Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

Dead homeless man was from Vader

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The man who was found dead inside a seemingly abandoned pickup truck in Chehalis earlier this month has been identified as 64-year-old Rickie J. Hornbeck.

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office says Hornbeck is from Vader, but the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has said he had become homeless and was sleeping in his vehicle.

The Ford F150 with a canopy had been sitting on the shoulder at Southwest Interstate Avenue and Bishop Road for an unknown length of time when a sheriff’s deputy tagged it to be impounded on Jan. 6.

A deputy returned the following morning, called for a tow truck and discovered Hornbeck dead in the back, along with a propane heater.

The sheriff’s office said they would have the heater tested.

The coroner’s office knew early on who he was, but delayed releasing his name until they could locate his next of kin.

Coroner Warren McLeod said an autopsy turned up nothing suspicious, but the cause and manner of the death can’t be determined until the results come back from toxicology tests.

For background, read “Sheriff’s Office: Dead man was local, living out of his truck” from Wednesday January 10, 2018, here

Winlock: Another marijuana growing operation busted

Friday, December 29th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Deputies turned up more than 1,500 marijuana plants in various stages of growth when they served a search warrant yesterday morning at the 100 block of Nelson Road north of Winlock.

Three individuals were arrested for manufacture and possession of marijuana, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Breen said an investigation continuing after a a previous discovery of an illegal marijuana growing operation in Vader led investigators to the Nelson Road location.

Booked into the Lewis County Jail yesterday were Nga Dong, 65, and Le Hai Son, 39, both of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Chanh Nguyen, 34, of San Jose, California.

The three are tentatively scheduled to go before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

News brief: At least one displaced by RV fire

Thursday, December 28th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The cause of a motorhome fire in Centralia that displaced at least one occupant is under investigation but is also labeled accidental, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

Firefighters called to the 600 block of South Gold Street about 9:25 p.m. on Tuesday found the RV was well-involved with flames but were able to extinguish it before the fire caused severe damage to adjacent structures, according to the fire department.

Two women in the front yard of the nearby residence said nobody was inside the motor home and nobody was hurt, according to Fire Capt. Scott Weinert.

One building sustained some thermal damage to its exterior, according to Weinert.

The damage to the RV was estimated at $25,000. Weinert indicated it was more than halfway consumed upon firefighters’ arrival.

News brief: Nighttime intruders steal shotguns, rifles, slippers

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports this morning they are investigating a burglary in which someone went into a home west of Chehalis while two people were sleeping and stole numerous firearms and then took their truck.

A deputy called to the 700 block of Deep Creek Road was told by the men, ages 59 and 20, it happened between 12:30 a.m. and 4 a.m. on Sunday.

Also missing were a wallet, a pair of slippers and two bows, according to the sheriff’s office. The 2006 Ford Ranger was stolen, but found abandoned on the 2000 block of Big Hanaford Road, Chief Deputy Breen said. Its canopy and trailer hitch were gone, Breen said.

The stolen guns include a Bushmaster AR-15, a Savage .17 caliber rifle, a Marlin .357 caliber rifle, a Saiga 12-gauge shotgun and a Winchester 12-gauge shotgun, according to Breen.

News brief: Amtrak derailment sending injured to area hospitals

Monday, December 18th, 2017

Image Courtesy of Washington State Department of Transportation

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Those people injured in this morning’s train derailment onto Interstate 5 in Dupont in Pierce County are being taken to numerous hospitals, with one dozen individuals expected at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia.

Hospital spokesperson Chris Thomas said no patients from the incident are expected at Providence Centralia Hospital.

“From what I heard, there were about 100 people on the train,” Thomas said.

The Amtrak passenger train was heading southbound, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office.

All lanes of southbound Interstate 5 at Mounts Road near DuPont are closed for an extended period of time due, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

WSDOT advises motorists to only travel if needed and to expect long delays on alternate routes. Gov. Jay Inslee suggests commuters avoid I-5 in the area.

Thomas said the injured are being sent to the five to six hospitals around Tacoma and north, as well as Providence St. Peter.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Office states multiple motorists injured on roadway, but no fatalities of motorists reported.

Amtrak advises the Amtrak Cascades Train 501 departed from Seattle with approximately 78 passengers and five crew members.

News brief: Motorcyclist dies after crashing into truck

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

Updated at 6:10 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 57-year-old man from Rochester is dead after his motorcycle hit a pickup truck head on yesterday evening on a county road east of Napavine.

Law enforcement and aid were called at 4:55 p.m. to the scene just east of Interstate 5 and north of state Route 508.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said the motorcyclist was westbound on Forest-Napavine Road East and swerved when an east bound truck pulling a flatbed trailer went to turn north onto Kirkland Road.

“He hit a Ford F150 pickup head on,” Chief Deputy Breen said.

Nobody else was injured and the Rochester man was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to Breen. Kelvin Winterowd died at the hospital, according to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

Personnel from the Washington State Patrol assisted with investigation. Breen said one of the items they will be trying to determine is if the motorcycle’s headlight was turned on.

News brief: Illegal marijuana cultivation discovered in Vader

Monday, December 11th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports they discovered an illegal marijuana growing operation at a Vader address which they learned of through their assistance to the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office with three similar grows last month.

Chief Deputy Breen said they executed a search warrant the the 700 block of B Street in Friday where they located 674 mature plants and arrested a suspect.

It happened around 11 a.m. and while law enforcement was present, a 33-year-old man from San Jose, California arrived to the property. Heip D. Doan was arrested for manufacture and possession of marijuana and booked into the Lewis County Jail, Breen said.

Breen said deputies had helped Pacific County serve three warrants on Nov. 29 and learned of a possible nexus to an address in the Vader area. They began investigating and found it had been occurring since May of this year, Breen said.

Doan is tentatively scheduled to go before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

Tinney wins Lewis County clerk race, barely

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Appointed Lewis County Clerk Scott Tinney won the tight race for election, according to a recount of votes conducted yesterday.

He will be sworn in at 3 p.m. today.


Scott Tinney

Tinney and Deputy Clerk Carla Shannon, both Republicans, both ran for the office in the November election, to fill out the term of Lewis County Clerk Kathy Brack who vacated the position last year. Tinney has been in the role since then, appointed by the Board of (Lewis) County Commissioners.

The election was certified last week, with Tinney ahead by just 38 votes, prompting yesterday’s machine recount by the elections division in the Lewis County Auditors Office.

The process turned up one more vote for Tinney, Chief Deputy Auditor Tom Stanton said.

More than 14,000 votes were cast in the race, and Tinny secured 49.63 percent of them, while Shannon garnered 49.37 percent of them. One percent of the votes (148) were write-in candidates.

Tinney will be sworn in this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court by Judge James Lawler.

The position will again be on the ballot in November 2018 for a normal four-year term.

For background, read “County clerk election: Too close to call without a recount” from Tuesday November 28, 2017, here

News brief: Drugs, drugs, drugs

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Local drug detectives arrested three people in separate cases yesterday in the Twin Cities with enough heroin they could have, or allegedly planned to, sell some to other people.

All three were charged today in Lewis County Superior Court with possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

Matthew C. Gilmon, 24, of Chehalis, was under active supervision by the state Department of Corrections and had an outstanding DOC warrant, according to charging documents. He was visited at his home on the 600 block of Southwest William Avenue in Chehalis yesterday by a DOC officer and members of the Lewis County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team.

A search of his room allegedly turned up what appeared as a “large amount” of heroin in a glass container, scales, clean and used baggies plus $260 cash, according to the documents.

As detectives were clearing William Avenue, they heard a dispatch over the radio about a disturbance involving drugs at the AM/PM on Southwest Interstate Avenue and found the suspected car involved, contacting a 20-year-old Pe Ell resident.

Logen K. Elliott allegedly had a small plastic baggie with a brown substance under his driver’s seat that a detective could see and also had a suspended driver’s license, his charging documents relate.

A search of his car turned up a small box with heroin in it.

Twenty-eight-year-old Jonathan J. Kaye was contacted by JNET detectives at his home yesterday on the 1900 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia and gave them permission to conduct a search, his charging documents allege.

Prior felony convictions prohibit Kaye from keeping guns, but the officers found six firearms, at least two of which were stolen, according to the documents.

They also found enough heroin to break into small packages and sell separately, scales, spoons and baggies, the documents allege. The court documents state the detectives found 20.5 grams of methamphetamine as well.

Kaye was charged additionally with six counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and two counts of possessing a stolen firearm. He was not charged in connection with the suspected meth.

The suspects were booked into the Lewis County Jail. This afternoon they were brought before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court.

Prosecutors asked that Kaye be held on $100,000 bail.

Judge Joely O’Rourke granted the request, saying the combination of drugs and guns in the allegations were an enormous threat to community safety.

Gilmon’s bail was set at $25,000 and Elliott’s was set at $10,000.

Illegal marijuana growing by Chinese nationals targeted in Grays Harbor County

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017
2017.1128.GHCSOmarijuanaoperation 112817crop

One indoor marijuana cultivating scene. / Courtesy photo by Grays Harbor County Drug Task Force

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Members of more than a dozen law enforcement agencies, including from Lewis County, joined up with state and federal agents to serve search warrants in three counties today following an investigation into illegal marijuana growing operations by Chinese nationals.

The Grays Harbor County Drug Task Force oversaw today’s activities after a months-long investigation in which they learned of numerous homes being purchased for that purpose, primarily for cash, by people involved in organized crime, according to Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate.

“The proceeds from these illegal grows appear to be funding other criminal enterprises,” Shumate said in a press release. “Those investigations are on-going.”

With the citizen’s passage of Initiative 502, the law enforcement community supports the legal operations of marijuana producers, processors and retailers in this state, according to Shumate. They are required by Washington state law to be licensed and follow strict guidelines, he stated.

Teams today are processing the scenes and removing for destruction any illegal marijuana. Personnel from the Lewis County Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team and Lewis County Sheriff’s Office were among those assisting.

Shumate said the search warrants were served throughout Grays Harbor County as well as in related locations in Thurston and King counties, but did not reveal specific places, the number of arrests or the quantity of marijuana found.

He did say the investigation originated with citizen reports of possible illegal grows outside of Elma, in McCleary, Aberdeen and Hoquiam.

Also part of today’s operation were members of agencies such as the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Marshals Office, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board and Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Nominations due for LCSO Shop With A Cop

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017


By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  The deadline is tomorrow to submit nominations of Lewis County children to participate in the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office annual Shop With A Cop event.

The sheriff’s office partners with the United Way of Lewis County to find youngsters in need of a positive experience with law enforcement as well as in need of financial assistance.

Counselors, neighbors, social workers, church leaders, parents, teachers and other community members are encouraged to nominate children they feel would benefit from the program.

“Shop with a Cop is an event our employees look forward to every year,” Sheriff Rob Snaza stated in a press release yesterday. “The excitement of the children shopping for their family members is amazing and contagious. It’s a very positive experience for all involved.”

The program is open to kids 8 to 18, who reside in Lewis County. (If they are 18, but still in school, they will be considered.)

Those selected to shop will be notified the week of December 4, and shopping will occur on December 14.

Applications to make nominations are available from United Way of Lewis County.

• At their office at 450 NW Pacific Avenue, Chehalis

• By calling their office at 360-748-8100

• At their web site at

• Applications are also available at the front counter of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, on the first floor of the Lewis County Law and Justice building in Chehalis.

Shop with a Cop is funded through sheriff’s office employee donations, public donations, and grants coordinated through the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Association. Donations to sustain the program are greatly appreciated and can be sent to the Sheriff’s Office Association at: LCSOA, 345 W. Main Street, Chehalis, WA 98532.

Note: Completed applications must be postmarked no later than Nov. 22. They can be returned through the United Way mail slot if the office is closed. They can also be turned in at the front counter of the sheriff’s office up until 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 22.

News brief: Chehalis police seek info on incident with gun near park

Friday, November 17th, 2017

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Chehalis police report this morning that two suspects have been arrested for first-degree robbery in connection with an encounter near Penny Playground in which a group of high school students on foot were confronted by four individuals in a car.

It happened on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

The subjects pulled up in a gray Honda, were armed with handguns and looking for someone with whom they previously had a disagreement, according to police. One gun was displayed, according to police.

One of the subjects reportedly took an item from the pocket of one of the students, according to department spokesperson Linda Bailey. It was a headphone and the victim was an 18-year-old male, according to Bailey.

Nobody was injured during the incident, police stated in a press release. It happened just before 3 p.m. on Wednesday near Southwest 13th Street and William Avenue.

Two of the four suspects have been identified, arrested and booked; they are a 17-year-old Chehalis boy and a 20-year-old Winlock resident, Brandon Caley, according to police. It’s not clear when or where they were arrested.

Police are still looking for two males in their 20s and ask anyone with information to contact the Chehalis Police Department at 360-748-8605 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).