Archive for the ‘Top story of the day’ Category

Honoring Sheriff Wiester

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  The Board of (Lewis) County Commissioners proclaimed today Sheriff William H. “Bill” Wiester Day throughout the county to recognize the former sheriff’s contributions to public service.

Wiester passed away Sept. 21, at age 91. A celebration of life was scheduled for today at Bethel Church of the Assemblies of God, south of Chehalis.

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William H. “Bill” Wiester
1926 – 2017

He was the longest serving sheriff in the county’s history, first elected in 1966 and continuing in the position for 20 years.

County commissioners in issuing their proclamation noted how Wiester started with the sheriff’s office as the resident deputy in Randle, was a long-time first aid instructor and was instrumental in initiating the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office K-9 program.

He served as president of the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs.

“He was proud of his time spent with his bloodhounds, Ole Blue and Maggie, and his reputation for search-and-rescue missions proceeded him, with state other and local agencies contacting him to spearhead searches for missing children,” the document stated.

In May of 1980, after the catastrophic eruption of Mount St. Helens, U.S. Army leaders turned to the three county sheriffs with jurisdiction over the blast zone and the Toledo Airport where search and rescue operations were based, and suggested it would work best if the three chose a leader to represent their group. They chose Sheriff Wiester.

Wiester was born Jan. 9, 1926, living in Morton, according to his obituary, and after high school went into military service as a Merchant Marine. His work before law enforcement included a state fire warden, a cannery worker and logging. He married Jeanne Olson on March 1, 1945 and they raised three children.

“The sheriff’s reputation as a gifted storyteller and his steadfast dedication to public service has created a legacy that will be remembered by many for generations,” the Lewis County BOCC wrote.

Half dozen young people implicated in beating teen in retaliation for Wal-Mart stabbing

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Four people were arrested overnight and two teenage suspects are at large in connection with a nighttime baseball bat attack on a 19-year-old rural Chehalis resident which he believes was retaliation from when a friend of his recently stabbed a person outside Wal-Mart, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office only this morning revealed the assault occurred, about 1 a.m. on Friday at the 200 block of Brockway Road.

Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said deputies learned the 19-year-old male had been walking his dog when a car pulled up at the entrance to his driveway and an individual wearing a red bandana exited and asked him what he was doing.

The 19-year-old victim said a male and a female then got out of the vehicle and confronted him. At one point, he said, they were armed with bats and hit him in the head two or three times, according to Breen. The victim suffered lacerations and bumps, Breen said.

The car, which he thought was a white 1990s Honda Accord-type vehicle, then left driving toward state Route 6, according to the sheriff’s office.

Breen said an investigation and interviews beginning about 9:30 p.m. yesterday led to the arrests and booking of four suspects for second-degree assault.

The first is a 16-year-old Chehalis girl who was not named, and was booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center.

Booked into the Lewis County Jail were Victor E. Gonzalez, 18, of Centralia; Jesus A. Gomez, 19, of Centralia; and Taylor S. Rodgers, 20, of Chehalis.

The other two suspects who have not yet been located are Stormie M. McKenzie, 19, from Winlock, and an un-named 17-year-old boy from North Bend, according to Breen.

Two weeks ago, officers were dispatched for a fight between two males in Wal-Mart’s parking lot at the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue in Chehalis, but when they arrived both were gone. Police soon learned a 17-year-old boy  was seeking medical treatment at Providence Centralia Hospital for a stab wound in his chest. Friends of the 17-year-old in the hospital waiting room said he’d gotten into a fight with another male who stabbed him.

The following day Jose F. Chagolla Flores, 18, of Onalaska, and his vehicle were found at a friend’s home on Brockway Road and he was arrested for first-degree assault.

Chagolla Flores allegedly told police he was meeting someone at Wal-Mart to sell them some marijuana when the 17-year-old showed up and knocked him down, so he stabbed him.

The adult suspects for the baseball bat attack are tentatively scheduled to go before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.
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For background, read “Chehalis Wal-Mart stabbing suspect says teen hit him first” from Tuesday October 10, 2017, here

Mossyrock resident admits to felony DUI

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  The Mossyrock man arrested less than three weeks ago for felony driving under the influence pleaded guilty this morning and was sentenced in Lewis County Superior Court.

James G. Blunt, 51, was facing a standard sentencing range of 13 to 17 months in prison. The judge imposed a 15-month sentence, Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said.

“We gave him a little slack because he pled out right away,” Meagher said.

He wanted to plead guilty back at his arraignment, Meagher said.

Blunt was arrested early on the morning of Sept. 29, pulled over for speeding on Centralia Alpha Road near Oppelt Road.

Charging documents stated he told the deputy he’d consumed about half the Mike’s Hard Lemonade alcohol beverage with him in his vehicle and had about four hits of marijuana roughly five minutes earlier.

The offense was a felony for Blunt instead of a gross misdemeanor because he has a past conviction for vehicular homicide while under the influence. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison after striking and killing a bicyclist near Mossyrock while intoxicated in 2001.

Meagher said he appreciated Blunt’s attitude, saying the defendant had been staying on a program since his release from prison, and although he fell off, so to speak, he said he’d he’d just take the next year and a half to get back in line.
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For background, read “Mossyrock man charged with felony driving under the influence” from Saturday September 30, 2017, here

Centralia mother pleads guilty to severe neglect of son

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017
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Mary G. Foxworth keeps her head down as she leaves the defense table in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Centralia mother of boy who at 16 years old was so malnourished he weighed less than 60 pounds pleaded guilty yesterday to first-degree criminal mistreatment.

Her husband made the same plea last week.

Mary G. Foxworth, 43, admitted to a judge in Lewis County Superior Court she failed to provide basic necessities of life, recklessly causing great bodily harm.

Foxworth, seated beside her lawyer Jacob Clark, answered the judge’s questions so quietly in the nearly empty courtroom, she could barely be heard.

Judge Joely O’Rourke queried her, to make sure she was capable of understanding the proceedings. The last grade Foxworth completed in school was the ninth grade, she said.

The couple entered into deals with prosecutors to plead guilty as charged and avoid a trial, in which if so-called aggravating circumstances were added and they were convicted, a judge would be free to sentence them to up to 10 years in prison.

The standard sentencing range they will face at sentencing is 51 months to 68 months of incarceration.

The charges were filed at the end of last year, after an investigation that began almost a year earlier. The couple has not been held in jail.

Prosecutors alleged the boy had not seen a doctor since 2007 and had not been enrolled in school since 2011, yet had two siblings who appeared healthy and presented little concern.

The situation came to light when the Foxworths took their son to the doctor in January of 2016, saying he had not been eating or drinking for about three weeks and had abdominal pain. Medical providers described him as skin and bones, whiter than a sheet of paper and he was hospitalized, suffering from severe malnutrition, severe constipation and anemia, according to Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm.

Bohm alleged further he weighed just 54 pounds, was missing patches of hair, could not stand on his own, was wearing pull-ups and needed 24 of his teeth treated when he was seen by a dentist.

Charging documents don’t indicate when he he was put in foster care, but state that at some point before December 2016, he had grown more than three inches and his weight increased to 93 pounds.

No further explanation has been shared by authorities, except Mary Foxworth reportedly said she didn’t know when her son began to lose weight because she was too wrapped up in her own depression.

She was accompanied in court yesterday by two women, who left with her after the short hearing.

Anthony S. Foxworth Sr., 45, and his wife are scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 1. in Lewis County Superior Court.
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For background, read “‘Skin and bones’: Parents charged with severe neglect of teen” from Thursday January 5, 2017, here

Jasper: Defendant who won appeal in toddler death has a decision to make

Saturday, October 14th, 2017
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Danny Wing finishes up with his lawyer after hearing in Lewis County Superior Court

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Danny A. Wing’s lawyer wanted a year for his client to decide if he ought to withdraw his guilty plea, but a Lewis County Superior Court judge yesterday said no.

Wing was convicted and then sentenced two years ago following a complex plea deal, for his role in the abuse, neglect and death of a 3-year-old boy who was temporarily part of his family’s household.

Jasper Henderling-Warner died in October 2014.

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Jasper Henderling-Warner

Wing had hoped to get a prison sentence of 15 or 16 years, but prosecutors argued he didn’t hold up his end of the deal and asked he be locked up for 55 years. A judge imposed a sentence of almost 35 years.

But then earlier this year, an appeals court found Wing’s plea was premised on an incorrect offender score and reversed the convictions, allowing Wing to withdraw the plea. The convictions are for first-degree manslaughter and third-degree child assault.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer has said if Wing withdrew his plea, prosecutors would take the case to trial. The original charge included homicide by abuse as an alternative.

Yesterday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court, Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh told the judge she could not find a good reason for further delay.

“The next step her is Mr. Wing is going to decide if he’s going to withdraw his guilty plea,” Beigh said. “Also, we’re dealing with crime victims here, and their rights.”

Judge Andrew Toynbee agreed with Beigh, and said he felt 30 days would be sufficient.

The judge set a deadline for 5 p.m. on Nov. 13 for Wing, through his attorney, to file in writing his withdrawal of his plea. Toynbee said failure to do so would mean his previous guilty plea remains in effect.

A hearing for review was put on the court calendar for Nov. 16.

Wing, now 29, is represented by Vancouver attorney Sean Downs.

His wife Brenda A. Wing got the same sentence as her husband and has won the same opportunity to withdraw her pleas.

The Vancouver-area family had been living in Vader about two weeks when the Wings called 911 on Oct. 5, 2014 to say the toddler was unconscious and not breathing. Jasper’s 21-year-old mother had given the couple temporary custody while she was homeless and looked for work out of state. Jasper died at Providence Centralia Hospital.

The autopsy found abrasions, bruises, facial trauma and 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.

Danny Wing’s formal statement said he recklessly Jasper’s death by failing to get medical care for him.
•••

For background, read “Jasper: Toddler death case in limbo as defendant contemplates options” from Tuesday October 10, 2017, here

Two hurt in Centralia trailer explosion

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An explosion that blew out the sides of a travel trailer in north Centralia today sent two people to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Firefighters were called to a mobile home park along the 3300 block of Harrison Avenue about 12:30 p.m. and found the trailer had been occupied by a man and a woman in their late 40s to 50s and their dog.

The woman’s suffered first- and second-degree burns from her waist to her head, according to Riverside Fire Authority. She was airlifted to Harborview, according to Fire Capt. Scott Weinert.

The man was transported by ground to Providence Centralia Hospital in stable but serious condition, but subsequently flown to Seattle as well, according to Weinert.

Weinert indicated the force of the event caused significant damage to the 25-foot travel trailer.

The cause of the explosion is under investigation, although it was initially described as a propane-fueled explosion by RFA on Twitter

The couple’s dog was taken to a local veterinarian by a private party, according to the fire department.

Vader barn emptied of illegal marijuana grow operation

Friday, October 13th, 2017

Updated at 4:42 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Law enforcement searching a huge barn in Vader converted into separate growing rooms found a 55-year-old man inside a makeshift bedroom and seized more than 600 marijuana plants along with approximately 50 pounds of “processed bud.”

Jing Ming Gao, 55, from Brooklyn, New York, was arrested, according to drug detectives.

The search warrant operation took place on the 1900 block of state Route 506 west of Vader on Wednesday, according to a press release issued by Lewis County’s Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team.

The bust is part of an ongoing investigation that began in December involving illegal large-scale indoor marijuana growing operations throughout Lewis County. Search warrants have been served at five different locations and hundreds of pounds of marijuana and about 6,000 plants have been confiscated, according to JNET.

“Aiding in these investigations has been the communication and networking with law enforcement agencies from New York and the East Coast,” JNET stated.

The task force previously said it believed all the marijuana from this investigation is shipped to the East Coast.

Detectives found the 4,200 square-foot barn in Vader had been converted into several separate rooms for growing the plants.

The almost nine-acre property was sold in August of last year for $80,000 to an individual with an address in Pennsylvania, according to Lewis County parcel records.

Gao was released from the Lewis County Jail yesterday as no criminal charges were filed. While his age was given as 55, JNET’s press release shows a birthdate for Gao which would make him 62 years old.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said today they didn’t have any proof Gao was involved in the actual growing of the plants.

JNET states that additional suspects have been identified in their investigation and warrants will be requested for their arrests.

It was just two weeks earlier when JNET found more than 2,000 marijuana plants growing at two rural Chehalis properties – on Centralia-Alpha Road and Pattee Road – and arrested two men.

The drug detectives ask that anyone who has information that would assist during the ongoing investigation to please contact them at 360-330-7680, or 360-748-9286 or Crime Stoppers South Sound at www.P3TIPS.com

Coroner confirms murder, suicide in Winlock

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Authorities have released the names of the two men fatally shot in a murder, suicide in Winlock but still have offered no explanation for why it might have occurred.

Jeffry C. Wachter, age 59, of Malone, allegedly used a handgun to shoot his 56-year-old brother multiple times and then turned the gun on himself.

Paul Wachter, 56, of Winlock, died of gunshot wounds to his torso, head and left arm, according to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

It happened on Sunday evening at property at the 600 block of Tennessee Road north of town.

Deputies and aid had been at the address that afternoon, rescuing the men’s older sister who had fallen into a well. The older brother had been asked to leave because he was arguing with his younger brother and being disruptive, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has said.

She was finally hoisted to the surface just before 5:30 p.m. and taken to the hospital; and crews had departed when Jeffry Wachter returned with a gun, according to the sheriff’s office. Law enforcement was notified about 6:30 p.m. that he’d shot his brother and then himself.

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office issued a press release today revealing the names and stating the coroner confirmed both men died of gunshot wounds and labeled the older brother’s death as suicide and the younger brother’s as homicide.
•••

For background, read “Two dead after family dispute in Winlock” from Monday October 9, 2017, here

Centralia couple facing four years of prison for severe neglect of son

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017
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Anthony Foxworth Sr. and his attorney go before a judge today in Lewis County Superior Court

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Centralia parents of a boy who at 16 years old was so malnourished he weighed less than 60 pounds, couldn’t stand on his own and was missing patches of hair are pleading guilty to criminal charges after a deal was struck with prosecutors, rather than risk going to trial.

Anthony Foxworth Sr., 45, pleaded guilty today in Lewis County Superior Court as charged, to one count of first-degree criminal mistreatment. His wife is scheduled to plead guilty next week, based on the same agreement, according to her lawyer.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer today told the judge he would be recommending a prison term of four years and three months.

The charges were filed at the end of last year, after an investigation that began almost a year earlier. The couple has not been held in jail.

The Centralia Police Department got involved after the Foxworth’s took their son to the doctor because he had abdominal pain, and his condition was such that he was put in Mary Bridge Childrens’ Hospital in Tacoma. Allegations in charging documents included that the teen had not been enrolled in school since 2011 and had not seen a doctor since 2007.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Melissa Bohm wrote in charging documents he had a younger brother and sister who were in school, appeared healthy and presented little concern.

But he was wearing pull-ups and his skeletal age was determined to be that of a 13-year-old child, Bohm wrote. The boy was put in foster care where he began to gain weight and grow taller.

No explanation has been shared by authorities, except, according to Bohm, Mary Foxworth said she thought he was starving himself because he was depressed; and admitted she didn’t know when he began to lose weight because she was too wrapped up in her own depression.

Her attorney Jacob Clark today said, outside the hearing, the risks of going to trial were too great, because if found guilty a judge could impose a much longer sentence.

“You go from a standard (sentencing) range of 51 to 68 months, all the way up to (potentially) 10 years,” Clark said.

Anthony Foxworth’s lawyer Chris Baum spoke of the same issue regarding his client in the proceeding this afternoon before Judge Joely O’Rourke.

“I told him he doesn’t have to plead, if you don’t want to we could go to trial,” Baum said. “But if we go to trial, the state’s made it clear, they’re going to put a bunch of aggravators on it.”

Today’s hearing didn’t last more than five minutes. Judge O’Rourke accepted the plea and found Foxworth Sr. guilty.

Baum outside the courtroom said part of the plea agreement is prosecutors will recommend the low end of the standard sentencing range.

“It’s kind of a sad situation all the way around,” Baum said. “He didn’t intend for this to happen and I know he feels bad.”

The legal standard for the offense is recklessness, he said, not intent.

The couple are both set to be sentenced on Nov. 1.
•••

For background, read “‘Skin and bones’: Parents charged with severe neglect of teen” from Thursday January 5, 2017, here

Chehalis police seek help finding elderly woman

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017
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Missing, Hilda Wenz

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Chehalis police are asking residents to look around their yards and inside outbuildings this morning as they search for an elderly woman who has not been seen since midnight.

Hilda Wenz, 92, was last seen at the assisted living facility where she resides on the 400 block of Northwest Quincy Place in Chehalis.

“When they checked on her this morning at approximately 8 a.m., they were unable to locate her,” Chehalis Police Department spokesperson Linda Bailey stated in a press release.

Wenz has no mobility issues for her age and can walk unassisted, according to police. Bailey said Wenz is unfamiliar with the area.

She is about 4-foot 10-inches tall, weighs about 135 pounds and is described as a white female with white hair. It is unknown what clothing she may have been wearing.

A Silver Alert has been issued.

Chehalis West Assisted Living Center is located in a neighborhood just west of downtown and east of Interstate 5, on Quincy at Northwest Gertrude Street. Its sits adjacent to a set of railroad tracks.

Police are asking the public to assist by looking around on their property for Wenz. Anyone who may have seen her is asked to call the police department at 360-748-8605 or Lewis County dispatch at 360-740-1105.

Chehalis Wal-Mart stabbing suspect says teen hit him first

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017
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Jose F. Chagolla Flores steps away from the defense table after his bail hearing in Lewis County Superior Court

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Onalaska teen who allegedly stabbed another teen in the chest in Wal-Mart’s parking lot told police he was engaged with someone else when the 17-year-old showed up and hit him in the face hard enough to knock him to the ground, according to authorities.

Eighteen-year-old Jose F. Chagolla Flores said he got up off the ground, was “hell mad” and tired from working – and hates to be hit in the face – so he pulled out his knife and stabbed the 17-year-old, according to charging documents.

Chagolla Flores was ordered held on $500,000 bail when he went before a judge yesterday afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court. He was charged with first-degree assault.

The condition of the 17-year-old victim, who has not been named, is unknown.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh told the judge the allegation is the boy was stabbed in the heart. She said in a conversation with a detective, the suspect claimed to be a gang member.

Temporary defense attorney Rachael Tiller said her client lives with his mother, who was in the courtroom along with his father. He has juvenile “matters” that are sealed, she said.

Tiller said he was working but probably has now lost his employment so she believed he qualified for a court-appointed lawyer.

According to the Chehalis Police Department and charging documents, officers were dispatched just before 9 p.m. on Thursday for a fight between two males at the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue. Wal-Mart employees told them on was white and the other was black, charging documents relate.

The males had already left in separate vehicles.

Soon after, police were advised of a 17-year-old boy who was seeking medical treatment at Providence Centralia Hospital for a stab wound. They contacted the patient, who was not cooperative with officers. He was transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and would later go through surgery to repair the damage done by the knife.

Friends of the 17-year-old in the hospital waiting room said he’d gotten into a fight with another male who stabbed him. The friends gave police a name for the suspect.

The following day, Chagolla Flores was located at a friend’s home. His vehicle was found at a residence on Brockway Road and was impounded.

Chagolla Flores reportedly gave a statement to police, that he had been meeting a third party at Wal-Mart to sell marijuana and they were about to do the transaction when the 17-year-old showed up. And then he relayed his account of what transpired.

He was arrested and “the knife” was located in his backpack which was with him.

“Officers did not see any injuries to Chagollan’s face and when asked he stated he had injuries except to one on his hand which was caused from the knife,” Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead wrote in charging documents.

Charging documents gave his name as Jose F. Chagollan Flores and Chehalis police stated yesterday his name was Jose Chagollan. Tiller advised the court the “N” at the end was incorrect.

His arraignment is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. on Thursday in  Lewis County Superior Court.

The Chehalis Police Department yesterday morning indicated the condition of the victim and extent of his injuries were unknown. Department spokesperson Linda Bailey this afternoon said she still had not learned that information.
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For background, read “One injured, one arrested following stabbing outside Wal-Mart” from Monday October 9, 2017, here

Victim survived hour and 15 minutes inside well, before further tragedy in Winlock

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The fire department in Winlock shared details of its weekend rescue of a woman from near the bottom of an approximately 50-foot deep well.

She was reportedly unhurt, but spent more than an hour with a foot hold that kept her in waist-deep water while responders carried out an extrication, according to Lewis County Fire District 15.

It’s not yet clear how it might be related but later the same evening, on Sunday, one of the woman’s brothers allegedly shot and killed a younger brother and then himself at the same property. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the two deaths; no names have been released.

Firefighters and deputies were called at 4:14 p.m. on Sunday to the 600 block of Tennessee Road north of Winlock, because the woman had been attempted to disinfect the well with chlorine when the floorboards broke loose and she fell into the well, according to authorities.

Responders found she was conscious and she told them she was not injured, according to Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Anderson. They learned she was initially completely submerged, but was able to swim to the water’s surface and find a foothold, Anderson stated in a press release.

The sheriff’s office described her as trapped by debris which had collapsed through the opening.

The hand dug well was inside a pump house and crews had to stabilize the area to prevent a pump, a pressure tank and more flooring from tumbling down on top of the woman, according to Anderson.

Rope rescue technicians from the Centralia area’s Riverside Fire Authority were summoned and a hole had to be cut in the roof of the structure to provide access for a rope and pulley system. Firefighters lowered a life vest and helmet down to the vicim for protection, according to Anderson.

She remained conscious and communicating throughout the operation, he said.

A rescue harness was lowered and the woman was finally hoisted to the surface at approximately 5:29 p.m., Anderson stated.

The sheriff’s office said yesterday morning the woman is 64 years old, but later indicated she is 63 years old.

Anderson said in his press release she was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital in stable condition, but didn’t know specifically for what reason.

The sheriff’s office has said that during the rescue operation, the woman’s 59-year-old brother was disruptive and arguing with his 56-year-old brother, so he was asked to leave.

Deputies were called back to the property at about 6:30 p.m., when witnesses said the 59-year-old man had returned with a handgun and shot his 56-year-old brother multiple times before turning the gun on himself. Rescue crews had all departed before that occurred, according to Chief Deputy Dusty Breen.

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office is expected to release the names of the two men once they have completed family notifications for both.
•••

For background, read “Two dead after family dispute in Winlock” from Monday October 9, 2017, here

Jasper: Toddler death case in limbo as defendant contemplates options

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017
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Danny Wing, in red, appears before Judge Andrew Toynbee

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Danny A. Wing was back in court in Chehalis this morning after winning an appeal that allows him to take back his guilty pleas in the death of a 3-year-old boy he and his wife were caring for.

Wing was sentenced to almost 35 years in prison for first-degree manslaughter and third-degree child assault following the Oct. 5, 2014 death of Jasper Henderling-Warner.

The family, with three children of their own and from the Vancouver area, had  been living in Vader about two weeks when the Wings called 911 to say the toddler was unconscious and not breathing. The coroner concluded Jasper died of chronic battered child syndrome.

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Jasper Henderling-Warner

In February of this year, a division of the Washington State Court of Appeals concluded Wing’s plea was premised on an incorrect offender score for the third degree assault of a child conviction, rendering the plea involuntary. At the time, Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said if Wing withdrew his plea, prosecutors would take the case to trial.

Wing, now 29, appeared in Lewis County Superior Court this morning, represented by Vancouver attorney Sean Downs.

Representing the state before Judge Andrew Toynbee were Lewis County senior deputy prosecutors Will Halstead and Sara Beigh. Jasper’s mother, flanked by supporters, was in the audience.

The hearing was brief, and a longer hearing was set for 2 p.m. this Friday, to determine what happens next, according to Beigh.

Wing’s wife, Brenda A. Wing, was convicted and sentenced similarly to her husband, and won an appeal on the exact same issue.

Beigh said she’s not sure when Brenda Wing will be brought back to  Lewis County Superior Court, as she has petitioned for review by the Washington State Supreme Court on part of the appeal she lost.

Danny Wing also had petitioned for review but the higher court declined to do so, according to Beigh.
•••

For background, read “Appeals court reverses conviction in Vader child death” from Friday March 3, 2017, here

One injured, one arrested following stabbing outside Wal-Mart

Monday, October 9th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 17-year-old boy was stabbed in the chest during a fight in Wal-Mart’s parking lot and an 18-year-old Onalaska man has been arrested.

The Chehalis Police Department reports this morning the condition of the victim and extent of his injuries are unknown at this time.

Police say the incident began to unfold around 9 p.m. on Thursday when officers were dispatched to two males fighting but when officers arrived they were gone. Witnesses described a brief physical altercation and said the two departed in separate vehicles, according to the police department.

Then police were advised of a 17-year-old male who was seeking medical treatment at Providence Centralia Hospital for a stab wound to the chest, according to a press release from the Chehalis Police Department.

Officers arriving to the hospital spoke to witnesses who were there, but were unable to talk with the victim because he was being prepared for transport to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to the press release.

Department spokesperson Linda Bailey states police located the suspect’s vehicle at a home on Brockway Road and impounded it. The suspect, Jose Chagollan, was arrested for first-degree assault and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Bailey.

The name and hometown of the victim was not released, but Bailey indicates they will provide further information about his condition when it becomes available.

Chagollan is tentatively scheduled to go before a judge at 4 p.m. today, in Lewis County Superior Court.

Two dead after family dispute in Winlock

Monday, October 9th, 2017
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Sheriff’s detectives are investigating apparent murder, suicide north of Winlock

Updated at 12:26 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after a 59-year-old man allegedly fatally shot his younger brother and then turned a gun on himself in rural Winlock.

The events at the 600 block of Tennessee Road began earlier yesterday afternoon when a 64-year-old woman went out to drop chlorine into a well, the floorboards broke loose and she fell into the well, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies and aid called about 4:15 p.m. were working to rescue the woman, when her 59-year-old brother was asked to leave because he was being disruptive, Chief Deputy Dusty Breen said. The two brothers had been arguing, he said.

The woman was retrieved from approximately 50 feet down inside the hand dug well where she had been trapped by collapsing debris and was transported to the hospital, the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies were called back to the property at about 6:30 p.m., when witnesses said the 59-year-old man had returned and discharged a handgun multiple times, striking and killing his 56-year-old brother, according to Breen.

Witnesses said the 59-year-old then shot himself, Breen said. He is from Malone. His younger brother is from Winlock.

Breen said the sheriff’s office is conducting an investigation and he expects the names of the brothers will be released by the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

Impaired driving and injuring another leads to jail, prison

Saturday, October 7th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Centralia area man is off to prison with a seven year sentence for hitting a pedestrian on a sidewalk with his car outside the Southwest Washington Fair grounds this summer.

Christian D. Brown, 30, admitted using methamphetamine earlier in the day, prosecutors said at the time.

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Wednesday August 16, 2017

Brown pleaded guilty in Lewis County Superior Court on Wednesday to vehicular assault and possession of heroin and also to two counts of drug possession from an earlier case.

The judge found a chemical dependency contributed to the crime and ordered a drug and alcohol evaluation, according to court documents.

Brown was arrested by Centralia police on Aug. 16, after the mid-day incident at the 1900 block of South Gold Street during fair week. Witnesses told police the car was going about 35 mph when it traveled onto the east sidewalk and hit the man.

When his car came to a stop, the victim fell off its hood, court documents related.

The victim, a 58-year-old Chehalis resident who was attending the fair with family, was airlifted with several traumatic injuries to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

The 84-month sentence was the top of the standard sentencing range for vehicular assault, a range specific to Brown given the number of “points” Brown had accrued from previous criminal convictions, according to his lawyer Jacob Clark.

The judge ordered 24-month sentences for the drug crimes, to be served concurrently, Clark said.

Also on Wednesday in Lewis County Superior Court, a 20-year-old defendant was sentenced by a different judge for vehicular assault while under the influence.

Brenden K. Banta, from Kalama, and his 17-year-old passenger from Woodland were both injured when Banta’s car ran into the back of a semi truck on northbound Interstate 5 near milepost 60 the night of April 21, according to authorities.

Banta admitted he had consumed a “few shots” and smoked a bowl prior, court documents stated.

Court documents relate the hood of his Kia Soul entered the right passenger compartment, causing a gash in the passenger’s forehead that exposed the skull.

Banta had an offender score of zero so the standard sentencing range for his conviction was three to nine months in jail. The judge imposed four months and ordered a drug and alcohol evaluation, according to court documents.
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For background, read “Bail set at $1 million for driver accused of hitting man on sidewalk” from Friday August 18, 2017, here

Outdoor burning rules modified, for recreational fires

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Campfires will be allowed once again under certain conditions beginning tomorrow in unincorporated Lewis County since weather conditions have improved, according to authorities.

The city of Centralia will rescind its temporary ban on outdoor recreational fires at the same time.

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A total outdoor burn ban was enacted at the beginning of August because of wildfire danger.

“After careful review of the current and extended weather forecast, the Lewis County community development director and fire marshal, in conjunction with the Lewis County Fire Chief’s Association … will modify the burn restriction to allow recreational campfires in designated campgrounds and on private lands if built in the following manner,” Lewis County Community Development Director Lee Napier stated in a press release today.

Here’s what’s required of your campfire and you:

• Shall be no greater than three feet in diameter and have a ring constructed of metal, stone, or brick which is eight inches above the surface with a two-foot wide area surrounding the outside of the pit cleared down to the soil.

• Shall have an area of at least 10 feet around it cleared of all flammable materials, with at least 20 feet of clearance overhead from flammable materials or fuels.

• Must be attended at all times by a responsible person at least 16 years old, with the ability to extinguish the fire with a shovel and a five-gallon bucket of water or with a connected and charged garden hose.

• When finished, someone must completely extinguish campfire by pouring water or moist soil into it and stir with a shovel until all parts are cool to the touch.

• The use of self-contained camp stoves are encouraged as an alternative.

The Lewis County fire marshal and fire chiefs strongly urge all county residents and visitors to be attentive to the conditions of their properties through proactive fire prevention measures.

The changes are effective at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, Friday.

Chehalis Fire Department Chief Ken Cardinale sent out a press release today also with the title “City of Chehalis Burn Restrictions Modified – To Allow Recreational Fires” which states that beginning at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, recreational fires using approved barbecues will be allowed at all city parks, including using charcoal briquettes.

For further information about what is and is not allowed in Chehalis, call the fire department at 360-748-3394.

For questions in the city of Centralia, call Riverside Fire Authority at 360-736-3975.

For information regarding unincorporated Lewis County, contact Lewis County Fire Marshal Doyle Sanford at 360-740-2696. The 24-hour automated information line can be accessed by calling  360-740-1133.

Lewis County’s Community Development Director Napier also noted today that the ban on open burning in unincorporated Lewis County will be modified again beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Oct. 16.

Outdoor burning of garbage, paper and other refuse is always prohibited.

Suspect who accosted Morton senior citizen pleads guilty

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017
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Jason A. Brown waits to be escorted back to the jail after hearing in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 35-year-old man accused of taking a wallet from an elderly man’s pocket in broad daylight in the parking lot of a Morton grocery store pleaded guilty today to amended charges and was sentenced to one year and one day in prison.

Jason A. Brown, 35, was arrested in early September for the events of Aug. 29 at the Country Market. He was initially charged with second-degree robbery, with police and prosecutors alleging various slightly different versions than a deputy prosecutor described to the judge today.

The 83-year-old victim who lives in Morton was not present in the courtroom in Lewis County Superior Court this morning.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told the judge he dropped the robbery charge and replaced it with a charge of first-degree theft. He said he and defense attorney Kevin Nelson agreed however to recommend the defendant be given a sentence above the standard sentencing range.

Halstead said for robbery, there has to be some kind of violence or threat of violence. He told the judge he watched the surveillance video and saw something slightly different.

The victim walks out of the store and the suspect asks him for a couple of dollars, and the victim says no, according to Halstead.

The images show the victim then gets to his car, the suspect comes up behind him and takes the wallet from his pocket, and then leaves, he said.

When it happened, Morton Police Department Chief Roger Morningstar posted photos of the suspect and the suspect’s car on Facebook, and later reached out to David Rose, host of the television show Washington’s Most Wanted.

On Sept. 8, someone recognized the suspect at the Mossy Mini Shell station, called 911 and followed the suspect to an RV park in Silver Creek, where police subsequently found Brown inside a motorhome and took him into custody.

Brown also pleaded guilty this morning to residential burglary, for an Aug. 21 incident on Southeast First Street when police found him walking out the front door of a house with various items and found the back door kicked in.

Defense attorney Nelson told the judge he felt the resolution was a fair outcome, and that he and his client had talked about pleading guilty from the very beginning.

“Mr. Brown accepts full responsibility for both these acts,” Nelson said.

Judge Joely O’Rourke accepted Brown’s pleas of guilty and sentenced him to one year and a day in both cases, with the time to be served concurrently.
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For background, read “Man who allegedly mugged Morton senior located at Silver Creek campground” from Monday September 11, 2017, here