he fired several rounds including after deputies arrived – has been sentenced to two years in jail.


James C. Long

James C. Long was first arrested on April 3 after scaring his girlfriend and her mother out of the home on the 100 block of Naylor Road. Law enforcement officers eventually deployed pepper spray into the residence and SWAT members entered and took him into custody.

Long lived there with his girlfriend.

Charges in that case, all misdemeanors, were handled in Lewis County District Court.

Less than three weeks later, within hours of Long being released from jail, he was arrested after allegedly breaking through the back door of the home, wielding an ax and a screwdriver.

His girlfriend had two friends staying over, one of which intercepted Long and ended up with small cuts and scrapes.

For that, Long was charged in Lewis County Superior Court with felony assault and felony burglary as well as a violation of a court order.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead said today they made a deal in that case that gave Long eight months in jail. He made a so-called Alford plea on June 2 to  third-degree assault and residential burglary. He simply pleaded guilty to the court order violation.

The Alford plea means he believed if a jury heard the state’s evidence and believed it, they would find him guilty.

On Wednesday, he was sentenced in Lewis County Superior Court to eight months in jail. Halstead said the deal included that the sentence would run concurrently with whatever time he got in the District Court standoff case.

On Wednesday, in Lewis County District Court, the judge gave Long 364 days each for reckless endangerment and third-degree malicious mischief, with the time to run consecutively.

Long was given credit for 81 days already served. He is ordered to have no contact with his girlfriend for 10 years.

Until these cases, he had no criminal convictions.

Centralia man un-convicted of child sex crimes back in court

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Centralia man whose convictions for child sex abuse that put him in prison for 30 years were reversed, is back in the Lewis County Jail.

Lewis County prosecutors are preparing for a new trial for now 41-year-old Paulo Botello-Garcia.

Botello-Garcia was arrested early in 2012 after a 15-year-old girl’s mother found writings in the teen’s journal about incidents that had occurred in the past. He was convicted by a jury in Lewis County Superior Court of two counts of second-degree child molestation and two counts of second-degree rape of a child in early 2014.

The Washington State Court of Appeals found the trial court erred in admitting certain evidence and earlier this year remanded the case for a new trial.

It was a lengthy trial, said Joely O’Rourke who prosecuted the case.

O’Rourke has since left the Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office and now serves as temporary defense attorney for individuals at their first court appearance. On Monday afternoon when Botello-Garcia was brought back before a judge, O’Rourke excused herself from the courtroom.

Botello-Garcia, who told Judge Richard Brosey he only spoke a little English, was accompanied at the defense table by only an interpreter.

Judge Brosey noted Botello-Garcia’s trial lawyer has died and asked if he needed a court appointed attorney. Botello-Garcia said he did and Centralia lawyer David Arcuri was assigned to represent him.

Since the case was tried before Judge James Lawler, the case will go back to him, Brosey said.

Court documents show the 2014 trial lasted at least six days. The offenses for which he was convicted occurred when the girl was 12 and 13 years old. They were members of the same household.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh argued the appeal. Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm will be handling the case now, Beigh said today.

Botello-Garcia is scheduled for his next court hearing tomorrow.

Thousands of dollars in unauthorized transactions attributed to Mossy city clerk

Monday, June 27th, 2016

Doneia A. Santiago is represented by private defense attorney Don Blair in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Court documents in the case of the Mossyrock official arrested for theft from the city accounts indicate Clerk-Treasurer Doneia A. Santiago approached the mayor to tell him her husband inadvertently used the city credit card to make an approximately $3,600 payment to Central Mortgage.

Charging documents state Mayor Tom Meade questioned two ATM withdrawals during May for $100 and $200 by Santiago and then use of the city bank card to purchase fuel for her personal vehicle.

The total loss going back to January 2014 is $7,730.45, according to  prosecutors.

The mayor and the police chief met a week ago about the issue. Santiago has been placed on administrative leave.

She was arrested yesterday afternoon and booked into the Lewis County Jail. The 53-year-old Salkum woman was charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with first-degree theft.

She was handcuffed and outfitted in green jail garb when she appeared before a judge. Santiago is represented by Centralia attorney Don Blair.

The afternoon hearing focused on how much bail she should be required to post to be released pending a trial.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm asked for $10,000, saying she was concerned Santiago and her husband might leave the country.

Blair told the judge his client is a lifelong Lewis County resident who’s lived at her current address at least nine years and had no intention of traveling anywhere. He indicated frustration with his attempts late last week to contact the police chief so she could turn herself in.

Judge Richard Brosey decided she could be released on a $10,000 unsecured bond.

The community of some 750 people employs just a very small number of people at city hall. Santiago worked as the city clerk and city treasurer.

The most recent year for which documents were readily available shows the city took in revenues of approximately $762,000 in 2014. The mayor hasn’t yet responded to requests for comment.

The Morton Police Department, which handles law enforcement services for the small central Lewis County city, conducted the investigation.

First-degree theft involves amounts in excess of $5,000.

Charging documents include the following information and allegations:

Santiago told the mayor the accidental payment on May 19 to the mortgage company was done by her husband and she wanted to repay the city. Police Chief Roger Morningstar contacted Security State Bank and was told Santiago’s explanation was incorrect, as the transaction was of the type requiring account and routing numbers to be manually entered into a computer system.

Santiago later said she didn’t have the $3,657.24 to pay back.

She also said the ATM withdrawals were her way of reimbursing herself for purchases she had made for the city. The mayor said the transactions were not permitted.

Mayor Meade also had concerns about the city’s Shell credit card and Santiago told him there were only about $600 of charges over the previous three years.

The police chief requested a copy of a video from the Mossy Mini from June 15, showing Santiago using the city card to buy fuel for her own vehicle.

The police chief obtained statements from Shell and found $1,448.48 in unauthorized transactions between January 2014 and February 2015. They also showed $2,626.73 from June 2015 to June 2016.

Santiago’s arraignment is scheduled for the morning of July 7.

For background, read “Mossyrock city official jailed for alleged theft” from Monday June 27, 2016, here

Mossyrock city official jailed for alleged theft

Monday, June 27th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Mossyrock’s city clerk was arrested yesterday afternoon for first-degree theft and misappropriation by a public official.

Doneia A. Santiago was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

The Morton Police Department, which handles law enforcement services for the small central Lewis County city, is investigating.

Morton Police Chief Roger Morningstar said this morning he couldn’t yet discuss the case, because it is ongoing.

He said he began looking into it as soon he was informed of an issue by Mossyrock Mayor Thomas Meade.

“Mayor Meade was very quick to get on board as soon as he was notified by the bank,” Morningstar said.

The community of some 750 people employs just three individuals full time at city hall, according to the most recent report from the Washington State Auditor’s Office. It operated on revenues of approximately $762,000 in 2014.

Santiago was listed as the clerk-treasurer in the report issued on Nov. 16 of last year. The 53-year-old resides in Salkum.

The accountability audit report on the city’s compliance and safeguarding of public resources stated that in most areas audited for the 2014 calendar year, the city was in compliance.

“However, we noted certain matters that we communicated to city management in a letter dated November 10, 2015, related to cost allocation,” the audit’s authors wrote. “We appreciate the city’s commitment to resolving those matters.”

Santiago is tentatively scheduled to appear this afternoon at 4 p.m. in Lewis County Superior Court.

Police: FBI case leads detectives to Toledo man who offered dog online for sex

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016


By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A retired firefighter who’s never even had a speeding ticket found himself visited by members of three law enforcement agencies at his Toledo area home after his alleged instant messages showed up amid an FBI investigation into a couple arrested for child sex crimes.

The Seattle Police Department today said investigators with its Internet Crimes Against Children task force discovered he had offered his dog up online for sexual encounters and had exchanges with the couple in which he said he liked to watch adults sexually abusing children, offered to set up an encounter with a young child, and later asked for, and received, a picture of the husband’s genitals.

In the chat, he allegedly asked many questions about the man’s daughter, according to court documents.

ICAC detectives obtained a search warrant for his Yahoo account and traced the email and messages back to the 58-year-old Toledo man.

Investigators soon discovered he had also posted elsewhere online, allegedly offering to provide his German shepherd to another person for a sexual encounter.

“He included a detailed description of his dog’s genitals, and bragged about previously coordinating a sexual encounter between a neighbor and his dog, which he said was witnessed by another young child,” a Seattle Police Department writer stated in SPD’s Blotter today.

A detective who examined his emails supplied one of them to local prosecutors which is said to be his response to a Craigslist advertisement titled, “Phone sex about your family member-I call you- m4m.”

Part of his alleged response: “Hey there, love taboo talk and chat, I have a fantasy about my niece who is a little girl … ”

At about 5:45 a.m. on Monday, detectives with ICAC were assisted by members of the Toledo Police Department and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office in “executing a search warrant” at the home on the 1800 block of state Route 505 in Toledo.

Wayde G. Rice was interviewed and his computer devices examined, according to court documents. An image of child pornography is described in the affidavit of probable cause filed in Lewis County Superior Court.

Rice was arrested, booked into the Lewis County Jail and charged with one count of first-degree possession of depictions of minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. The offense has a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

When Rice was brought before a judge on Tuesday afternoon, handcuffed and dressed in green jail garb, lawyers discussed what his bail should be.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Intern Amber Caulfield noted the defendant has no criminal convictions in his past.

Temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told the judge her client is a longtime Lewis County resident, retired after some 30 years of fighting fires in California.

“He’s never even had a speeding ticket,” O’Rourke said.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey allowed Rice release on a $25,000 unsecured bond. The judge ordered him to stay off the Internet.

According to charging documents, Rice spoke to a detective after his Miranda warnings.

He said the conversation with the man the FBI was investigating was just fantasy, that he didn’t believe “Rick” was real.

“Wayde stated he only has fantasies and he would never act on them,” Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm wrote in charging documents.

He denied having any images of child sexual exploitation, but stated he had seen some when the Internet first came out, Bohm wrote.

The SPD Blotter author noted that detectives learned he had recently relinquished ownership of his dogs.

“They are now investigating whether any of the animals, including the German shepherd, were abused and are working to ensure they are well cared for,” the author wrote.

Rice, though O’Rourke, told the judge he plans to retain an attorney. His arraignment is scheduled for June 30.

Breaking news: Gunshot victim airlifted from Chehalis

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

Updated at 8:57 a.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Responders were called overnight for a gunshot victim behind a business on the 600 block of West Main Street in Chehalis.

“Police were already on the scene, the male subject was with them behind the Dairy Bar,” Chehalis Firefighter Pennie McCarty said.

He was transported to the airport and airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, McCarty said.

Chehalis Police Department Deputy Chief Randy Kaut said he was briefed by an officer by phone about 3 o’clock this morning.

The man was conscious and talking and had a gunshot wound to his abdomen and stomach area, Kaut said. There was nobody else around and a shotgun was recovered, he said.

“It appears it was self inflicted by the person who called,” Kaut said. “At this point, I don’t know his condition.”

Kaut said he believed the 30-year-old Doty resident worked security for a fenced area nearby, and was staying in a camper there.

Police today will be trying to figure out what happened and why, Kaut said.

Lewis County Communications call log summary indicates police and fire were dispatched at 2:54 a.m.

This is a developing news story. Lewis County Sirens will follow up to try to learn the man’s condition. His name was not released.

Pe Ell mother faces charge of assault of her child

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016


By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – On the same day two weeks ago when Joseph W. Rogerson went before a judge charged with third-degree assault of a child, prosecutors sent off a summons for his wife and filed the same charge against her for an alleged incident from January.

Diana M. Rogerson, 38, appeared before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

The cases are unrelated but it’s the same alleged victim; her 7-year-old daughter.

Charging documents state Diana M. Rogerson’s ex-husband called law enforcement on Jan. 31 after his girlfriend discovered, while helping with a bath, a bruise on the child’s left buttock.

The girl’s older brother told the deputy his mom got angry with his sister because she refused to say prayers at dinnertime, took her in the bathroom and spanked her and then took her back in the bathroom and spanked her with a belt. Court documents indicate the incident occurred four to six days previous.

The bruise appeared to be darker on the ends and red in the center, the deputy noted.

The older brother said his mother commented she had broken a blood vessel in her hand from the spanking.

Charging documents go on to relate that Diana M. Rogerson told deputies she didn’t know how her daughter got the bruise, but said her hands hurt when she spanks her daughter.

She reportedly said her daughter had been disrespectful and fought to get away from being spanked, and that she retrieved a one-inch belt and folded it twice before spanking her.

The case has been assigned to Child Protective Services. The children are now living with their father in Toledo based on a temporary protection order secured on June 6.

The Rogersons live in Pe Ell.

Third-degree assault of a child is a class C felony with a maximum penalty of five years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

The allegation is bodily harm accompanied by substantial pain that extended for a period sufficient to cause considerable suffering to a child younger than 13 years old.

Her husband Joseph W. Rogerson, 37, was charged on June 6 with third-degree assault of a child for allegedly punching his 7-year-old step-daughter in the arm when she got in between a physical dispute involving him and her mother.

The felony charge put at risk his deferred prosecution on last summer’s DUI, related to a head-on crash in Onalaska that left three teenagers dead. Law enforcement’s investigation found he was not to blame, as he was traveling in his own lane.

Diana M. Rogerson reportedly also told deputies she and her husband have been under a lot of stress as a result of the car accident.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey set her bail with a $10,000 unsecured bond and told her to return on June 30 for her arraignment.

Judge Brosey commented in court about the difference between the two cases.

“This one has the potential defense of reasonable parental discipline,” he said. “Whereas the other one does not.”

Outside the courtroom today, Diana M. Rogerson said the assault allegations against both she and her husband are coming from her ex-husband.

For background, read “Driver from last summer’s deadly Onalaska wreck back in court” from Tuesday June 7, 2016, here

Mossyrock knife into neck case brings 26 months of prison

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Grace E. Barker consults with her lawyer Shane O’Rourke in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The judge went along with the plea agreement that gave a Mossyrock woman just over two years in prison for stabbing the father of her baby, instead as much as 15 years behind bars had she gone to trial and been convicted.

Grace E. Barker, 26, was accompanied by her defense attorney Shane O’Rourke yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court.

O’Rourke and Lewis County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher spoke of some of the reasons behind the deal.

O’Rourke said he had been working toward an argument of self defense, but it was imperfect and incomplete given an allegation of substance abuse and his client’s inability to recall. At one point they seriously considered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Prosecutors wrote in charging documents that Brian Slater was trying to get Barker to leave his Mossyrock home when she picked up what he has said was a 10-inch stiletto knife. He said he armed himself with a knife and when he threw his down thinking she had done the same, she stabbed him in the throat.

At the time of her arrest on April 6, Barker was homeless although Slater sometimes let her stay at his residence.

Meagher told the judge the victim has made a full recovery.

The original charge of first-degree assault was dropped to a charge of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon.

Judge James Lawler yesterday afternoon said he would follow the attorneys’ recommendations. Barker chose not to make a statement on her own behalf.

“You are very lucky that this is what’s happening today,” Lawler told her. “You’re lucky Mr. Slater didn’t die, you’re lucky Mr. O’Rourke was able to work out this deal for you.”

The judge sentenced her to 26 months in prison and 18 months of supervision after her release. He also made a finding that would require she be evaluated for substance abuse and follow up with treatment.

Meagher said outside the courtroom his reading of the defense’s therapists findings were that Barker’s situation was chemically induced.

“She has a terrible meth addiction,” Meagher said.

Part of the reason behind the deal was because prosecutors took the victim’s wishes into account, he said.

“There’s a lot going on when we do these plea bargains,” Meagher said. “There may have been a self defense claim; probably not enough to get over the hurdle, but we don’t want to take that chance.”

For background, read “Mossyrock argument: Two knives, one airlifted, other arrested” from Thursday April 7, 2016, here

Plea agreement ends Mossyrock stabbing case

Friday, June 17th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Instead of a trial next week for the 26-year-old woman being held after her boyfriend was stabbed in the neck at his Mossyrock home, Grace E. Barker will go before a judge to be sentenced.

Barker was arrested right after the April 6 incident and charged with first-degree assault. She pleaded guilty last week, as part of a plea agreement, to second-degree assault with a deadly weapon.


Grace E. Barker

Her lawyer Shane O’Rourke yesterday said the standard range for the offense is 12 months to 14 months in prison, along with another year afterward because of the weapon enhancement. She faces 26 months of lockup, he said.

Prosecutors wrote in charging documents that Brian Slater was trying to get Barker to leave his residence when she picked up a knife, and he armed himself with a knife and when he threw his down thinking she had done the same, she stabbed him in the throat. Slater has said it was a 10-inch stiletto.

Her hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Monday in Lewis County Superior Court.

The settlement before trial follows another April knife crime that ended somewhat similarly.

Gregory L. Trujillo, 58, of Toledo, was charged with first-degree assault following an April 1 attack at the 300 block of Cedar Court in Winlock.

Trujillo’s trial began last week in Lewis County Superior Court, on a charge of first-degree assault, but on Tuesday, he entered into a plea agreement.

The victim in that case told police the two had previously been in an intimate relationship and Trujillo showed up, beat her up and pulled out what was described as a small-bladed knife, leaving her with a large, deep gash on her hand.

Trujillo pleaded guilty to second-degree assault, was sentenced to 14 months in prison and ordered to get evaluated for chemical dependency and domestic violence treatment.

For background, read “Mossyrock argument: Two knives, one airlifted, other arrested” from Thursday April 7, 2016, here

Nineteen-year-old gets sentenced for related home invasion

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

Natrone D. Bostick appears before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – It took about 16 minutes today to decide on and hand down a 15-year sentence for one of three people involved in a violent robbery at a rural Chehalis home, that followed a visit by an “escort” contacted on

Natrone D. Bostick, 19, of Lakewood, appeared with his lawyer Don Blair before Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler this afternoon.

Blair and Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello said they’d worked out the plea agreement with both of them recommending the same amount of prison time.

Bostick and his companion Samath L. Hem, 23, from Tacoma, were arrested back on May 3 following a shoplifting incident at Home Depot in Chehalis. Items found when their vehicle was searched linked them to an event that had taken place a few days earlier on the 900 block of Logan Hill Road outside Chehalis.

A 53-year-old rural Chehalis man reported he’d invited an escort to his home but was attacked, tied up and pistol whipped by two males who arrived with her. The victim said it occurred on April 29, but he didn’t report it until the next day. Once the victim was able to untie himself, he discovered valuables missing from his residence, including a large television and some checkbooks, according to prosecutors.

Bostick pleaded guilty last week to first-degree assault and first-degree kidnapping, as well as third-degree theft and possession of a controlled substance related to the Home Depot case. One count of first-degree robbery was dropped.

Masiello said it seemed to him both men had equal involvement in the crime, although Hem has been more cooperative with authorities.

The judge today heard from Bostick’s attorney that although it wasn’t an excuse, when he and his brother were children, his mother drove them from Florida to Washington, dropped them off at a DSHS location and Bostick has not seen his mother since, according to Masiello.

“I’m sympathetic to your situation,” Lawler told the defendant. “You’ve been dealt a lousy hand, I don’t argue that.”

The judge followed the agreed recommendation.

He imposed a 60-month sentence for the kidnapping and a 120-month term for the assault, to be served consecutively. He called it a steep price to pay and a hard lesson.

Hem’s case is proceeding, with attempts to “resolve” it without a trial, according to Masiello. He is being held in the Lewis County Jail and expected again in court next week.

Masiello said the female they believe was involved in the robbery was not the same woman who was arrested with the pair after the Home Depot incident. But law enforcement has figured out who she is, he said, adding he would say no more on the topic.

For background, read “ encounter results in violent home invasion in rural Chehalis” from Friday May 6, 2016, here

Centralia woman gets 12 years for break-in to prosecutor’s house and other crimes

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

Janet L. Gleason looks back to supporters in the courtroom after the judge indicates disagreement with her lawyer’s recommendation.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Intentionally skipping her court hearing got Janet L. Gleason five extra years in prison.

Gleason, 43, pleaded guilty today to bail jumping and then officials got on with the business of her sentencing hearing that was supposed to take place last month.

The Centralia woman was already convicted of several felonies pursuant to a plea agreement. She admitted to participating in a burglary early last year at the home of Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.


Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer

Pacific County Prosecutor Mark McClain who handled the case  told the judge this morning in Lewis County Superior Court they’d had an agreement about how much time he would recommend if she cooperated by trying to retrieve the stolen valuables.

She previously brought a bag of jewelry to court, but none of it was from Meyer’s home, McClain said.

Prosecutors believe Gleason targeted Meyer in retaliation for him prosecuting her teenage son, because a Thurston County Jail inmate who said he was with her told them so.

Gleason apologized, but stuck with her story she gave a friend a ride, the break-in was his idea and she was unaware of whose house it was.

The convictions include residential burglary, first-degree trafficking in stolen property and second-degree malicious mischief as well as a separate possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver.

McClain and Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello recommended she get 84 months for those offenses.

Defense attorney Michael Underwood asked Judge Richard Brosey to give her a prison drug offender sentencing alternative.

He said his client has a drug problem, a serious drug problem.

Elected Prosecutor Meyer spoke of being victimized, calling the crime an attack on his family and an attack on the entire system.

“I had never though the sanctity of my home would be violated simply because I was doing my job,” Meyer said.

Attorneys on both sides agreed Gleason owed restitution of $27,717.74.

Judge Brosey said he wasn’t inclined toward the defense suggestion, given the what he also believed to be the reason Meyer was targeted. He told those present in the courtroom he had the discretion to order her sentences to be served concurrently or consecutively.

Brosey imposed seven years for the burglary case and seven years for the drug case, and said they could be served at the same time as each other.

But then he imposed the maximum of five years for bail jumping and said it had to be served separate from the other crimes, putting her away for 12 years.

For background, read “Role reversal: Lewis County prosecutor reflects on becoming a burglary victim” from Friday November 6, 2015, here

John Booth loses another attempt to undo life sentence for 2010 murders

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

John A. Booth Jr. testifies at his motion hearing before Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Convicted triple murderer John A. Booth Jr.’s motion to vacate his judgement and sentence because of alleged eavesdropping by employees of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office before and during his trial has been denied.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey concluded that anything overheard was inadvertent and said he found no evidence it was passed along to prosecutors or used against him.

“The long and the short of it, Mr. Booth was not denied due process,” Brosey said yesterday afternoon.

Booth is serving a life sentence for the August 2010 slayings at the Onalaska-Salkum area home of 52-year-old David West Sr., from whom prosecutors contended Booth was seeking payment of a debt for a local drug dealer.

According to testimony and evidence from the eight-day trial in Lewis County Superior Court, when West brought out a shotgun to get Booth and his companion to leave, Booth shot West with a 9 mm handgun. Prosecutors said the shootings that followed were executions to eliminate witnesses. Booth continues to deny he was the shooter.

Losing their lives that day, along with West Sr., were 16-year-old David “D.J.” West Jr. and 50-year-old Tony Williams of Randle. West Sr.’s girlfriend, Denise Salts, was shot in the face but lived.

The former Onalaska man has already lost an appeal and a personal restraint petition. The motion Judge Brosey ruled on yesterday was based on court rule 7.8.

Brosey was the judge for the December 2011 trial in Lewis County Superior Court.

His finding came after three days of hearings and testimony from 27 individuals who took the witness stand. The first two days of hearings were held on May 2 and May 3. The final day was yesterday, for the witnesses who were unavailable earlier.

The complaint that occupied much of the proceedings was corrections officers standing outside the jail’s row of visiting rooms while Booth consulted with his attorneys and their investigators. Several testified conversations of others could be heard, including former inmates Robert J. Maddaus Jr., Robbie Russell, Centralia attorney Don Blair and corrections officers.

Vernon West Jr. was a transport officer during Booth’s trial.

He said initially they would have two officers stand outside the door while Booth met with his lawyer, and while he was never instructed to listen in, he could hear the conversations.

He said he didn’t repeat what he heard, but after hearing too much, moved farther down the hall during future visits.

“We never stood that close to the door again,” West said.

Another aspect of what Booth called “ear hustling” in the motion he typed from the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, was a corrections officer who admitted he heard a recorded phone conversations Booth had with his lawyer.

Now retired Corrections Officer Jack Haskins testified that his primary job for his last eight years was to listen to the recordings made of inmate phone calls. While calls with lawyers were not supposed to be recorded, as part of an automated system, he said he found himself listening once to Booth and his lawyer.

He said he stopped listening to it, looked up the phone number and verified it belonged to an attorney.

Aberdeen attorney Erik Kupka represented Booth, and for closing arguments yesterday afternoon, advised the court he was reading from material prepared by his client.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Brad Meagher argued for the state.

After Judge Brosey announced his conclusion, he was informed Booth would be appealing the decision.

For background, read “Ear hustling”: Convicted murderer John Booth tells judge about problems at Lewis County Jail”, from Friday July 5, 2013, here

Chehalis home invasion suspect facing third strike case

Friday, June 10th, 2016

Jesse L. Harkcom sits before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court for his bail hearing this afternoon.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Bail was set at $1 million today for one of three suspects in a Chehalis home invasion robbery.

Jesse L. Harkcom, 34, was arrested in Lacey on drug charges yesterday and transported to the Lewis County Jail to be charged for the March 26 incident.

Charges were filed today in Lewis County Superior Court and Harkcom was brought before a judge this afternoon.

If convicted as charged, it would be a third strike offense, meaning a mandatory sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Lewis County Intern Deputy Prosecutor Amber Caulfield advised the judge Harkcom has a 1998 conviction for first-degree burglary and a 2011 conviction for second-degree robbery, among his 11 felony convictions.

“At this time, the state would request $1 million,” Caulfield said.

Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke in citing reasons for her request of $25,000 bail, said her client has been a law abiding citizen for the past year and a half, has opened a cleaning service business and has a stable residence in Lacey.

“Given the circumstances, I think the state’s request is reasonable,” Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey said.

According to charging documents, it was just after 11:30 at night when police were called to the victim’s home on Southwest 10th Street just  just off Market Boulevard.

She was living in a shed behind a residence and packing to move out when three males kicked in her door and came inside. They were dressed in black and wearing gloves, she told police.

The first male yelled, “Where are the valuables”, the second male stood next to her bed holding a pistol and the third male stepped right back outside where he stood with his arms crossed, according to charging documents. She believed he also had a gun.

The woman, 40 years old, according to police, recognized the first male’s voice as Harkcom, someone she’d known since the previous month, charging documents relate.

She said Harkcom grabbed her Playstation 4, 20-inch monitor, a DVR, laptop computer and miscellaneous property.

Charging documents state she told them she was going to call police and the second male told her “she didn’t want to do that because he didn’t want to have to hurt her,” Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead wrote in the documents.

The woman said she got a small scratch on her leg when Harkcom threw a four-foot long fluorescent light fixture which hit her.

She ran to the residence to tell her roommate what happened and he saw the three get into a dark colored truck and drive away, according to Halstead.

The victim was asked why Harkcom would do something like this and she said he and her boyfriend had traded watches and the watch Harkcom received turned out to be fake.

Charging documents also relate that when Harkcom was booked into the Lewis County Jail, a search turned up a small baggie in his waistband containing two pills and a black tar substance.

Harkcom is charged with first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and possession of heroin.

Centralia lawyer David Arcuri was appointed to represent him. His arraignment is scheduled for Thursday.

Chehalis police said yesterday the other two suspects are still outstanding.

For background, read “News brief: Chehalis home invasion suspect found, booked” from Thursday June 9, 2016, here

Cascadia 9.0: When the big one hits

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

Community members discuss some of the nuts and bolts of how they might work together in the aftermath of a catastrophic earthquake.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Think about a 6.1 magnitude earthquake shaking for 32 seconds.

“This 9.0 is expected to shake for five and half minutes,” Jill Kangas said.

Kangas and Steve Mansfield, of the Lewis County Department of Emergency Management yesterday brought more than 100 people together to contemplate how to respond to a catastrophic event that would affect the entire Pacific Northwest.

“This scenario is going to be so far beyond anything we have experienced or prepared for,” Mansfield said. “We don’t have a plan in place (for this).”

Mansfield pointed to a large map.

“What I want you to see here is, there’s not going to be a lot of movement on I-5,” he said. “People are not driving, but walking, if they’re still alive.”

The six-hour gathering in the upstairs meeting room of the Lewis County Veteran’s Museum in Chehalis was the local portion of Washington state’s Cascadia Rising earthquake and tsunami simulation exercise. It’s meant to test local, state, tribal and federal government as well as select private sector and non-governmental organizations’ ability to deal with such a situation.

The Cascadia subduction zone, lying mostly offshore, is an approximately 800-mile long fault, running from British Columbia to California. Stresses have been building there for more than 300 years and experts say we can be certain another great quake will shake the region.

Based on a show of hands, only one person in the room had experienced an earthquake of 7.0 magnitude or greater.

Chehalis Fire Department Chief Ken Cardinale told the group what his agency saw in October 1989 around California’s Bay Area. It measured between 6.9 and 7.2, he said.

There was $5 to $6 billion in damage, 63 people were killed and more than 3,000 injured, Cardinale said. The Bay Bridge went down. The aftershocks were 4.0 to 5.0 in magnitude, he said.

“We had 1,700 calls to 911 in the first hour,” he said. “Dispatch became just a call taking center; our department had to dispatch itself.”

Mutual aid from neighboring departments was nonexistant, he said, because they too were affected.

Cardinale offered the lesson for the day: “Everything you know about day to day operations will not be able to put into place in an event like this.”

Yesterday’s participants were seated at eight tables, each representing an area in the county imagined to be entirely cut off from other areas when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake strikes.

The scene: Buildings are in rubble, utilities are down, communications and transportation systems are critically impaired.

There is no Internet. People may or may not be able to use the text function on their cell phones.

Throughout the county, 1,200 people are dead, 2,460 individuals are seriously injured and 12,000 others are without shelter.

Each group was tasked with identifying its resources, building its team and developing action plans for the first 24-, 48- and 72-hour periods.

“What I kind of see is people going to their local fire stations,” Napavine resident and candidate for Lewis County commissioner Bob Bozarth said at the table for the Centralia area.

“They will, you’re right,” Riverside Fire Authority Chief Mike Kytta responded. “They’re going to go there and to doctors’ offices.”

“We don’t have a local search and rescue team, so we’re going to have to organize that,” Kytta said.

They pondered where to set up a command post.

The city of Centralia operates an emergency operations center at City Hall during disasters, such as flooding.

“Our building will probably be dust,” Centralia Police Department Cmdr. Pat Fitzgerald said. “The EOC will probably just pop up where the EOC pops up, that’s the reality.

It could be the hood of some random person’s car, he speculated.

At the Napavine table: “We’re going to check on our neighbors.”

At the Boistfort-Pe Ell-Curtis table: Boistfort and Pe Ell already have a supply of food and water for 100 people. “Water is paramount,” Justin Phelps, public works employee for the town of Pe Ell says.

At times, the various groups shared with the entire room.

From the Toledo-Winlock-Vader table: Mark Anders spoke about the strategy for finding people who need help.

“You’re going to go house to house, to the areas that are the easiest to get to first,” he said. “To help the most people the quickest.”

From the Salkum-Onalaska-Mossyrock table: The Mossyrock and Mayfield dams are built to withstand Morton area earthquakes and should be fine in this scenario, Tacoma Public Utilities employee Jayson Lelli said.

Nobody from TransAlta was present to speak to the strength and expectations of the Skookumchuck Dam.

Former Lewis County Commissioner Ron Averill spoke up.

“That’s an earthen dam,” he said. “If it breaks, Centralia will be under water to the Miracle Mile.”

From the Chehalis table, Chief Cardinale: “One of the options we thought about for sheltering people, is we’re fortunate to have RV sales places around here.” he said. “Even if buildings are standing, with aftershocks, people are going to be afraid to go back in.”

“We also had the idea of commandeering National Frozen Foods,” Cardinale said.

The imagined number of dead in Chehalis is 384.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod, on what to do with the bodies:

“In the first hours, it’s not an issue,” McLeod told the group. “Our main concern would begin at the eighth hour.”

There’s insects, then rodents, he said. “You’ll begin to see mountain lions, bears and pack of dogs,” he said.

“Our plan is, they get buried where they are found,” McLeod said.

Specifically, McLeod said, to bury 200 people, it will take 400 square feet of space and moving 1,300 cubic yards of dirt.

Rationing limited resources will become a reality. No help can be expected from the outside for days, attendees were told.

“Stores don’t carry more than one to two days worth of supplies for their community,” Mansfield said. “Ten years ago, that was different.”

When help from the outside is mobilized, it will head first to the affected areas with the densest populations, such as Seattle and Tacoma, he said.

“If you think the military is going to be here within the first 72 hours, you’re wrong,” he said.


Chehalis Fire Chief Ken Cardinale speaks about their group’s ideas.