Archive for March, 2013

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, March 8th, 2013


• Chehalis police were called to a home on Southwest Lewis Street about 3:30 p.m. yesterday where a woman said someone broke in to her house and stole a fur coat, silver coins and a silver serving platter. There were no signs of forced entry and officers are still looking into it, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• A deputy was called about 12:30 a.m. today to the 600 block of Lucas Creek Road east of Chehalis after the discovery numerous power tools were missing from a carport. The victim found civil-type paperwork attached to the door but it isn’t known if that is related, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The theft of two Stihl chainsaws, two Stihl grass cutters, a Makita saw and associated items occurred sometime after 4:30 a.m. yesterday, detective Sgt. Dusty Breen said. The loss is estimated at $1,680, Breen said.


• Police were called about 6:20 p.m. yesterday to the 500 block of Hillkress Street in Centralia where someone had stolen a washer and dryer from a vacant home. The subject broke a pipe causing water damage to the residence, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Police were called about 8:30 a.m. yesterday regarding  burglary to a shed on the 1300 block of Crescent Avenue in Centralia.

• Centralia police took a report late yesterday afternoon of an unspecified amount of money missing from the 100 block of Virginia Drive.


• A 25-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of heroin after contact with police about 9:15 p.m. at the 1100 block of Scammon Creek Road in Centralia. Levi S. Ramirez was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Firefighters responded to reports of smoke off Kresky Avenue in Chehalis yesterday morning where they found a homeless person had built a cooking fire beneath a small bridge to heat a can of food. He put it out and was told no campfires were allowed there, according to the Chehalis Fire Department.

News brief: Red flags regarding latest scams from new state attorney general

Friday, March 8th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Has anyone you know told of receiving a call telling them a beloved relative is jailed and desperately needs bail money, or that they’ve gotten an email notifying them they’ve won a foreign lottery?

Today’s scammers prey upon people’s desires for love, money or good luck with clever schemes in which only the fraudster wins, and a new web page from the state Attorney General’s Office dedicated to educating the public about their latest strategies can be found here.

The site highlights nine common scams and offers ways consumers can protect themselves, according to a recent news release from new Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office.

News brief: Rochester teen remains in serious condition following wreck

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Pickup truck at 19100 block of Old Highway 99 near Nutmeg Street. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The 19-year-old Rochester man rescued yesterday from beneath his wrecked truck in Grand Mound is listed in serious condition this morning.

Brett A. Tardif was traveling northbound on Old Highway 99 when his Ford pickup left the roadway, struck a power pole and rolled over, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Arriving firefighters found him pinned under the pickup.

He was picked up by a helicopter at South Sound Speedway and flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

A hospital spokesperson this morning said he is currently in the intensive care unit.


For background, see “Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup – WRECK IN GRAND MOUND INJURES ONE” from Thursday March 7, 2013, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Updated at 4:18 p.m.


• Centralia’s former cemetery sexton John C. Baker was arrested last night after he allegedly grabbed the arm and head of a woman at his house and threatened to snap her neck for trying to use her phone to record a conversation with him. Sgt. Carl Buster said the 42-year-old woman, who also lives at the home on the 1900 block of Johnson Road, was filling out an application and had a math question for Baker. For whatever reason, she whipped out her cell phone and she was recording this, according to Buster. The woman, who is described in the police report as his employee, hid in a bedroom and called 911, Buster said. Baker, 69, was arrested for fourth-degree assault and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Chehalis police are investigating a check cashed at a bank on the 200 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue for more than $4,000 on the account of a Florida resident whose identity had been stolen. Checks supposedly from the same man’s account were also written in Wenatchee and Gainsville, Florida, according to detective Sgt. Gary Wilson.


• A 23-year-old Toledo woman was arrested and jailed yesterday morning for allegedly taking a golf club a car belonging to a housemate, breaking out the windshield, and three other windows. The damage to the 1997 Oldsmobile is listed at $1,200, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The woman was arrested for second-degree malicious mischief after the approximately 10 a.m. call to the 100 block of Conifer Lane. She has been released without charges pending further investigation.


• Chehalis police called to a dispute about 9:25 p.m. Tuesday night at a downtown bar ended up arresting two people; one for allegedly driving away drunk and his girlfriend for allegedly trying to grab her car keys from an officer when she learned the vehicle was going to be towed. She was too intoxicated to have taken the vehicle, according to police. Genise L. Morgan, 39, of Rochester, was arrested for obstruction and then given a ride home, Sgt. Gary Wilson said. Christopher B. Mellon, 39, of Chehalis, was arrested for DUI, Wilson said.


• Centralia police were called to Lakeside Industries yesterday morning at the 2000 block of Johnson Road where someone had broken into and ransacked a small storage building. Missing were vehicle keys and a black felt pen, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• One thousand feet of copper wire, a cutting torch and a steam cleaner were stolen from the 3500 block of Harrison Avenue outside Centralia in a burglary sometime after Feb. 25 and before yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• Deborah Sue Knapp and her lawyer were in court today to notify a judge they have a plea agreement in principle, in connection with charges she stole thousands of dollars from the Lewis County Historical Museum while she was its executive director. Knapp was arrested in December 2011 after the discovery the institution’s endowment fund of more than $460,000 was drained and a police investigation was conducted. She will return to Lewis County Superior Court next Wednesday at 3:30 p.m., scheduled for a change of plea, according to Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead. The now-53-year-old was hired in July 2006 and was paid a salary of $43,000 a year.


• A 19-year-old Rochester man was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle this morning after a single-vehicle collision in which he was ejected and his pickup truck landed on him. Troopers and aid were called about 9:30 a.m. to Old Highway 99 just east of Interstate 5 near Nutmeg Street. The 1985 Ford pickup had struck a power pole and rolled over, according to the Washington State Patrol. The pole was splintered like a matchstick and hanging over the heads of crews who used their tools to extricate the driver, West Thurston Regional Fire Authority Chief Robert Scott said. The patient had fairly severe injuries but no visible trauma, according to Scott. Brett A. Tardif was described as in stable condition this afternoon by a spokesperson for the state patrol. The cause of the crash is under investigation but Trooper Guy Gill indicated speed was a factor and Tardif had not been wearing a seatbelt.

Dead toddler’s mother to be criminally charged

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The mother of Koralynn Fister was informed yesterday she would be charged with a crime, following the court hearing for her former live-in boyfriend that led to his lengthy prison term in the death of the toddler.

James M. Reeder, 26, went before a Lewis County Superior Court judge yesterday morning where he was given a sentence of at least 37 and a half years and up to life for the rape, assault  and death of 2-year-old Koralynn last May at her Centralia home.

Becky Heupel was warned Reeder was an abuser and chose to put her relationship with him first, Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said.

Meyer said Heupel wasn’t arrested, but informed she would be summonsed by mail to court to face a charge of second-degree criminal mistreatment. It’s a class C felony.

He, two of his deputy prosecutors and a law enforcement officer met with her after the 10:30 a.m. hearing, he said.

Meyer said the decision to charge Huepel wasn’t made until after Reeder pleaded guilty to the crimes in January.

Prosecutors wanted to make sure she was available as a witness in Reeder’s case, he said. Had she been charged and then called to testify against him, she could have invoked her fifth amendment right not to make statements that might incriminate her, according to Meyer.

The prosecutor said he also understands she is a grieving mother, and wanted to wait until she had a chance to make any statements yesterday at Reeder’s sentencing.

Prosecutors said yesterday Reeder moved into the household about 10 weeks before the child’s death, that the couple had not been together very long.

Meyer said she wasn’t warned Reeder was specifically a child abuser, but that they came to their conclusions after looking at all the evidence and talking with people.

“We believe she knew of the risk and chose to ignore it,” Meyer said this morning. “And obviously her inaction had tragic consequences.”

At the time of Koralynn’s highly publicized death, the state Department of Social and Health Services Children’s Administration issued a statement saying they had no record of history involving the child, nor any previous allegations of abuse or neglect against the mother, Heupel or her boyfriend.

However, Heupel’s 4-year-old daughter was taken out of the home as a protective measure, police said at the time.

Meyer said he doesn’t believe the Heupel has gotten the child back.

Koralynn’s father, David Fister, has described Heupel as always a loving mom, who would jump through hoops to do anything for her girls and never laid a finger on them.

For background, read “Centralia man gets maximum prison term for sexual abuse, death of toddler” from Wednesday March 6, 2013 at 12:10 p.m., here

••• posted raw video of a jail interview with James Reeder. Watch it here

Centralia man gets maximum prison term for sexual abuse, death of toddler

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

James Maurice Reeder enters a packed Chehalis courtroom to be sentenced for the death of 2-year-old Koralynn Fister.

Updated at 1:56 p.m. and 4:22 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – James M. Reeder was given 37 and a half years to life in prison this morning for the rape and death of his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter last year at her Centralia home.

The 26-year-old Centralia resident made no statements to the judge before the sentence was handed down.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler gave Reeder the maximum allowed, given the the charges Reeder was convicted of pursuant to a plea agreement. While Reeder had pleaded guilty, he did so without admitting any wrongdoing.

The judge said he would have given more time if he could.

“I didn’t hear, but I can imagine, her screams and her cries as she was tortured by you,” Lawler said. “I wish I wasn’t limited by the statute, I wish I wasn’t limited by these charges.”


Koralynn Fister

Reeder kept his head turned downward and his slightly hunched back to the benches filled with family members, police detectives and others.

Koralynn Fister died last May in Centralia. Reeder claimed he stepped away to get a towel while giving her a bath and returned to find her face down in the tub.

The little girl died from drowning and four severe blows to her head, prosecutors said today. Authorities arrested Reeder that night after evidence of sexual assault was discovered.

Defense attorney David Arcuri noted that advocacy was of very little value at this stage, but asked for “tempered justice” and a sentence with a minimum of 28 years.

He noted the plea deal included trade offs, with a benefit to the state in that it avoided a protracted trial and the secondary impacts upon responders who dealt with the little girl.

Koralynn’s mother Becky Heupel sat next to her daughter’s father in the front row behind prosecutors.

In a statement read to the court for her, Heupel spoke of how she felt betrayed by her then live-in boyfriend pretending to help her with her child.

“You made me doubt my own sanity by your evil act,” Heupel wrote. “I pray that God gives you whatever he feels you deserve.”

Another victim’s advocate read a statement from Koralynn’s father, David Fister.

Fister said nothing short of life in prison would suffice, calling Reeder a coward who preyed upon the weak.

“Koralynn meant everything to me and my family,” the advocate read.

The case began on the afternoon of May 24 when Reeder carried the naked and unbreathing child to neighbors across the street from her house off of West Oakview Avenue asking them to call 911 while he attempted CPR.

The mother and her 4-year-old daughter had left the home about three hours earlier.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told the court today the toddler’s body temperature was roughly 85 degrees, that she was dead. Information from the investigation would lead a reasonable person to believe an extended period of time had passed, Halstead said.

Evidence indicated she was penetrated by some object both in front and behind that day and another time previously, according to Halstead.

Her rectum was ruptured and her body had injuries such as bruises including on her hands, missing toenails and her bottom was basically raw down to the muscle, consistent with rubbing over time, he said.

Reeder had explanations such as the dog jumping on her toes, the child running around barefoot and also said that she would slide down the gate to her bedroom, Halstead said.

The defendant had moved into the household about 10 weeks earlier and soon began isolating the toddler; suggesting he would take care of the 2-year-old and the mother could take care of her older daughter, Halstead told the judge.

“He’d change her diapers and give her baths, so nobody else really knew what was happening to Koralynn during this time frame,” he said.

Reeder pleaded guilty in January, after a deal was struck, to homicide by abuse, second-degree assault, two counts of first-degree rape of a child and possession of methamphetamine. He made a so-called Alford plea in which he acknowledged a jury hearing the evidence would likely convict him, but admitted no guilt.

The unemployed former floor installer subsequently attempted to withdraw his plea, but the judge denied his request.

Prosecutors today recommended the high end of the standard sentencing range for each of the offenses, to run concurrently.

Halstead asked for, and the judge agreed to, 450 months which is 37 and a half years, for the homicide by abuse.

The sentence for the rape conviction is for an indeterminate length of time with a maximum of life. A board, like the former parole board, will be responsible for deciding when and if he gets released after he’s served the minimum number of years.

Homicide by abuse is described by prosecutors as repeated assaults or torture that ends in the death of a child. It has the same maximum penalty, life in prison, and the same standard sentencing range as first-degree murder, according to Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.

Halstead noted Reeder didn’t cooperate with the pre-sentencing review conducted by the state Department of Corrections.

Reeder has no felony criminal history.

Judge Lawler noted, but didn’t read aloud, letters from Reeder’s sister, mother and grandmother, saying he accepts the person sitting before him is not the person they know.

Lawler told Reeder, after reciting graphic excerpts from charging documents, he should be thankful for the deal his attorney managed to get him, with the dismissal of so-called aggravators such as the victim being especially vulnerable.

Lawler said he agreed a jury would have likely found him guilty.

“Had those aggravating factors been found, I would have imposed a sentence that would have been probably 100 years,” he said.


Family and others listen as James Reeder is sentenced for child rape, homicide by abuse, assault and possession of methamphetamine.


For background, see selected previous news stories:

• “Update: Centralia police investigating death of toddler, arrest one” from Thursday May 24, 2012, here

• “Centralia toddler death: Sibling taken into protective custody” from Friday May 25, 2012, here

• “Breaking news: Mother’s boyfriend held for investigation of rape, murder of Centralia child” from Friday May 25, 2012, here

• “Mother’s boyfriend now faces drug, rape and homicide charges in death of toddler” from Tuesday May 29, 2012, here

• “Father of Centralia toddler who died speaks out” from Saturday June 2, 2012, here

• “Mental evaluation: Suspect in death, rape of Centralia toddler found competent for trial” from Tuesday July 10, 2012, here

• “Koralynn Fister: Attorneys to argue over evidence prior to homicide by abuse trial” from Thursday December 13, 2012, here

• “Defendant in Koralynn Fister death pleads guilty” from Wednesday January 9, 2013, here


Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013


• James Reeder, the 26-year-old Centralia resident who pleaded guilty to multiple offenses in connection with last year’s death of his girlfriend’s toddler,  Koralynn Fister, is scheduled to go before a judge this morning to be sentenced to prison. Reeder was convicted in January of homicide by abuse, second-degree assault, two counts of first-degree rape of a child and possession of methamphetamine. He made a so-called Alford plea in which he acknowledged a jury hearing the evidence would likely find him guilty, but acknowledged no wrongdoing.


• A man called Centralia police yesterday morning to report someone used his credit card to purchase three laptop computers at the Best Buy store in Federal Way. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Police arrested a 42-year-old Centralia woman for driving under the influence after she lost control of her car and struck the guide wire to a utility pole at Galvin and Eshom roads at about 8:20 p.m. yesterday. Laura K. Harrison was reportedly not injured and was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• An 18-year-old Centralia driver was arrested after he “whipped to the side of the road” without signaling as a patrol car approached from behind and his passenger jumped out of the moving vehicle yesterday afternoon. The officer suspected the driver, Tyler D. Wright, was under the influence of drugs, during the approximately 4:20 p.m. traffic stop on the 600 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, and Wright admitted using marijuana and methamphetamine, Sgt. Stacy Denham said. Wright was subjected to a blood test and then booked into the Lewis County Jail for driving under the influence, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Police were called just before 1 a.m. where unknown subject broke windshields of two vehicles at the 600 block of Alder Street in Centralia and then fled the area.

• Centralia police now say the teenagers detained for a graffiti spree aren’t gang members at all, just artists. Edgar Ramirez-Dado, 18, and his 15-year-old companion were caught Sunday night with paint on their hands after an officer found wet spray paint on a vacant building on South Tower Avenue. Police said they were suspected in at least 20 instances of tagging. Ramirez-Dado was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree malicious mischief but released the following day without charges, pending further investigation. Sgt. Stacy Denham said he, and two 15-year-olds, were believed to be leaving their monikers on buildings for “artistic purposes”. Their reason for the vandalism doesn’t prevent criminal charges, but police were still tallying up the damage to help prosecutors decide what degree of crime might be charged, according to Denham.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Updated at 8:14 p.m.


• A 35-year-old man was jailed last night for trespass after he, reportedly high on meth, went to his cousin’s Onalaska property waving around a burning torch saying the flame was from heaven and he needed to deliver it to their grandmother. The grandmother is dead, according to the 30-year-old woman from the 200 block of Burchett Road who called 911, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. Lance J. Myhre was found around 10:30 p.m. on timber property in the area owned by his father and arrested for second-degree trespassing, according to the sheriff’s office. Myhre is from Onalaska but currently homeless, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Police arrested a 27-year-old man this morning at a Centralia residence on Johnson Road who was wanted for an incident two weeks ago in which he allegedly went into his ex-girlfriend’s home – who had a no contact order against him – roughed her up and held her against her will all night long. He also allegedly took her cell phone when he left on Feb. 20, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers recognized Manuel Arceo-Garcia when they went to another Johnson Road residence this morning on an another matter and took him into custody, Sgt. Stacy Denham said. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree robbery (regarding the phone) and unlawful imprisonment, Denham said.


• A Centralia resident in his 20s reported to police yesterday he lost his wallet and discovered someone used his debit card to purchase DVDs or similar items, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 42-year-old man from Algona notified Centralia police yesterday morning someone used his credit card at the 1200 block of Mellen Street.


• The 37-year-old man wanted in Lewis and Cowlitz counties who was found cold, tired and too weary to walk out of the woods near Kelso last week has been charged with using another man’s identity to rack up more than $14,000 in spending at three businesses in Chehalis. Charles R. Reece was picked up by Cowlitz County deputies late at night a week ago Monday after a resident reported hearing someone hollering for help, according to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office. He said his name was Jonathan Benson, but deputies concluded by his tattoos he was Reece, according to authorities. The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office on Friday filed charges including nine counts of forgery, identity theft and theft against Reece, in connection with allegedly using the name of Gregory Gaertner to get get credit – and then spending thousands of dollars – in January at Home Depot, Sears and Chehalis Rentals, according to charging documents. He was treated for minor injuries from being lost in the woods and then booked into jail for his outstanding warrants, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Centralia police are looking for a 27-year-old homeless man they say stole shoes from the Nike store at the 100 block of West High Street yesterday. Sgt. Stacy Denham said Christopher D. Buck is wanted for a burglary as well.

• Gym bag containing identification and cell phone was stolen while a female was working out at the the 2000 block of Borst Avenue, according to a report made to the Centralia Police Department about 4:40 p.m. yesterday.

• Police were called about 9:45 a.m. yesterday to the 200 block of Railroad Avenue in Centralia to take a report of a stolen large chain and binder from a “lowboy” utility trailer.


• The gold wedding band reported missing from one of the Lewis County coroner’s deceased individuals in January turned out not to be stolen at all, just somewhat lost. The county sent a check last week to reimburse the wife of the man who was wearing the ring when he was brought to the Chehalis facility for a planned autopsy, according to Paulette Young, who handles claims against the county. The ring was not returned to her, so she filed a report with police. The man’s hands were never “unbagged” so the ring went with him when he was cremated, Young said today.


• And, as usual, calls such as report of a bike stolen in Centralia, a bike found in Chehalis, misdemeanor vandalism, responding to an accidental trip of an alarm, questions about vehicles parked where they shouldn’t be, fender benders and complaints about children – playing in the road, on the roof of a car, and shooting a pellet gun …

News brief: One convicted, but case of Chehalis bar fight with two women, brass knuckles and knife may not be over

Monday, March 4th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Whether the victim of a stabbing who allegedly initiated a fight using brass knuckles last month outside a Chehalis bar will face criminal charges for her role remains to be seen.

Ashley Stewart, 22, suffered numerous knife wounds at the hands of now-24-year-old Lena A. Castillo.

Castillo pleaded guilty last week in Lewis County Superior Court to second-degree assault, following a deal in which prosecutors said she had a self defense claim. She was sentenced to six months in jail.

Prosecutors said Stewart started the short brawl, approaching Castillo and striking her twice outside Garbe’s bar on Northwest Chehalis Avenue. She admitted she used a pair of brass knuckles, Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead said when Castillo was sentenced.

Brass knuckles are illegal to possess.

Halstead said possession is a misdemeanor but assault with a dangerous weapon could be second-degree assault as well.

Prosecutors are looking into it, Halstead said.

“Now that that case is over, we just have to look at other angles,” he said.

Chehalis police called it mutual combat after they were called on Jan. 12 to the scene and arrested Castillo.

Authorities said the disagreement was related to a male the Centralia women both previously had a relationship with.

For background, read “No trial for Chehalis bar fight that included knife, brass knuckles, two women” from Wednesday February 27, 2013, here

News brief: Trial for Lewis County museum embezzlement case may be unnecessary

Monday, March 4th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Instead of a trial as expected this week for the former director of the Lewis County Historical Museum arrested after the discovery the endowment fund of more than $460,000 was drained, attorneys are attempting to work out a plea deal.

“We’re hoping we can resolve it by Thursday,” Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead said today.

Deborah Sue Knapp, 53, was charged with multiple counts of first-degree theft in December 2011.

Prosecutors alleged Knapp routinely issued herself extra pay through payroll draws and used the museum debit card for personal expenses.

She is scheduled to appear before a judge on Thursday when attorneys plan to either have a deal in place, or schedule a new trial date, Halstead said.

Knapp has pleaded not guilty and is free on an unsecured bond.


For background, see “Prosecutor: Former museum director gave herself thousands of dollars in fraudulent payroll draws” from Friday December 30, 2011, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, March 4th, 2013


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said this morning the accidental gunshot wound in Vader on Friday as a 53-year-old man was attempting to remove a slide from his handgun occurred because the Ruger 40 caliber pistol was improperly assembled. The father had the muzzle in his left hand and the slide and barrel would not come off, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The bullet went through his hand and flying pieces of bone or wood struck his 12-year-old son, leaving the boy with minor injuries to his arm and abdomen, Brown said. The father was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with what the sheriff’s office said on Friday were not life threatening injuries.


• Chehalis police were called about 9:30 p.m. on Saturday regarding a tan colored Yukon SUV that disappeared from the the park and ride lot on West Main Street sometime after about 9 a.m. It has a license plate reading 938 ZZZ, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• Chehalis police were called about 1 a.m. on Saturday when a caller said as many as 10 people were fighting outside Garbe’s Bar on the 300 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue. When the officer arrived, there was no fight going on and nobody was arrested, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• Chehalis police were notified about 6:30 a.m. today of an alleged assault at Green Hill School. The victim decided they did not want police to pursue it, according to police.


• Police took a report yesterday afternoon regarding the theft of an unspecified amount of money at the 1300 block of View Avenue in which a family member is a suspect, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police took a report of the theft of what was described as a small amount of money yesterday from the 1000 block of Eckerson Road in Centralia.

• Centralia police were called about 7:30 p.m. yesterday when a business on the 800 block of Harrison Avenue found a counterfeit $20 bill while counting their till.


• Snacks and a radio were missing after a vehicle prowl on the 500 block of Woodland Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 6:30 p.m. yesterday.

• Chehalis police were called on Sunday morning by an individual who said while he was inside Sunbird Shopping Center on North National Avenue for about a half an hour, someone got into his vehicle and made off with binoculars, rolled quarters, small tools and other items.


• A 17-year-old driver was reportedly uninjured when he ran off the road, rolled his vehicle and collided with a tree on Friday morning west of Winlock. A deputy called about 9:45 a.m. to milepost 8.3 on King Road cited the Chehalis teen for speeds too fast, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

News brief: Centralia taggers caught red (and black) handed

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Updated at 3:07 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police caught a pair of teenagers overnight believed to responsible for a spree of leaving gang-style graffiti on well over 20 businesses and other buildings around town.

An officer passing by a vacant building on South Tower Avenue saw spray painting that hadn’t been there just a few minutes prior, Sgt. Stacy Denham said. The paint was wet, he said.

Two males from Centralia, an 18-year-old and a 15-year-old, were subsequently located and detained.

Denham said they had paint on their hands, red, black and he believed also gold.

Edgar Ramirez-Dado was arrested for second-degree malicious mischief and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. However, later today he was released without charges pending further investigation.

The case involving his juvenile companion was referred to prosecutors for charging.

Police say there is a third suspect, known to them, still outstanding. The investigation is continuing today, Denham, said.

A little more than a week ago, police arrested two other young men for allegedly spray painting over existing gang graffiti, one of whom said he did it because he hates gangs, because they give the city a bad name.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013


• A 20-year-old man called Centralia police on Friday night to say he was robbed, that someone assaulted him and stole $140 from him. When it was all said and done, it turned out he wasn’t assaulted but apparently did lose $10 to a person he was trying to buy marijuana from according to police. Exactly what happened and where wasn’t clear since the victim wasn’t being truthful, according to Sgt. Stacy Denham. He couldn’t remember the name of the seller, so that person probably won’t be pursued, Denham said.


• Police were called about 2 p.m. yesterday when the back door of a home on the 900 block of Woodland Avenue in Centralia was found kicked in. Nothing appeared to have been taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police took a report yesterday evening that someone entered a vacant residence on the 500 block of Hunt Street and stole two drills, sometime during the previous month.


• Someone stole a black utility trailer from the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 9 a.m. yesterday.


• Centralia police took a report about scrap ice machine stolen from behind a business on the 700 block of North Tower Avenue on Friday afternoon.


• Someone stole a backpack containing a laptop computer and clothing from the 100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 8 p.m. on Friday.


• Centralia police were called about 11:30 a.m. yesterday to the 300 block of West Pine Street where a vehicle had been tagged with spray paint. There is a suspect who lives out of town, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Someone painted a yellow swastika onto a vacant building on the 300 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

News brief: Mass cash and drugs seized in Centralia

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Courtesy photo by Centralia Police Department

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia police seized pounds of methamphetamine and bundles of cash yesterday morning when they made two traffic stops around 9:40 a.m., one in town and the other north of Centralia on Old Highway 99 in south Thurston County.

Two local men were arrested.

Members of the Centralia Police Department Anti Crime team were working with drug detectives from the Tacoma area, according to Officer John Panco.

Both vehicles were impounded.

In the door panels of a silver Toyota FJ Cruiser, police found more than $110,000 in currency, according to Panco. In the Ford Explorer, a plastic bag containing numerous pounds of meth was discovered, Panco said.

Arrested were Ascencion Ortega Garcia, 34 of Centralia, and Venacio Bastian Tolentino, 37 of Rochester, according to the Centralia Police Department. Both are citizens of Mexico, according to Panco.

The arrests grew out of an ongoing investigation, according to police.

Panco said he understood the men were booked into the Thurston County Jail.

Panco said police are not releasing any more details at this time.


Courtesy photo by Centralia Police Department

Breaking news: Gunshot injury in south Lewis County

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Updated at 1:19 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 53-year-old man is being airlifted after a gunshot accident during target practice with his 12-year-old son near Vader.

Deputies were called shortly after 12:30 p.m. to the 200 block of Telegraph Road.

“They had some sort of problem with the gun and were trying to fix it when the man was shot in the hand,” Cmdr. Steve Aust said. “It was a ‘through and through’.”

The boy was standing nearby when it happened and got some scrapes, possibly from getting hit with bone fragments from his father, Aust said.

Aust said the hand injury itself is not life threatening, but there were concerns about the amount of blood loss.

Just two days ago, a 40-year-old man accidentally fired a 9 mm bullet through his hand and into his wife’s thigh outside a shopping center in Chehalis.

Police said the Rochester resident had just purchased a new holster and was putting his gun inside it in the parking lot at Sunbird Shopping Center.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Updated at 6:50 p.m.


• A 34-year-old Centralia woman was jailed after police served a search warrant yesterday at her home on the 400 block of South Silver Street. According to Centralia police, they found a stolen laptop computer and methamphetamine. Maria E. Zuniga was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Police arrested a 50-year-old Centralia man for vehicle prowl and a warrant following contact with him about 5:45 p.m. yesterday at the 100 block of West Street in Centralia. Alan R. Moody was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 23-year-old man arrested overnight for stealing a car in Chehalis told police he’d just gotten out of prison for vehicle theft, according to police. Officers saw a car go into a parking lot at Ace Hardware on the 700 block of South Market Boulevard around 2:15 a.m., at about the same time they learned the 1991 Mazda 626 had been stolen from the 1500 block of National Avenue, according to the Chehalis Police Department. They contacted a man walking away and arrested him. Kevin C. Huey, of Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Officer Linda Bailey.


• A deputy took a report yesterday of a burglary at the 500 block of Winlock-Vader Road in which several pieces of antique jewelry were stolen as well as a Honda 2000-watt generator. The theft occurred during the daytime on Monday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is estimated at $2,300, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Pain medications were reported stolen yesterday from the 900 block of South Schueber Road, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called just before 4 p.m. yesterday by an individual who said her pain meds were stolen, although she wasn’t certain where from. The case is being referred for further investigation.


• Centralia police were called about 4:15 p.m. yesterday to the 200 block of Tilley Road where an individual said they learned from their bank that two other people are using their social security number. The matter is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Chehalis police were called late yesterday afternoon about a FedEx package believed to have been delivered that morning to Northeast Boistfort Street that was gone by the time the expected recipient got home.


• A trombone accidentally left at the train station in Centralia was nowhere to be found when its owner returned yesterday afternoon to check, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Morton police say they are investigating if any items are missing after a call last week about someone possibly rummaging through open hangers at the airport.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a man in his 40s for boating under the influence after he and his passenger were retrieved from Mayfield Lake this afternoon. A deputy responding just after 3 p.m. to a call about an overturned boat learned that a passersby helped rescue the pair in the area of Ike Kinswa park, according to the sheriff’s office. Timothy L. Smith, the boat’s operator who is from Renton, said his 44-year-old passenger was on the bow of the boat urinating and when he moved, it shook the boat so much he tumbled into the water, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. Then Smith tried to pull him out, flipping the craft, Brown said. Both were hospitalized for hypothermia or possible hypothermia, according to the sheriff’s office.


• An employee at K-Mart in Chehalis contacted police about 7:20 p.m. yesterday to let them know they’d gotten a phone call from a woman who said she forgotten her 3-year-old child at the store earlier. A search of the premises didn’t turn up any unattended children, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Further details were not readily available.


• Chehalis police responded to a complaint about 12:20 a.m. today that three males were sitting at the bus stop on North Market Boulevard with drinks in their hands and were spitting and peeing everywhere. No arrests were made.


• A Rochester man was one of two people injured when his car was rear ended by a motor home and shoved into a semi truck on southbound Interstate 5 yesterday near Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Troopers called about 1:25 p.m. to the scene reported Jason L. Miller, 33, of Rochester, was driving a Chevrolet Cavalier that was impounded when he was transported to St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood. He was treated and has been released, according to a hospital spokesperson. The cause of the collision remains under investigation, according to the Washington  State Patrol.