Archive for the ‘News briefs’ Category

New brief: Boy slashed by father’s boat propeller on Mayfield Lake

Monday, August 6th, 2012

Updated 12:49 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 12-year-old boy swimming at Mayfield Lake was struck by a boat propeller and seriously injured yesterday.

The child was airlifted to a Portland area hospital with deep lacerations to his chest, stomach and thigh, according to responders.

Aid was called to the county park off Beach Road just after 3 p.m., but a sheriff’s deputy out on boat patrol was already on the scene providing first aid, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the boy was approximately 20 feet offshore, swimming next to his father’s boat while the boat was being moored. The father mistakenly put the boat in the wrong gear, striking the 12-year-old, according to Brown.

It happened near the swimming area, according to Lewis County Fire District 8.

The boy was transported to the Mossyrock school ball field where a helicopter picked him up and flew him to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, according to the sheriff’s office.

The family is from Beaverton. Ore.

Brown described the boy’s condition yesterday as serious. Today the hospital said he is stable, Brown said.

News brief: Harley Davidson wrecks at Bear Canyon

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 65-year-old motorcyclist was injured this afternoon when he was going too fast around a curve and struck a guard rail along state Route 508 about 10 miles west of Morton, according to the Washington State Patrol.

David R. Weaver, from Lacey, was westbound at Bear Canyon when it happened, according to the state patrol. He suffered a concussion, scrapes and bruises, the responding trooper indicated.

Troopers were called to the scene just before 4 p.m.

The 2006 Harley Davidson sustained an estimated $1,000 damage and was towed.

Community invited to burial of unclaimed persons; Harry Fields won’t be attending

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The coroner’s office will have one less set of unclaimed remains to bury next month, thanks to publicity generated from publishing a list of the urns that are stored at their office.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said a family member came forward and picked up her relative yesterday after news stories appeared.

Harry Edwin Fields Jr., 58, has been in the custody of the coroner since he died at his Chehalis home in October 2004.

McLeod didn’t say what the relationship was, just that the woman was local.

Over the past 14 years, each unclaimed person has been cremated and kept by the coroner.

McLeod thought they had exhausted all avenues for finding family members, and is making plans for a burial next month in a donated plot at Claquato Cemetery.

The 15 remaining urns will share a spot in a part of the cemetery known as the county section.

A non-denominational memorial service is scheduled for Aug. 22 at 2 p.m.

The public is welcome to attend.

Claquato Cemetery is about two miles west of Chehalis at 142 Stearns Road.

For background including the list, read “The unclaimed dead of Lewis County” from Sunday July 29, 2012, here

News brief: Centralia man airlifted off Interstate 5 after wreck

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Centralia man is in serious condition after a motorcycle accident last night on Interstate 5 north of Grand Mound.

Christopher L. Fee, 30, was traveling northbound near milepost 95 at Maytown when he made a lane change and  struck a pickup truck, according to the Washington State Patrol.

It happened just before 9:40 p.m.

The freeway was closed down so a helicopter could pick the motorcyclist up. He was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Responders from West Thurston Regional Fire Authority described the victim with an “altered level of consciousness” who suffered multi-system traumatic injuries.

The state patrol attributed speed to causing the wreck and noted drugs or alcohol were involved.

The pickup truck was not damaged, according to the state patrol.

Fee is in serious condition this morning in the intensive care unit at Harborview, a hospital spokesperson said.

West Thurston Fire Lt. Lanette Dyer said during the event, crews got a 911 call from a pregnant woman stuck about 40 cars back in the backup.

She was treated by medics and then released, Dyer said. They were false contractions and she just felt safer having someone check her out, Dyer said.

News brief: Power pole, lines detached in Centralia vehicle wreck

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A small pickup truck hit a power pole on the 1000 block of South Gold Street in Centralia this afternoon, sheering it off at its base and causing several lines to detach all the way down to Floral Street, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

It happened just before 1:40 p.m. and the roadway was shut down until about 4:30 p.m., according to authorities.

An older gentleman had a medical problem that caused the wreck and was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to Fire Capt. Scott Weinert.

One lane is still closed and utility crews are expected to be out there for quite awhile making repairs, Officer John Panco said.

Read about Longview couple convicted of mistreatment regarding 49-pound teen …

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Vancouver) Columbian published a story about a Longview couple convicted yesterday for nearly starving their 13-year-old adopted son to death and withholding food from their other children.

The boy weighed only 49 pounds – about half the expected weight of a normal 13-year-old, according to the account.

Read more here

Read about Thurston County judge retires …

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports Thurston County Superior Court’s longest serving judge has retired after 30 years on the bench.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes about Judge Paula Casey in The Olympian.

Read more here

Centralia police investigating rape

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police took a report yesterday morning a Centralia woman was raped.

An officer responded about 9:15 a.m. yesterday to the 1200 block of Alder Street to talk to the victim, according to a police spokesperson.

Officers are investigating and releasing very little information.

Where it occurred, when it occurred and what the circumstances were are still unclear, according to police spokesperson Officer John Panco.

“We don’t know if it was a stranger or a known person,” he said. “The lady was upset. We got as much information as we could and that’s something we can’t verify.”

The case, according to police, is being investigated as a first-degree rape, meaning serious physical injury, threat with a deadly weapon, involving kidnapping or where the perpetrator criminally enters a building to assault the victim.

The police department describes it in a brief summary as a possible sexual assault.

Panco said there was some delay in the woman calling police. He did not know the woman’s condition.

Former Maple Lane worker goes back to prison

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Gary A. Lohr is sentenced for possession of meth and bail jumping


By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A former longtime worker at Maple Lane juvenile detention facility for boys will appeal his drug conviction, saying the insignificant amount of methamphetamine and the jacket it was found in weren’t his.

Gary A. Lohr, 66, was fresh out of prison and getting back on his feet when Centralia police arrested him last December, his attorney told a judge yesterday.

Lohr has fought hard against his addiction, attorney Bryan Hershman said.

“He was born with whatever it is that makes people struggle with this curse, this plague of meth as he calls it,” Hershman said.

A Lewis County Superior Court jury last week found Lohr guilty of possession of methamphetamine and bail jumping. It’s his fourth drug conviction, Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke noted.

Lohr briefly addressed the judge when given the opportunity.

“Thank you for the court’s time,” he said. “I’m innocent and that’s all I can say.”

Hershman argued for the low end of the standard sentencing range, while the prosecutor argued for the high end.

Judge James Lawler chose the high end and sentenced Lohr yesterday morning to 29 months in prison.

His attorney filed a notice of appeal before Lohr was taken away.

Maple Lane was a state juvenile institution in Grand Mound that has since shut down.

Read about Olympia man who disappeared faces child porn charges …

Friday, July 27th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports that when police searched the home of a missing 52-year-old man looking for clues about where he might be, they found pornographic images involving children on his computer.


Troy A. Fisher

Troy A. Fisher, the interim artistic director at the Capital Playhouse, was booked into the Thurston County Jail late today, according to news reporter Jeremy Pawloski.

Fisher vanished Sunday night and was located unharmed early Wednesday morning when he called 911 from a pay phone and said he couldn’t remember where he had been, according to the Olympia Police Department.

Read more here

Read about mayor of Pacific fires half of police force …

Friday, July 27th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Tacoma) News Tribune reports the mayor of the city of Pacific has terminated four of its police officers, following last week’s incident in which officers arrested the mayor for trying to enter a locked office at city hall.

News reporter Alex Krell writes that among the reasons cited are unlawful anarchy and mutiny.

Read more here

Breaking news: Suspect from 2007 sexual assault of girl arrested

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Updated at 5:03 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Detectives today arrested a 24-year-old Winlock man for a 2007 sexual assault of an 8-year-old girl in a Mossyrock-area campground.

Reginald L. Juntunen was identified through DNA, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

He was in Lewis County Superior Court today on an unrelated matter when he was taken into custody.

The sheriff’s office says the girl was riding her bicycle in the campground when she was approached by a man who said he wanted her to come look at something.

When she came close, he told he had a knife and forced her into a public restroom and assaulted her, according to a news release from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He left on foot, the sheriff’s office says.

The report was taken when deputies were called on Sept. 22, 2007 to the campground on the 200 block of Ajlune Road.

Evidence from the scene was sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab and earlier this month the sheriff’s office received notification they identified a suspect through CODIS – the Combined DNA Index System, according to the news release.

Juntunen was booked into the Lewis County Jail for multiple counts related to the incident, including first-degree rape, first-degree rape of a child, first-degree child molestation, first-degree kidnapping, unlawful imprisonment and second-degree assault, according to the sheriff’s office.

“This is an excellent example of the technology that exists today and how we are utilizing it to solve crimes, make arrests and send people to prison,” Sheriff Steve Mansfield stated in the news release. “Without the CODIS System this arrest would not have been possible.”

Suspect in 1985 slayings booked into Lewis County Jail

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012


By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Ricky Allen Riffe is back in Lewis County.

Riffe, 53, was arrested at his home in Alaska on July 8 for the 1985 slayings of Edward and Wilhelmina “Minnie” Maurin of Ethel.


Rick Riffe

He has been brought back to face charges of two counts each of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery, as well as one count of burglary.

Riffe was booked into the Lewis County Jail abut 9:45 p.m. tonight, according to the jail roster.

He will go before a judge at 4 p.m. tomorrow.

Prosecutors believe Riffe and his now-deceased brother John Gregory Riffe got into the couple’s home, uncovered bank records and forced the couple to go with them to the bank and withdraw $8,500 before shooting them in the backs with a shotgun inside their car, according to charging documents.

The Maurin’s bodies were found days later on Christmas Eve 1985 off a logging road west of Adna.

Ed Maurin was 81 years old, his wife 83.

See video from of Riffe’s arrival at the jail, here

For back ground, read:

• “Breaking news: Sheriff: Cold case solved in 1985 shooting death of elderly Ethel couple” from Monday July 9, 2012 at 9:13 a.m., here

• “Sheriff: It’s safe for further witnesses to come forward following arrest in deaths of Ethel couple” from Monday July 9, 2012 at 5:14 p.m., here

News brief: Log truck tips over at I-5, state Route 508 interchange

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Workers check out log truck at exit 71. / Courtey photo by Lewis County Fire District 5

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A log truck driver was apparently uninjured when the loaded truck tipped over at a ramp to Interstate 5 south of Chehalis this afternoon.

Lewis County Fire District 5 called about 3:50 p.m. to the exit 71 interchange found the logs spilled but not blocking the roadway, according to Fire Lt. Laura Hanson.

The driver did not need to be transported to the hospital, Hanson said.

The Washington State Patrol was investigating why it occurred, she said.

The truck was up-righted and appeared to possibly be fixable, according to Hanson.

News brief: Olympia police looking for missing man

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012


By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Olympia police are asking for the public’s help in locating a 52-year-old man missing since Sunday night.


Troy A. Fisher

Troy A. Fisher was last seen at his home about 11:45 p.m. and failed to show up for work and other appointments since then, according to Olympia Police Department.

Police say that’s very out of character for him.

He left his car and  cell phone and car at his house, according to a police bulletin.

The bulletin states Fisher has no known medical or mental issues.

Police Lt. Jim Costa asks anyone with information about his location or details concerning his disappearance to call 911.

The Olympian reports Fisher is the interim artistic director at the Capital Playhouse.

Fisher is described as blond-haired and blue-eyed, 5-feet 7-inches tall and weighing about 160 pounds.

His information has been entered into the National Crime Data Data Files as a missing person, according to Costa.

Update 4:30 a.m. Wednesday July 25, 2012: Olympia police reported Fisher was located unharmed just before 2 o’clock this morning when he called 911 from a pay phone at Safeway on Harrison Avenue Northwest.

He appeared disoriented and was unable to account for the previous 24 hours, according to Sgt. Matt Renchler.

Fisher was examined by members of the Olympia Fire Department and then taken to Capital Medical Center as a precaution, according to police.