Archive for April, 2011

News brief: Fire damages Winlock home, pets perish

Friday, April 29th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Three cats died in a Winlock-area house fire overnight.

Firefighters were called about 1:30 a.m. to the 200 block of Antrim Road, after the residents returned home to find their couch burning, according to Lewis County Fire District 15.

Firefighter Patrick Jacobson said the man poured water on the couch and the couple took their cats outside, but they didn’t survive.

The interior of the double-wide mobile home was heavily damaged by heat and smoke, Jacobson said.

Fire Investigator Ted McCarty said he was looking at two possible places where the fire might have started: a heating-massage pad next to the couch and  a small plastic garbage can into which an ashtray was emptied.

The Red Cross was called to assist the couple with a place to stay, Jacobson said.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, April 29th, 2011


• Chehalis police were called yesterday afternoon about a forgery in which somebody from South Africa “basically drained” a resident’s account. The Chehalis woman tried to use her debit card and found her account was overdrawn, according to Deputy Chief Randy Kaut. The report didn’t say how much money was missing. “Usually on these cases out of the country, there’s not much we can do,” Kaut said. Officers take a report for the individual to pass along to their bank or financial institution, which usually offer some kinds of protections for their customers, he said.


• A 44-year-old Tacoma woman was arrested after she allegedly assaulted a woman and then two children in a Winlock residence yesterday. The sheriff’s office said it’s unknown what provoked the attack. Deputies called about 4:50 p.m. to a dispute on the 100 block of Dorning Road learned the woman had an adult female on the kitchen floor, assaulting her; at one point trying to take her pants off, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Cmdr. Steve Aust said when a 7-year-old and 9-year-old came into the room, she choked at least one of them. Lynne M. Vanier, 44, fled the home and was stopped by a Winlock police officer. Aust said the suspect was so intoxicated they couldn’t get her story from her. Vanier was arrested for two counts of second-degree assault, indecent liberties and driving under the influence, Aust said. She was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

• A 31-year-old Napavine man was arrested for second-degree assault yesterday after he allegedly assaulted his 16-year-old nephew in Napavine. James D. Sutherland was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• Centralia police took a report of a burglary to a residence yesterday on the 200 block of West Pear Street. Coins in an unspecified amount were stolen, according to the  Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police were called about noon yesterday to the 500 block of North Pearl Street where a security camera was taken from the exterior of a building and graffiti spray painted.


• Chehalis police arrested a 27-year-old Lakewood man on Wednesday who tried to pick up a forged prescription from a pharmacy. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail. Prosecutors released him pending further investigation.


• The Chehalis Fire Department helped rescue a dog from the Chehalis River yesterday evening. A neighbor pulled the roughly 150-pound dog from the water but the animal was so worn out he couldn’t walk, to get up a steep bank near Riverside Drive, according to Capt. Rob Gebhart. Firefighters put the Newfoundland-type canine onto a sleeping bag and carried him up, Gebhart said.

Kayla Croft-Payne: Vigil draws friends, family of missing teenager

Friday, April 29th, 2011

One of Kayla Croft-Payne's younger sisters, Jaida Payne, is comforted as family and friends held a vigil last night in Chehalis.


Kayla's 4-year-old sister Shelbie chooses a balloon as their mother Michelle Croft looks on.


"I love you Peanut, I miss you every day ... Butter," Kayla's friend Ashley Smith marks on a balloon.


Kayla's father, Thomas Payne, readies a balloon for his grandson.


Penny Playground, Chehalis, Wash. April 28, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The rain paused yesterday just long enough for friends and family of the missing Kayla Croft-Payne to gather in a Chehalis park to honor the teenager and vow to keep searching until she’s found.

More than 50 individuals, including her relatives from as far away as Seattle and Vancouver, Wash., met at Penny Playground on the one-year anniversary of her disappearance.

Croft-Payne was 18 years old and living outside Chehalis on April 28, 2010 when she last logged onto her MySpace internet account. She was reported missing on May 5 by a friend who hadn’t seen or heard from her for several days.

Candles were lit and balloons with handwritten messages were sent skyward yesterday evening.

Her father, Thomas Payne of Longview, asked the group to please share any information they might have about his daughter’s whereabouts.

“I hope everyone gets the word out so I can find my little girl,” Payne said.

Morton resident Jennifer Mau urged all who would like to help look for Croft-Payne to keep updated on plans for search parties by joining the “Missing Kayla” Facebook group.

Mau is part of a group which organized three weeks of ground searches last summer and found the body of missing Morton teenager Austin King.

“We’ll keep Kayla’s picture out there and do searches, if any of you want to help,” Mau said.

Read more about Kayla Croft-Payne, here

Join the Missing Kayla Facebook group, here

Former Chehalis official pleads not guilty to theft from city

Friday, April 29th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The city of Chehalis’s former building official pleaded not guilty yesterday to stealing money from a city safe.

Jeffrey C. Shine, 41, was fired earlier this month following an investigation into the November 19 discovery.

According to charging documents, an employee arrived to work at the community development building on the 1300 block of South Market Boulevard  and discovered somebody had opened a safe and removed some of its contents.

Five money bags there had been sealed and locked but someone cut their bottoms and also got into an envelope, according to the documents. The total is described as about $962.

The charging documents don’t note if any money remained in the safe or if it was cleaned out.

About $360 were funds raised for the medical needs of the daughter of Jeff and Angie Elder, a pair of police department employees, according to the documents.

Charging documents say Shine took a polygraph test and then admitted he went into the building wearing gloves, opened the safe and took the money. They don’t indicate if it was after hours or not or offer any explanation.

Shine, who lives in Longview, was 16-year city employee with the city. He was responsible for looking over construction sites and making sure code was followed. He was terminated April 1.

He pleaded not guilty yesterday afternoon to second-degree burglary and second-degree theft.

A trial date was set for the week of June 27 in  Lewis County Superior Court.

Read about Gov. plans to veto medical marijuana bill today …

Friday, April 29th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle Times reports that Gov. Chris Gregoire will to hold a news conference today to discuss her expected veto of all or part of the medical marijuana bill.

The state legislature’s attempt to make allowances for medical marijuana dispensaries has coincided with the closure of two such enterprises in Lewis County this month.

Centralia police shut down Hub City Natural Medicine last week and Green Health Chehalis closed its doors when its lease was cancelled over apparent fears the building might be seized.

Seattle Times reporter Jonathan Martin writes that as the debate over the conflict between state and federal law continued yesterday, federal agents in Spokane raided at least three dispensaries there.

Read Martin’s news story here


Update 5:19 p.m. Friday April 29, 2011: The Seattle Times writes this afternoon she left a little bit of the bill in place. Read it here

News brief: Massive amount of firefighting equipment stolen from Pe Ell department

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Intruders carried off thousands of dollars of equipment from the Pe Ell fire station including the Jaws of Life, bolt cutters, a fire axe, various saws and even breathing apparatus’.

The break-in happened sometime during the week, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

A deputy was called about 7:30 p.m. yesterday to take a report from the chief of Lewis County Fire District 11 – an all-volunteer fire department. The building sits on state Route 6 just outside the city limits.

Among the items missing were chain saws, generators, a work light and extension cords.

They even took the keys from the rescue truck, and a “jump bag” containing medical supplies, Fire Chief Michael Krafczyk said today.

Krafczyk said it happened sometime since Saturday. It was discovered yesterday evening when firefighters arrived for their routine drill. They spent the night taking inventory instead, he said.

“We were pretty decimated,” he said.

The burglars went through and picked items off the fire engines and other vehicles, unloading virtually all the tools from the truck they use to respond to car wrecks including the Jaws and spreaders, according to Krafczyk.

“The rescue rig is tagged out of service,” he said. “We can’t use it.”

An automatic mutual response has been put into place with the Boistfort fire district if they should have any calls for vehicle collisions, he said.

He estimates the extrication equipment – which they share with the Dryad area fire district – will cost $7000 to $10,000 to replace.

Krafczyk said it appears the burglars got in by either breaking a window or sliding one open and then left with enough to easily fill the back of a truck.

The loss is estimated at more than $18,000.

Sheriff’s Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown is asking anyone with information about the burglary to immediately call the sheriff’s office, 911 or Lewis County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-748-6422.

“Obviously we’re anxious to get (this) equipment back as public safety depends on it to assist citizens in the community,” Brown said.

The thefts follow a similar incident a little more than two weeks ago at a fire station in Cowlitz County, reported on yesterday by the The (Longview) Daily News.

Several weeks ago, an un-staffed station south of Rochester was burglarized leaving the West Regional Thurston Fire Authority having to replace a “jump bag” and an automatic defibrillator. Fire Chief Robert Scott said he’d heard of a similar theft from a Yelm-area station recently as well.

And earlier this month, the Lewis County Search and Rescue group discovered a break-in out in Packwood in which they lost nearly all their portable radios as well as a generator and outdoor lights. Their generator was recovered and one arrest made.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, April 28th, 2011


• A 36-year-old man was arrested yesterday after he fled law enforcement and hid in some brush north of Centralia, allegedly discarding drugs along the way. William A. Barge, of Centralia, was wanted on a warrant and for failing to register as a sex offender, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He was spotted traveling in a vehicle near the 800 block of state Route 507, but jumped out and ran into the trees at a rock pit, the sheriff’ office reported. A police dog was deployed and Barge was found, along with suspected drugs, small plastic bags and a scale, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. Barge was booked for possession with intent to deliver, the warrant and failure to register, Brown said.


• Three firearms were reported stolen from an unlocked pickup truck parked on the street at the 1100 block of G Street in Centralia, according to a report made yesterday evening to the  Centralia Police Department. One of the guns was a .38 caliber handgun, according to police. Also taken was a GPS unit.

• Chehalis police were called Tuesday night about a vehicle prowl on Sixth Street.


• Centralia police were called just before 5 p.m. yesterday about a break-in to a concession stand at Wheeler Field on the 800 block of Johnson Road. Money and candy were missing, according to police.


• Centralia police took a report last night of an individual using fake identification to withdraw money from a Wells Fargo Bank account. The amount was not noted.

Read about 12-hour impound will be mandatory after DUI arrests …

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Tacoma) News Tribune reports the governor signed into law yesterday a requirement that law enforcement officers impound vehicles involved in DUI arrests for 12 hours.

News reporter Katie Schmidt writes the new law – designed to make sure people sober up before getting back behind the wheel – goes into effect in July.

Read Schmidt’s news story here

News brief: Thurston County investigation yields four pounds methamphetamine

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Thurston County Narcotics Task Force seized roughly four pounds of methamphetamine, cash and vehicles in a drug investigation that included searching a home in Tenino yesterday.

Detectives with the task force, the Tenino Police Department and special agents with Homeland Security have conducted an investigation over the past several months that included purchasing large quantities of the drug, according to a news release from the task force.

They identified several locations and subjects involved in the sale and distribution of methamphetamine, the news release states.

Two females and two males were arrested yesterday when search warrants were served at the 900 block of Garfield Street East in Tenino and the 8500 block of Steilacoom Road Southeast near Lacey, according to the news release.

Two young children were placed into the custody of Child Protective Services, according to the news release.

Charges are expected of possession and delivery of a controlled substance as well as unlawful use of a building for drug purposes, according to the news release.

The street value of the methamphetamine was placed at $154,360. The task force notes the investigation will continue.


For further details following a bail hearing, read The Olympian news story, here

News brief: Sheriff to give presentation on citizen use of deadly force

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The local Fraternal Order of Police group is inviting the public to its May meeting to hear Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield discuss responsibilities and consequences associated with citizens’ use of deadly force.

The gathering is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Monday May 9 at the Lewis and Clark Apartments at 117 W. Magnolia Street in Centralia.

The question to be addressed is when is it okay for a citizen to use deadly force to protect themselves or their property, according to a news release from the F.O.P. Centerville Lodge No. 26.

Twice in recent years a Lewis County citizen has used deadly force against persons they discovered on their property which resulted in death and ended up in court.

In 2002, a 65-year-old man was charged with manslaughter after he fatally shot a presumed burglar on his property in rural Centralia. He was found not guilty by a jury.

Last spring, 60-year-old Ronald A. Brady fired at two suspected burglars on his Onalaska property, killing one of them. Sheriff Mansfield made it clear he believed the shooting to be justified and announced he would not arrest Brady.

The Lewis County Prosecutors Office however, charged Brady with manslaughter and then upgraded the charge to first-degree murder. The case is awaiting trial.

Sheriff’s detective Sgt. Dusty Breen will join the sheriff in the presentation. A question and answer session will be included, according to F.O.P event chair Bradd Reynolds.

For further information, contact Reynolds at 360-520-6562.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011


• Two pedestrians were struck by vehicles in crosswalks in Centralia yesterday, but neither resulted in serious injuries according to police. Aid and police were called about 12:40 p.m. to West Main and Yew streets where a 44-year-old woman from Napavine was hit by a Suburban, according to the Centralia Police Department. She was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with a possible wrist injury, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert. The driver, a 56-year-old Winlock resident, was cited for  failure to yield the right of away to a pedestrian, Reichert said. Then just after 4 p.m., a pickup truck ran over the foot of a 13-year-old Centralia boy in a crosswalk at North Tower Avenue and East Maple Street, according to police. The driver in that case, a 58-year-old Centralia man, was not cited as it appeared the teenager had stepped out from where he was not visible to the driver, Reichert said.


• A security camera at the Aerie building on the 200 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia captured an image of a possible suspect about the same time the camera was struck and broken by a board, according to a report made to the Centralia Police Department yesterday morning.


• Police were called about 7:15 a.m. yesterday to a car prowl on the 900 block of North Washington Avenue in Centralia. Taken was cash as well as a backpack with schoolwork inside from an unlocked vehicle, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police were called about noon yesterday to a vehicle prowl on the 700 block of H Street. Somebody got inside by damaging the handle to the rear hatch and then rummaged through the vehicle, according to police.

One year later: Vigil set in Chehalis for Kayla Croft-Payne

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A vigil is set for the still missing-Kayla Croft-Payne on Thursday evening, the one year anniversary of the Lewis County teenager’s disappearance.

Croft-Payne was 18 years old and living in a trailer between Chehalis and Napavine on April 28, 2010 when she last logged onto her MySpace internet account. She was reported missing on May 5 by a friend who hadn’t seen or heard from her for several days.

Kayla Croft-Payne

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has followed tips up into Pierce County, down into Cowlitz County and beyond but the young woman hasn’t turned up.

Last month, detectives said the last place they could verify she was seen was a  a trailer park in the Toutle area.

Winlock resident Jerome Painter is organizing Thursday’s event at Penny Playground in Chehalis. His cousin is a really good friend of Croft-Payne’s, he said.

“I know a lot of people who know Kayla and love Kayla and want answers, like her family,” Painter said. “It’s just touched my heart and I really wanted to do something.”

Painter said people who know her and people who don’t are equally welcome to attend.

Her parents and other family members will be there, he said.

Her father, Thomas Payne of Longview, said he’d rather his daughter was found, so he didn’t have to go to such a gathering, but he will be there to honor his daughter.

“I’m hoping some of her friends will come up and talk with me,” Payne said today.

He’s frustrated, having so little information about his daughter’s movements before she vanished, and hopes perhaps someone who hasn’t been comfortable talking with law enforcement would feel okay talking to her father, he said.

Painter put Croft-Payne’s parents to work, giving them tasks such as spreading the word and trying to round up donations of candles and helium balloons.

What: Vigil for Kayla Croft-Payne
Where: Penny Playground in Chehalis, at Southwest 13th Street, off Interstate 5 exit 76
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday April 28, 2011
For information: contact Jerome Painter at

Join the Missing Kayla Facebook page, here

Read background on Kayla Croft-Payne, here