Archive for September, 2011

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, September 30th, 2011


• Centralia police were called about 7:10 a.m. today about a light blue 1991 Honda Accord stolen overnight from the 1400 block of Johnson Road. The car has only three hub caps and its license plate is 451 UXQ, according to police.

• A 29-year-old man was arrested yesterday evening by Centralia police for vehicle theft. Jeffrey D. Downey, of Vancouver, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, also for violation of a no contact order, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A black 2002 Hyundai was reported stolen from the 2300 block of Sirkka Avenue in Centralia on Wednesday, according to police.

• A 1987 Honda 200 motorcycle was reported stolen from a garage on the 300 block of West Summa Street in Centralia on Wednesday, according to Centralia police. It has an orange tank, police reported.


• Centralia police were called yesterday afternoon to the 600 block of Ash Street about fraudulent activity on a person’s account. Further details were not readily available. Police are investigating, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police took a report about the theft of prescription medications from a home on the 1400 block of Johnson Road in Centralia on Wednesday.


• Police were called to W.F. West High School in Chehalis for two separate cases of students possessing marijuana on Wednesday. Both the 16-year-old boy and the 17-year-old boy were interviewed and then released pending possible charging, according to Chehalis police.

• Centralia police arrested a 46-year-old Tenino woman for possession of methamphetamine at East Hanson Street and North Tower Avenue on Wednesday afternoon. Robin L. Richardet was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 39-year-old Chehalis man observed wearing “camo” and sitting on property near the 100 block of Nix Road was arrested yesterday for trespass after a deputy subsequently found him on the 400 block of Highway 603, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Eric Bilton-Smith was booked into the Lewis County Jail, also for misdemeanor possession of marijuana, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Chehalis police took a report yesterday afternoon of graffiti painted at Penny Playground off Southwest 13th Street.


• Two people were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital yesterday after a collision at U.S. Highway 12 and Gershick Road, according to the Washington State Patrol. Both vehicles were described as totaled. Troopers called about 10:15 a.m. reported that Paul S. Lee, 62, of Silver Creek, was driving a Honda Passport and entered the intersection where his car was hit by a 1999 Mercury Mystique. Two women in the Mercury were hospitalized because of pain and/or possible injuries, according to the state patrol. They are Crystal J. Like, 32, of Glenoma, and Caroline A. Livers, 68, of Randle, according to the state patrol.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday a 23-year-old Toledo man was cited for “wheels off the roadway” when his log truck rolled over and spilled its load on Big Hanaford Road on Wednesday morning. He was uninjured but the wreck caused an estimated $4,000 damage to his truck and trailer, according to the sheriff’s office.

One defendant in Salkum triple homicide case gets 14 years

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Judge Richard Brosey sentenced Ryan J. McCarthy today to 14 years in prison for his role in last summer’s events in Salkum in which three people were fatally shot and one survived a gunshot to her face.

McCarthy, 30, pleaded guilty three weeks ago to robbery, burglary and attempted extortion in order to take advantage of a plea agreement.

He maintains he did not commit any of the crimes he was originally charged with, including three murders.

His former cell mate John Booth Jr., formerly of Onalaska, is scheduled to be tried for murder in November in Lewis County Superior Court.

More later: Gunshot victim Denise Salts told McCarthy in court today what she thinks of him.

Meanwhile, for details about the plea agreement, read “Breaking news: Plea agreement for “accomplice” in Salkum triple slaying means about 14 years” from  Wednesday Sept. 7,  2011, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011


• Detectives will be closely examining a Volkswagen Jetta and interviewing its owner further after yesterday’s find in Rochester that someone had planted an explosive device in the gas tank. Deputies and a bomb squad were called about 11:30 a.m. yesterday to the 7700 block of Oakberg Lane Southwest after the 33-year-old Rochester woman found wires coming from her car’s gas cap area leading to the ground and around the corner of her home, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. The bomb technicians used a robot to pull the wires out and found nothing attached to that end, sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said. There was nothing at the other end either, he said. However, when they put a camera inside the fuel tube to the tank, they discovered burned residue, suggesting an explosive had actually been activated, he said. It’s not entirely surprising the car didn’t’ blow up when the device activated, as specific conditions of oxygen and fuel vapors may not have been present, according to Elwin. The woman told investigators she couldn’t think of anyone who would want to hurt her, according to Elwin. She’s not a celebrity, a VIP or a government employee, he said, just a regular person. The car was impounded.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a break-in to a store in Randle in which an unknown number of lottery tickets and some $700 of cigarettes were stolen. A deputy called yesterday morning to Gene and Barb’s grocery on the 9000 block of U.S. Highway 12 found a small window had been broken through which the intruder entered, according to the sheriff’s office. Video images from the store will be used to try to find a suspect, the sheriff’s office reported.

• Police were called yesterday evening to the 100 block of Northeast Cascade Avenue in Chehalis by a man who said he discovered jewelry, a camera and a printer missing from his apartment. The resident had someone watching his home after he was arrested and when he got out of jail, the items were gone, according to Chehalis police.

• Centralia police were called yesterday morning to two vehicle prowls in which purses were stolen. The first was on the 500 block of West First Street and about an hour later, another was reported on the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue, according to police.


• A 57-year-old man from Edmonds was arrested late yesterday afternoon for a warrant and possession of methamphetamine, according to Centralia police. Robert A. Russeff was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with officers at the 400 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 31-year-old Tenino-area man was arrested yesterday afternoon for third-degree assault of a deputy after he allegedly pushed the deputy on the chest, flicked him on the side of the head and then ran into a bedroom and closed the door. Thurston County deputies were assisting Tenino police in removing Daniel A. Hinkle from a home in Rainier when he was served with a domestic violence protection order, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said Hinkle said he knew right away he shouldn’t have done that, but by that time it was too late, Elwin said. Hinckle was arrested and booked into the Thurston County Jail.

Coroner gives permission for Ron Reynolds, sons to remain mum

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

This news story was updated at 12:15 p.m. on Wednesday Sept. 28, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS –  Toledo Elementary School Principal Ron Reynolds and his sons have been excused from testifying at the upcoming coroner’s inquest into Ronda Reynolds 1998 death.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod signed an order today quashing their subpoenas to appear and testify.

McLeod writes in his order that the four have asserted their fifth amendment constitutional right, that no person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

Lawyers for the Reynolds’s and for Barb Thompson – mother of Ronda Reynolds – have been filing opposing motions with the coroner as he finalizes details about what will happen at the October inquest.

Thompson’s attorney has stated the men should be compelled to take the witness stand, where they could still choose to invoke the privilege against self-incrimination. But McLeod in his order said he isn’t going to make them do that.

Ronda Reynolds, 33, was found with a bullet in her head and covered by a turned-on electric blanket on the floor of a closet in the Toledo home she shared with her husband of less than a year, Ron Reynolds. He and his three sons – then 18, 17 and 10 – were present when the first sheriff’s deputy arrived the morning of Dec. 16, 1998.

Nobody has ever been charged with any crime related to the case.

While her death was initially ruled a suicide, it was changed back and forth between that and undetermined as it it was reinvestigated and then as it was the subject of a judicial review two years ago.

Coroner McLeod hopes the inquest will bring resolution to the case.

In his order McLeod writes that despite attorney Royce Ferguson’s  assertion the privilege against self incrimination shouldn’t apply in a non-criminal proceeding, case law says it does apply.

McLeod also noted the sons’ motions are similar to their father’s motion, which is similar to one a judge granted during the 2009 judicial review allowing Ron Reynolds not to testify then.

McLeod has decided if they did testify – and if the inquest determines the deceased died by homicide and names the person responsible which could conceivably occur, he would expect prosecutors to dissect their answers looking for guilt.

“Thus, I find it reasonably likely that the Reynolds testimony might be used in evidence in subsequent criminal proceedings against any or all of them,” McLeod wrote.

Coroner McLeod will instruct the jurors the Reynolds have asserted the privilege against self incrimination and no adverse inference should be drawn based upon their exercise of their constitutional right.

In a separate decision yesterday, McLeod noted the inquest jury will consider all possible manners of death.

Ferguson had objected to the label of suicide being one of the options the inquest jury may choose from, citing a ruling in the judicial review civil case in which the previous coroner was ordered to remove suicide from the death certificate .

The inquest is scheduled to begin on Oct. 10.

For more details about McLeod’s decision, download and read his order, here

Read most recent news story on the inquest, here

Read about bomb squad called to Rochester …

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports that a Rochester woman said she can’t think of anyone who would want to hurt her after a possible explosive device was found in her vehicle’s gas tank this this morning.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski wrote today that bomb squad technicians investigated.

For more, read “Explosive device left in Rochester car prompts inquiry” from The Olympian on Tuesday Sept. 27,  2011, here

Rail lines now under continuous scrutiny after tampering

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

BNSF Railway is continuing to inspect its rail line “around the clock” after the discovery yesterday of tampering in between Vancouver, Wash. and Chehalis.

“We’re looking at all aspects, all components of our railroad structures and bridges,” BNSF spokesperson Gus Melonas said at mid-day.

They are keeping on eye on the north to south tracks affected yesterday as well as throughout the Pacific Northwest, Melonas said.

Freight and passenger train traffic was shut down after the first incident was reported about 11 a.m. yesterday at the Longview Junction, according to Melonas.

The tracks were reopened in the early afternoon after inspections.

BNSF is being vague about the nature of the tampering; Melonas wouldn’t say if it caused any equipment malfunctions.

He did say there have been no interruptions of service since they reopened.

The tracks carry about 50 trains daily, 10 of which are Amtrak passenger trains.

The freight trains carry all manner of loads, including hazardous materials “from A to Z,” Melonas said, although he was quick to point out no related fatalities have occurred since 1981.

The railway police are working with outside agencies to ensure the safe movement of trains, he said.

Chehalis and Napavine police said they have had no dealings in their cities with BNSF about the issues, but yesterday about 1 p.m., Winlock Police Chief Terry Williams assisted them in processing some evidence at the north end of town, Williams said.

Williams declined to elaborate in part because he was only helping with another agency’s investigation.

Melonas declined to say if BNSF was also working with Homeland Security, only saying it’s not uncommon for them to work with local and national agencies.

“We’re not speculating at this point,” he said as to whether the tampering might be related to the dispute the Longview longshoreman are involved with.

BNSF is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to arrest and conviction. Melonas said details can be left at BNSF’s crime line at 1-800-832-5452.

News brief: Suspicious fire starts inside Napavine residence

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Firefighters called about 10:10 a.m. today to a mobile home fire in Napavine extinguished it quickly but found signs it was intentionally set, according to Lewis County Fire District 5.

Fire Chief Eric Linn said nobody was home when crews arrived but heavy smoke was coming from all ends of the mobile home.

Firefighters put out flames in a couple of the bedrooms and subsequently found three separate areas inside where the fire started and a petroleum-type container, Linn said.

The family – with children – who live there are on their way to the residence now, Linn said.

The single-wide sits in a mobile home park on Forest Lane, off Forest-Napavine Road, according to Linn.

A fire investigator and sheriff’s detectives are examining the scene, he said.

Crews from Fire Districts in Winlock and rural Chehalis assisted, and they managed to save about 80 percent of the home, he said.

Linn said it appeared at least one pet perished, a hamster-type animal.

Convicted Lewis County murderer died from heart problem and/or plastic bag over head

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Law enforcement concluded their investigation into the prison death of a former Lewis County man deciding it was a suicide.

Daniel W. Johnson, 54, was found dead in his cell with a plastic bag over his head at Stafford Creek Corrections Center near Aberdeen in July.

Johnson began his prison sentence in 1993, convicted of murder after a man and a woman were found stabbed to death in a home on Elk Creek Road near Doty. The victims were the resident, Paul Pilz, and his friend Eleanor Warden.

The Grays Harbor County coroner concluded the manner of death was undetermined, finding possible asphyxia and an irregular heartbeat, but the sheriff’s office said today they found several reasons to label it suicide.

Johnson had no defensive wounds, and according to his parents had mental issues and had tried to commit suicide before, Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Office detective Sgt. Steven Shumate said.

“It’s a combination of a number of things, we’re very confident it’s a suicide and not a homicide,” Shumate said.

When Johnson was found by his cell mate the morning of July 27, he also had a cord around his neck, but no ligature marks from it, Shumate said.

Shumate said detectives learned Johnson rarely left his cell, and had collected some plastic bags even though the prison had stopped using them some time ago. It was a thin bag that was not secured around his neck, Shumate said.

Correspondence between Johnson and a relative of one of his victims also were looked at, Shumate said.

Johnson was serving a 27-year sentence following the December 1991 deaths in West Lewis County.

Johnson, then 34, had just been released from psychiatric treatment days earlier, and had a five-year psychiatric history, according to court documents.

Coroner Dan Burns said there was nothing to indicate homicide, but the cause of death was arrhythmia – even  though there was no disease that would explain it – and a significant condition was the asphyxiation due to the plastic bag.


Read previous story from Saturday July 30, 2011, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011


• A 67-year-old Tenino man escaped serious injuries when he swerved to miss either a possum or a cat and rolled his car on the bridge at the 1200 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia last night. Aid and police called about 11:35 p.m. found the Mitsubishi Mirage on its top but the driver had only minor injuries, according to Centralia police. He didn’t hit the animal and was not cited, police said.


• Centralia police were called twice yesterday to vehicle prowls in which somebody broke out a side window to get inside. From the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue a purse was stolen and about two hours later a report was taken about a radar detector missing from a vehicle on the 1800 block of Harrison Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning to the 1400 block of Southwest Kelly Avenue where someone had spray painted the word “druggy” on a car during the night, with purple paint.


• Somebody damaged a Red Cross van on the 1800 block of South Market Boulevard in Chehalis apparently trying to siphon gas from it, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

Read about homicide investigation in Elbe …

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An Elbe-area man was arrested overnight after he reportedly walked into a fire station and said he fatally shot another man on his property and hid the body, according to The (Tacoma) News Tribune.

Reporter Stacey Mulick writes detectives believe the victim is the suspect’s daughter’s boyfriend.

Read Mulick’s news item, here

Read about murder charge for Centralia mother of baby boy …

Monday, September 26th, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports the Centralia mother of the 4-month-old  who died on Saturday has been charged with second-degree murder, with aggravating circumstances.

Rachel Bryan, 20, was arrested last week and her baby taken to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma with head injuries.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes that four days before the infant was hurt, Child Protective Services began investigating if she was a fit mother.

Read Pawloski’s story here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, September 26th, 2011


• A 42-year-old Rochester man was arrested for second-degree assault after he allegedly picked a 10-year-old girl up by the neck – causing her to black out – and put her outside in the rain yesterday morning in Centralia. Christopher L. Dodson was babysitting her and other children on the 1100 block of Scammon Creek Road, according to the Centralia Police Department. Centralia Officer John Panco said the children were apparently being too loud and the girl argued about having to go outdoors. Panco said she fell limp to the ground, but regained consciousness and went back inside. A neighbor saw part of it and called police, he said. She was taken to the hospital to be checked but is doing okay, Panco said. Dodson was booked into the Lewis County Jail.


• A 22-year-old Centralia woman was hospitalized after being hit by a car this morning on the 1200 block of Mellen Street near Borthwick Street. Police were called just before 6:40 a.m. to the accident involving a 37-year-old male driver from Centralia. The victim complained of head, neck and shoulder injuries which police described as minor and the fire department described as necessitating care by a paramedic instead of an EMT. She was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital. A police department spokesperson had no information on details of what happened or if the driver was cited.


• A deputy was called Sunday to the golf course on Newaukum Golf Drive in Chehalis where someone overnight had stolen a golf cart from the pro shop. It was found submerged in a pond on the grounds, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A deputy took a report yesterday from the 100 block of Meadowbrook Lane in Randle of the theft of 70 to 80 hydrochodone tablets. A potential suspect has been identified as a friend of a relative who had visited, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Centralia police were called just after noontime yesterday to a report of  burglary on the 700 block of Yew Street. A number of items including jewelry and DVs had been stolen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police were called at 9 a.m. on Saturday to the 1100 block of Elm Street in Centralia about an attempted burglary. An alarm may have scared the intruder away as a sliding glass door was found open and several items were found stacked outside the home, according to police.

• A 1992 Buick LaSabre was reported stolen from the 4900 block of state Route 6 on Friday, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported today. The victim said it was in her driveway about 10 p.m. on Thursday. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said the keys had been left on the floorboard and the car doesn’t lock. The car has a license plate of 030 TIZ.

• A bank bag containing an undisclosed amount of cash was reported stolen from an unlocked car on the 300 block of North Washington Avenue in Centralia yesterday morning.

• Chehalis police were called about 5:40 p.m. yesterday to the 600 block of Northwest State Avenue where someone was seen trying to break out the window of a vehicle. A 17-year-old Centralia boy was subsequently arrested for attempted vehicle prowl, according to police.

• A $600 metal detector as taken from a Salkum man’s truck parked at the Tacoma City Light parking lot on the 100 block of Beach Road at Mayfield Lake sometime between 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Saturday while its owner was fishing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• A deputy took a report on Sunday of vandalism to a gate belonging to Port Blakely Tree Farms on the 900 block of Falls Road southeast of Glenoma. The damage is estimated at $2,000,  according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

• Chehalis police were called about 11 p.m. on Friday to Southwest Gails Avenue to a report someone had just thrown a can of paint onto a car parked in a driveway. The victim was able to wash it off and had removed most of it by the time an officer arrived, according to police.


• Centralia police are investigating a report from a young woman in her early 20s who on Saturday told police she had passed out the night before at a party on the 3000 block of Russell Road and woke up with no clothes on. She didn’t remember much as she had been drinking, according to Centralia police.