Archive for September, 2014

A thank you breakfast with firefighters

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Centralia firefighters are showing their gratitude for the recent passage of their levy by cooking breakfast for the public on Saturday.

Pancakes, eggs and sausage will be on the house for members of their community, paid for by International Association of Firefighters Local 451 and the Riverside Firefighters Association.

Heading up the kitchen crew will be Lee Coumbs, board of commissioners member.

“The reason is just to say thank you,” Riverside Fire Authority Firefighter and union president Rick LeBoeuf said. “Thank you for voting for the levy, thank you for supporting us.”

The fire department that protects more than 180 square miles in and around Centralia last month asked citizens to consider a new maintenance and operations levy, to supplement a steeply declining budget. The department had already seen a nearly 30 percent loss in response forces this year, and the levy money was meant to stabilize personnel and services at the current level.

It passed with just over 65 percent of voters saying yes.

The open house and community appreciation breakfast begins at 7:30 a.m. and runs until 11:30 a.m. It will be held at Riverside’s headquarter’s station at 1818 Harrison Avenue in Centralia.

Tours of the station will include opportunities for children to board the fire trucks and ambulances, according to LeBoeuf.

They’ve combined the event with an opportunity to help those who are working to reopen the Pearl Street Veterans Memorial Pool.

Fire Chief Mike Kytta says being supporters of people having a safe place to swim, they’ve invited individuals from the pool to be on hand to answer questions and accept donations toward its restoration.

What: Open house and community appreciation breakfast
When: Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014
Time: 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.
Where: 1818 Harrison Avenue, Centralia
Cost: Free, but donations will be accepted on behalf of Save The Outdoor Pool

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014


• Chehalis police were called about 11 a.m. yesterday to another shed burglary, this one on the 700 block of Southwest Cascade Avenue. Sometime during the night someone got inside the unlocked structure and left with drills, speaker, an amplifier and other items, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Someone shattered the glass front doors to a vacant convenience store on the 3300 block of Jackson Highway outside Chehalis, according to a report made yesterday to the Lewis County Sheriff’s office. The damage is estimated at $1,000.

• A deputy was called yesterday to the 100 block of Carter Lane outside Chehalis where someone had kicked in the entry door to a shop building. Nothing was missing, but the damage is about $200, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning that a 1997 Nissan pickup was stolen from the 200 block of Mandy Road near Toledo sometime on Saturday or Sunday. The 54-year-old owner described the vehicle as white with blue stripes and worth about $2,500, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A pickup truck belonging to the county and stolen from the the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds last month turned up yesterday abandoned on the 100 block of August Road in Cinebar. The Chevrolet S10 with a broken out back window was valued at $500, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• Police were called to Olympic Elementary School in Chehalis yesterday after a teacher was notified a fourth grader had been showing around a possible marijuana pipe. That’s what it turned out to be and the item was confiscated, according to the Chehalis Police Department. There was nothing to indicate the child had used it; he said a ninth grader gave it to him, detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said. It’s unlikely any criminal offense would be pursued, because of the boy’s young age, according to Wilson.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license; responses for dispute, protection order violation, suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets, misdemeanor theft such as mountain bikes stolen from a front porch  … and more.


CORRECTION: This post has been updated to reflect the correct grade school where Chehalis police were called about a student with a pipe.

Read about wanted woman sought near Morton found in Lakewood …

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Tacoma) News Tribune reports the 31-year-old woman accused of trying to run down one Fife police officer and then shooting at another was ordered held yesterday on $5 million bail.


Yolanda Lund

Yolanda Lund, reportedly pregnant and shot by police during the incident, had been been sought by law enforcement since Aug. 11, a search that nine days later led to a home on the 800 block of Davis Lake Road in Morton. About a half dozen officers and deputies went to the residence that afternoon but did not find Lund or her suspected accomplice.

Q13 reported Lund was arrested Friday in Lakewood and hospitalized for treatment of a gunshot wound to her chest.

News Tribune reporter Adam Lynn writes Lund is charged with two counts of first-degree assault, drive-by shooting and attempting to elude police and that not guilty pleas were entered on her behalf.

Read more here

News brief: Ritchie Brothers hit by rogue demo derby

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

The aftermath at Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers. / Courtesy photo by Lewis County Sheriff’s Office

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

It appears as though someone snuck onto the Winlock area property of the world’s largest auctioneer of heavy equipment and held an unsanctioned demolition derby with four large trucks over the weekend.

The break-in was reported yesterday to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, who estimate more than $15,000 in damage to three of four 2010 International Cargo trucks.

Unknown suspects entered into the fenced yard and drove the trucks around the gravel lot, leaving them with side impact damage, according to the sheriff’s office.

“These are big yellow Penske rental trucks have been turned over to Ritchie Brothers,” Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

A bucket truck on the premises also sustained broken windows, possibly from a rock, according to Brown.

Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers is on the west side of Interstate 5 on the 200 block of Ritchie Lane.

The incident is believed to have occurred sometime after 10:15 a.m. on Saturday and before 9 a.m. yesterday.

One injured in Grand Mound house fire

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

The attached garage is consumed by flames, while the rest of the home is heavily damaged inside. / Courtesy photo by West Thurston Regional Fire Authority

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Firefighters called about a garage fire with an explosion in Grand Mound last night arrived to find a single-family home heavily involved in flames and a fallen power line arcing in the front yard.

“We just had to work around it, spraying water from a distance,” West Thurston Regional Fire Authority Chief Robert Scott said.

The one-story house is a total loss, Scott said.

Crews responding just after 9 p.m. to the scene at the 20900 block of Billie Mills Street Southwest, just east of Old 99, learned one male occupant with a burn injury had already gone or been taken to the hospital, according to Scott.

He was treated at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Scott said this morning, but no other details were yet available.

A total of 20 firefighters from five department battled the blaze defensively, according to Scott.

Numerous explosions from the garage area were found to be from propane tanks, cans of gasoline, large fireworks and small firearms, he said.

Nobody else was injured.

Scott said he wasn’t sure about how many people lived at the home, as he didn’t speak with them, an investigator did. The cause is not yet known, he said.

News brief: County to end outdoor burning restrictions

Monday, September 29th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Beginning at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow, the outdoor burning restrictions for areas in unincorporated Lewis County will be lifted.

The Lewis County Board of Commissioners put a burn ban in place on July 12 out of concern about wildfire danger with hot and dry conditions, allowing only for recreational fires in approved receptacles or campfire sites.

The board has authority over areas in Lewis County that are outside any city limits and not part of any state or federal lands.

“After careful review, of the current and extended weather forecast, the Lewis County community development director, acting as the fire marshal, has determined that current weather conditions within Lewis County no longer pose a substantial fire threat,” Director Lee Napier’s office stated in a news release this morning.

The state Department of Natural Resources last week rescinded its statewide burn ban on all on DNR-protected forestlands.

For further information concerning outdoor burning, Napier can be contacted at (360) 740-1146.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, September 29th, 2014

Updated at 3:41 p.m.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a burglary to a home for sale north of Winlock in which the intruder is believed to hung around and watched television as well as feeding the victim’s cat but made off with an antique tea set, a brown curtain and a table cloth. The owner, a 56-year-old Olympia man, reported on Friday that the break-in at the 100 block of Quary Lane happened sometime between Sept. 19 and last Wednesday, according to the sheriff’s office. It appeared entry was made though a bathroom window, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The loss is estimated at $260, according to Brown.


• A 21-year-old Centralia man was arrested after a wheelchair was stolen from a front porch on the 1200 block of Alder Street. Centralia police took the report yesterday. Derrek J. Larson was subsequently arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for allegedly selling the wheelchair and also for possession of methamphetamine, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports this morning that someone stole about $2,000 worth of guitars, amplifiers, speakers and other musical equipment in a residential burglary at the 100 block of Schoonover Road outside Mossyrock on Friday night. The victims are two men in their early 20s, and deputies have in a mind a person of interest, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Police were called about noon on Saturday to the 500 block of North Market Boulevard in Chehalis where money and half gallon bottles of liquor were missing from beneath the bar belonging to the American Legion group. The case is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports this morning they are referring for evaluation of charges a case in which a 23-year-old homeless man allegedly stole numerous items from a garage on the 100 block of Sheridan Street in Centralia between Sept. 15 and last Wednesday. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said deputies believe he took the skill saw, engine stand, paintball gun and tools to his sister’s house and the property was turned over to Centralia police. Still missing is a miter saw, according to Brown.


• Centralia police were called to the 200 block of North Buckner Street on Friday afternoon about an electronic tablet missing after a friend stayed at the house.

• Chehalis police were called about 9:30 a.m. on Friday to the 300 block of South Market Boulevard where a gas can was stolen from a maintenance shed.

• Morton police were called about 6:20 p.m. on Saturday to the 500 block of Main Avenue where someone broke into a shed and stole a child’s car seat.


• A green 1995 Honda Accord left about 6 o’clock on Saturday morning at the park and ride lot on the 800 block of West Main Street in Chehalis was reported missing about 2 p.m. the same day. It has a license plate of ADN 4763, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A blue and white 199 Suzuki ATV was stolen sometime on Saturday or Sunday from an open shed on property on the 100 block of Rogers Road west of Toledo, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The value of the quad is $700, according to the sheriff’s office.


• A car was found with its door and trunk open at the Lewis County Mall about 11 a.m. Sunday. Nothing was missing, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Centralia police were called just after 1 p.m. on Saturday to the 600 block of South Cedar Street regarding a vehicle prowl in which a briefcase and flashlight were stolen.

• Someone stole a backpack from a vehicle parked at the 100 block of High Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police around 1:30 p.m. on Friday.


• Centralia police report a 22-year-old man with an outstanding warrant was tracked down by a police dog and found hiding in a home on Saturday afternoon. The approximately 4:10 p.m. incident in connection with a location at Mellen and Marsh streets ended with Raymond C. Rhodes booked into the Lewis County Jail for burglary and his warrant, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Tires were slashed, the vehicle was scratched with something sharp and someone painted graffiti on an outside wall at the 200 block of Jastad Drive in Morton, according to a report made to police on Saturday.


• Chehalis police were called on Saturday by an individual on North National Avenue who said they received a phone call asking them for money to prevent their power from getting shut off because their electric bill was overdue. It appeared to be a scam, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• Deputies are looking for a 31-year-old Randle man who reportedly texted his ex-girlfriend on Friday night and told her to look out her front window where he was going to kill himself. He also told her not to let his children watch, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies dispatched to the area on the 9500 block of U.S. Highway 12 just before 10 p.m. did not find him and are still looking, according to the sheriff’s office. Meanwhile, the sheriff’s office is referring the case to prosecutors for a violation of a protection order, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• An Adna couple was awakened by their fire alarm about 1:45 a.m. today, when a Cadet-type wall heater caught fire and filled an upstairs room with smoke. “Dad put it out with a fire extinguisher and she got everyone out,” Lewis County Fire District 6 Firefighter-Paramedic Matt McCoy said. Crews called to the home on the 100 block of Frogner Road found the parents and the two children were fine; firefighters used a thermal imaging camera to confirm all the fire was out, McCoy said. The damage was contained to the wall unit, he said.


• Chehalis police were called to the 1900 block of Snively Avenue about 5:15 p.m. on Saturday to take a report a vehicle had struck a house. There was damage to an exterior brick facade and into the drywall, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Evidence suggested someone had been driving recklessly, police said. Nobody was injured.

• A motorcyclist ended up with a broken leg after he lost control at the 1200 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia and struck a large rock and then the side of a house yesterday evening. Police called about 6:15 p.m. report the man was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, obstructing, trespassing, shoplifting, disorderly conduct, making a false statement, misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, dispute, suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets, wrecks on county roads; complaint of someone shooting arrows into some else’s yard, loud neighbor music, barking neighbor dog  … and more.

Chehalis defense lawyer will work to keep state marijuana regulators out of hot water

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Criminal defendants will find a new advocate by their side next week when they first appear before a judge.

Chehalis attorney Bob Schroeter has for the past six and half years worked for Lewis County as public defender for the day, representing individuals charged in Lewis County Superior Court and Lewis County District Court at their first hearing.

Last week, he informed county commissioners he’s taken a new job in Olympia, and recommended a replacement.

“You’ve got Bob and Jonathan Meyer both giving you glowing endorsements,” Lewis County Commissioner Bill Schulte told Joely O’Rourke when she was introduced to the board of commissioners.

O’Rourke, a deputy prosecutor for the county for a little over five years handling sex cases, worked in law enforcement for five years before that as a special agent for Naval Criminal Investigative Service, NCIS.

As a civilian, she worked counter-terrorism and also sex crimes she said.

She resigned her position on Sept. 19, planning to continue as a lawyer, but as a sole practitioner.

“I had probably got worn out with the sex cases,” O’Rourke said of much of the reason behind her move.

Schroeter’s contract with the county called for 60 days notice. O’Rourke will fill in for him until mid-November. She said she plans to apply for the position.

The job, which included public defender oversight, paid $8,000 per month. Schroeter’s last day is Tuesday.

He has taken a position with the Washington State Liquor Control Board as manger of public disclosure and risk management. He’ll be responsible to look at ways of doing business to avoid liability, he said.

It will be particularly interesting, in light of the agency’s new role of oversight of marijuana businesses, Schroeter said.

Fired sheriff’s deputy claims wrongful termination, again

Friday, September 26th, 2014

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A former Lewis County sheriff’s deputy has filed a claim against the county alleging wrongful termination, discrimination, fraud, perjury, abuse of power and corruption among other issues including negligence and malpractice by his lawyer.

Douglas D. Lackey was fired in July 2007.

It’s not clear how much he is asking for monetarily, because that and almost all the other spaces in the standard tort claim form he submitted were left blank. Instead, he attached a five-page memo that mentions whistle-blower violations, mental and economic duress and states that he has lost track of the amount of damages the sheriff’s office has caused him.

“What amazes me is how successful they’ve been with lying and manipulating the courts,” Lackey writes. “The sheriff’s office, in my opinion, stole $360,000 from the taxpayers to defend this matter, predicated from the start on deceit.”

Lackey, 46 years old with a Vancouver, Wash. address, states in his memo he possesses documents to prove his case, records he says his attorney never produced to refute claims by the sheriff’s office administration.

He contends the administration lied repeatedly during his unemployment appeal hearing, during mediation and during arbitration.

Lewis County RIsk Manager Paulette Young said she has 60 days to either accept, deny or ignore the claim.

It was filed Sept. 15 and has been forwarded to Washington Counties Risk Pool for review, Young said earlier this week.

In his memo, Lackey describes his diagnosis of post traumatic stress syndrome after he was involved in an officer-involved shooting in March 2003 and states the diagnosis was ignored his superiors.

Following a high speed chase from Salkum to Onalaska, when the driver backed out of a ditch toward Lackey in an attempt to hit him, Lackey fired at him, striking him once in the upper left arm. The man survived.

Lackey’s memo describes a former best friend and supervisor from another law enforcement agency as harassing him endlessly after the incident and repeatedly characterizing the two as both “Natural Born Killers” since they were among the few in law enforcement to ever shoot someone.

He said he told the man it was causing him further stress and difficulty in dealing with the effects of his shooting.

Lackey states he reported the unwanted harassment to his supervisor because he didn’t know what else to do and didn’t want to be branded a rat, but was only advised to talk with a fellow deputy who’d also shot someone on the job.

The other deputy said the suggestion was ludicrous and told him he should seek counseling, Lackey wrote.

Lackey’s memo tells of repetitive nightmares, migraines, inability to sleep, starting to drink heavily, and how his continued complaints about the harassment were ignored and undocumented by his superiors.

“My agency repeatedly ignored my cry for help in dealing with him,” Lackey wrote.

The former deputy wrote about falling behind in his caseload, and of feeling haunted by a case involving torture and murder of two little boys, which he was pulled off of.

A document included with Lackey’s memo indicates the grounds for his termination were untruthfulness, though it doesn’t offer any detail.

Lackey appealed his firing to the Lewis County Civil Service Commission, a case that ended with an undisclosed agreement between the two sides in 2008.

In the spring of 2008, detectives with the Shelton Police Department reviewed Lackey’s files at the sheriff’s office before he was hired at a new job with them. But then after then-Prosecutor Michael Golden forwarded a Brady letter to the Mason County Prosecutor’s Office, Lackey was terminated from the new job.

The following year he filed a lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court alleging the sheriff’s office breached its 2008 agreement with him.

Lackey indicates he believed the sheriff’s office agreed to delete any references of his untruthfulness from his personnel records, but in 2011, an arbitrator sided with the sheriff’s office, stating they only agreed to leave it out of his termination letter.

Lackey’s complaints about his private attorney aren’t anything the county is responsible for, according to Young. And the rest, Young suspects won’t see any action from her office.

The 60-day deadline will likely pass without the county neither accepting or denying Lackey’s claim, she said.

“We believe he’s already argued the claim in binding arbitration,” Young said.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, September 26th, 2014

Updated at 5:26 p.m.


• Centralia police were called to Rite Aid yesterday morning where an 84-year-old man had said he was sending money to someone so he could collect his winnings in the Oregon lottery. Officer Patty Finch said the Centralia resident was out $3,000. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 54-year-old Rochester man was arrested during the lunch hour yesterday after he was detained for reportedly throwing fruit and vegetables at the windows of Centralia City Hall on West Maple Street. Officer Patty Finch said she understood he had a box of tomatoes, eggs and flowers. Roy A. Dever was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree malicious mischief, according to police. Finch said he didn’t ‘t give an explanation, but said he hated police because they are killers and rapists.


• Centralia police took a report of a burglary at the 1300 block of Crescent Street yesterday in which a laptop computer and a tablet were taken. The case is under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A tablet was reported stolen yesterday from the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia.


• A 24-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for a warrant and possession of heroin after contact with an officer just after 2 o’clock this morning at Tower Avenue and Main Street in Centralia. Ryan L. Knutz was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• If the person who lost a decent amount of cash in Chehalis can tell police the specific amount and where they lost it, they can get it back. A woman found the money on the ground in the street and brought it to the Chehalis Police Department yesterday.


• Firefighters were called about 7:30 p.m. yesterday to an apartment complex on the 300 block of Southwest Third Street in Chehalis where folks could smell something burning in a unit where nobody answered the door. They forced the door open and found what had been a pot of corn on the cob boiling on the stove, according to Chehalis Fire Department. Nobody was home and it was very nearly turned to popcorn, Capt. Ted McCarty said. Firefighters removed the scorched pot from the stove and opened the windows, McCarty said.


Northwest Chehalis Avenue was shut down for about an hour yesterday afternoon when a truck snagged a wire, snapping off the top of a utility pole. Wires were pulled down and hanging dangerously low to the street, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. Nobody was hurt.


• A pedestrian in his 40s suffered minor injuries when he was struck by a van at Harrison and First Avenue in Centralia yesterday afternoon. It was a fairly low-speed incident, but the patient was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to Riverside Fire Authority.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, trespassing, misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, misdemeanor  theft, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, little dog with green coat on running through the streets … and more.

Deputy and suspect fought through tangle of Taser wires

Friday, September 26th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The homeless man whose campfire is believed to have ignited a small brush fire in Onalaska earlier this month remains held in the Lewis County Jail as his lawyer seeks out a psychologist to evaluate him.

Luke U. Hall, 32, was the subject of a manhunt for several hours after the morning-time incident on Sept. 5 near Middle Fork Road and Centralia-Alpha Road.

He allegedly stepped out from behind his camping area and pointed a pretend handgun at the land owner who arrived after learning his property was on fire.

And when a sheriff’s detective caught up with shaggy-haired suspect walking along Leonard Road and deployed his Taser, Hall reportedly pulled the detective to the ground and began punching him in the face.

As Hall and detective Dan Riordan fought and wrestled on the ground, both were getting shocked by the stun gun because the wires had wrapped around their heads, according to prosecutors.

“Once they both were standing, the defendant ripped detective Riordan’s exterior bullet resistant vest off and continued to strike him,” Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer wrote in charging documents.

Riordan was able to pull Hall’s jacket up over Hall’s head and gain some distance from him until help arrived, according to Meyer.

This isn’t a typical third-degree assault, with someone spitting on an officer, Meyer said.

“But for other deputies showing up, Mr. Hall may not be with us any longer,” Meyer said.

Hall has an extensive assaultive history, including three prior convictions for third-degree assault, according to the prosecutor’s office. He was only released from custody in June.

Two years ago, he was arrested after neighbors called for help, saying the he was trying to crash his Jeep into their house after yelling at them for hours. His mother at the time told authorities he shouldn’t be released without treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues, according to court documents.

Defense attorney Bob Schroeter told a judge Hall has significant physical and mental health issues.

Hall’s court-appointed attorney Jacob Clark yesterday said he needs to have an expert evaluate his client, to determine if he was delusional at the time of the events earlier this month.

Clark and Hall appeared before a judge yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court for a review hearing, and will return next Thursday for another.

Hall was arrested the afternoon of Sept. 5 for reckless burning, felony harassment, third-degree assault, resisting arrest and trespassing. Prosecutors then filed charges instead for second-degree arson, felony harassment and third-degree assault.

The fire burned an area of about 40 feet by 40 feet on property previously logged and then replanted with young trees.

Prosecutor Meyer said the information in the affidavit of probable cause that supported the arson charge was that Hall was seen in the area of where the fire started. The remains of a tent were found at the scene.

Hall has pleaded not guilty. His bail is set at $50,000. His trial is currently scheduled for the week of Oct. 27.

Human remains found on TransAlta property belong to Spanaway teen

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Updated at 2:15 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The skeletal remains found earlier this year off Little Hanaford Road outside Centralia have been identified as an 18-year-old Spanaway man reported missing more than two years ago.

A DNA match was confirmed yesterday, using family reference samples of Christopher D. Virdell, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Virdell was reported missing by family members in February 2012 to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, according to the sheriff’s office.


Christopher D. Virdell

Pierce County has had an ongoing investigation into the young man’s disappearance and is now working closely with Lewis County detectives to determine what led to his death, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said in a news release.

Brown declined to speak about Virdell’s cause of death, saying Pierce County is the lead in the investigation.

The partial remains were found the evening of Feb. 28 by a resident in the area out walking his dog. The sheriff’s office said at the time they believed they had been dumped there.

The (Tacoma) News Tribune reports Pierce County detectives believe Virdell was killed and have interviewed more than 100 people in the case but have not released a motive.

According to Crime Stoppers of Tacoma and Pierce County, Virdell was last seen at 10 a.m. on February 9th, 2012, as he left a friend’s residence on 223rd Street East in Spanaway to catch a bus to work. He was reported missing later that night after he failed to show up to work or home.

The property near the 2800 block of Little Hanaford Road is wooded, close to the roadway, and owned by Trans Alta, according to the sheriff’s office.

The remains were sent to King County to be examined by a forensic pathologist who has expertise with skeletal human remains. The identification through DNA was made by the University of North Texas Center for Human Identification and reported to detectives yesterday.

Further dental testing will be conducted, but it is strongly believed the remains are those of Virdell, Brown indicated.

The news prompted a conversation at the sheriff’s office about another unsolved case, the still unidentified remains of a female found near Morton in the spring of 2011.

A motorist who pulled off U.S. Highway 12 to take a break spotted the remains off the side of a logging road on April 7. The sheriff’s office has said they suspect foul play, but they still don’t know who the victim is.

Dental records and DNA have been entered into databases with no matches found. An examination by the specialist at the King County Medical Examiner’s Office could not determine the cause of death.

The woman is believed to have been between 20 and 35 years old when she died, small in stature and possibly of mixed ethnicity.

“We’ve done everything we can,” Brown said. “We’re still hoping someone will step forward to report their loved one missing.”


For background, read “Breaking news: Human remains found on TransAlta property” from Saturday March 1, 2014, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Updated at 3:21 p.m.


• Centralia police are investigating an incident last night in which someone tried to start a fire in a downtown building containing numerous upstairs apartment. Officers called about 8 p.m. to the 300 block of North Tower Avenue learned a resident heard a smoke alarm going off but said at first she ignored it because it occurs frequently from people cooking, according to the Centralia Police Department. However, when she finally went into the hallway, she saw a smokey haze and discovered a piece of paper burning inside an open light switch box, Sgt. Carl Buster said. She removed it and put it out, Buster said.


• Centralia police were called about 9:20 a.m. yesterday to a report of the theft of a black bag containing medications from the 200 block of Railroad Avenue.


• A backpack containing an HP laptop computer was reported stolen from a vehicle parked at the 1100 block of Woodland Avenue in Centralia yesterday. The victim reported about 10:15 a.m. a window had been smashed out in the vehicle.


• A 45-year-old Centralia man who left to cool off following a dispute yesterday reportedly then punched a dent into the side of a new truck at Main and Iron streets in Centralia yesterday morning. James C. Weatherford was cited for third-degree malicious mischief and then released, according to the Centralia Police Department. The damage is estimated at $500, police say.


• A 48-year-old patient was arrested last night for two counts of third-degree assault after he allegedly took swings at medics who tried to prevent him from getting out of a moving ambulance. Darren L. Fullerton was intoxicated and began unstrapping himself, saying he had to urinate as the vehicle was northbound on Interstate 5 near Mellen Street, according to the Centralia Police Department. They pulled over and officers responded to the approximately 11:40 p.m. call, according to police. He was being taken to Providence Centralia Hospital after he was found sleeping on the ground at the entrance to the Airport Depot in Chehalis, police said. Fullerton was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Centralia police.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports the 22-year-old man arrested on Tuesday for an alleged sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl is now facing potential charges involving a second 15-year-old. Michael A. Ryan Jr. was booked into jail for three counts of third-degree rape of a child for instances occurring between August and December of last year, the sheriff’s office reported yesterday. This morning, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said detectives are referring information on the new case to prosecutors for evaluation of charges of two more counts of the same offense, occurring between August and October. The second girl also considered it a dating relationship, Brown said.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, obstructing, misdemeanor assault; responses for alarm, shoplifting, suspicious circumstances, report of child molestation that turned out to be unfounded … and more.

Police: Morton woman punches neighbor, steals toys

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 48-year-old Morton woman was arrested for robbery after a confrontation when she was caught allegedly stealing toys from a neighbor’s front yard, but not before a low-speed pursuit involving three law enforcement agencies that ended with her car in a ditch.

Deputies called about 9:50 a.m. to the 700 block of Davis Lake Road were told Julie A. Erickson pulled into her neighbor’s driveway and began loading the items into her vehicle, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

When the woman who lives there and her friend asked Erickson what she was doing and pulled a tricycle from the trunk, Erickson allegedly shoved one of them and punched the other in the face, according to the sheriff’s office.

Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said Erickson tried slapping her several times before the woman could get away

Brown said Erickson then got into her car and drove off with a wagon and unspecified other children’s toys.

Law enforcement spotted her vehicle fairly quickly but Erickson wouldn’t pull over, continuing for several miles along state Route 508, Brown states in a news release.

A spike strip set up at Cinebar Road punctured one of her tires, but Erickson continued to drive on its rim until finally stopping in a ditch near Centralia-Alpha Road, according to Brown.

Brown states Erickson spoke nonsensically and had no explanation for her behavior or the theft.  They don’t believe alcohol was a factor, according to Brown.

Erickson was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree robbery and attempting to elude.