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Elderly man loses Randle home to fiery blaze

Thursday, January 3, 2013 at 12:49 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 95-year-old Randle man’s home was consumed by fire yesterday, but he got out safely.

Lewis County Fire District 14 was called about 4:30 p.m. to the 100 block of Kiona Road and joined by crews from Glenoma and an engine from  Packwood, according to Fire Chief Jeff Jaques.

The owner and his daughter-in-law were home when it started but escaped without injury. His son and daughter-in-law live there with him, Jaques said.

The single-wide mobile home which had been added on to was a total loss, according to the chief.

“It was fully involved when we go there,” Jaques said. “There was nothing in the house that wasn’t burning when we got on scene.”

The cause is under investigation.

The trio have family and friends in the area to stay with, although they were also put in touch with Red Cross, he said.

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News brief: Judge to decide about B Street murder defendant’s claim of insanity

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 8:15 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Centralia resident Weston G. Miller pleaded not guilty to murder three weeks ago and now he’d like to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

Miller, 30, is being held in the March shooting death of his house guest, 43-year-old David Wayne Carson.


David Wayne Carson

A hearing has been scheduled so a judge can hear from experts on both sides about Miller’s mental state at the time of Carson’s death.

It is on the court calendar for Jan. 28.

The former welder told police he acted in self-defense, but prosecutors say it was unprovoked attack when Miller shot Carson twice in the chest area inside Miller’s house on B Street.

An early court filing by Miller’s attorney indicated he would be relying upon a defense of insanity / diminished capacity. His lawyer, J.P. Enbody, has not detailed what his client’s issues are.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said today he won’t discuss the issues, at least until the upcoming hearing.

Miller was only just arraigned last month because of a question whether he was competent to stand trial. A hearing was set for a judge to decide, but then lawyers suddenly agreed Miller was competent.

Meagher said the judge will hear from experts on both sides and can either find Miller not guilty by reason of insanity or decide it is a decision for a jury to make.

His trial is currently scheduled for next month.

For background, read “B Street homicide: Defendant says self defense” from Wednesday March 14, 2012, here

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Prosecutor Meyer recovering from surgery, illness

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 6:56 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer has been sick, spending 13 days in the hospital during four separate stays since October.


Jonathan Meyer, Lewis County Prosecutor

He was in the office today and says he anticipates being back full time next week.

Meyer, 41, said only that he has had “intestinal issues.”

He said he has not been in the office on a daily basis, but hasn’t stopped working.

“We’ve had manager’s meetings in my hospital room and they would come over to my house,” he said.

And he’s had his iPad with him, he said today.

The elected prosecutor is just now starting the third year of a four-year term. Unlike some previous prosecutors, Meyer fairly regularly handles criminal cases himself.

He is prosecuting Ricky Riffe, the former Lewis County resident brought back here from his home in Alaska this summer to face murder, kidnapping and robbery charges in the 1985 double slaying of Ed and Wilhelmina Maurin, an elderly Ethel couple. Riffe’s trial is scheduled for May.

Meyer said he had an infection in October and surgery last month.

He’s working his way back to eating solid foods. His illness has caused him to drop 85 pounds, he said.

“I have to get my strength back,” he said.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 12:44 pm


• Three teenage boys were arrested after they got caught attempting to blow up a urinal at a public restroom on the 2000 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia early on New Year’s Eve. Police think it was some sort of firework. The youngsters, ages 16 and 17, were booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center for malicious mischief; two of them also for having marijuana on them, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Centralia police were called on Monday afternoon about a windshield damaged when several children threw snowballs at a vehicle driving along the 1800 block of Harrison Avenue.

• Lewis County sheriff’s deputies spent several hours after Monday morning’s surprise snow fall responding to five single-vehicle collisions. All resulted in major vehicle damage, three were roll overs and one included a complaint of injury by an 80-year-old female passenger who hit her head, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Police were called about 6:40 p.m. yesterday when two motorists stopped for a toddler who looked to be about 1-year-old crossing the street alone at South Market and First Street in Chehalis. An arriving officer found the parents there and learned someone had left a door open at the church, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• A deputy took a report of a break-in to a garage on the 5500 block of Jackson Highway near Toledo in which a 20-gallon propane tank, a propane torch attachment and other items were stolen. It was reported on Monday morning, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• A deputy was called yesterday by a woman who said someone broke into her deceased father’s home on the 800 block of E Street in Vader. She could not tell if anything was missing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• A blue Plymouth Voyager outfitted with a so-called ignition interlock device was reported stolen from the 1400 block of Johnson Road in Centralia about 12:20 a.m. yesterday. The vehicle vanished sometime during the previous two days, according to the Centralia Police Department. Interlocks are devices sometimes installed on the vehicles of those arrested for driving under the influence which require a clean breath sample before the vehicle will start.


• Chehalis police were called about 3:40 p.m. yesterday after a woman at the Midway Cinema at the Lewis County Mall discovered the passenger window on her vehicle shattered and her purse missing from inside. Also taken were two suitcases, according to police.

• Police took a report of a car prowl about 12:25 a.m. yesterday at the 1800 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia. Missing were a tool set, a iPod and GPS device, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A traffic stop about 5:15 p.m. yesterday led to the arrest of a 24-year-old Winlock man for possession of heroin. The deputy discovered Daniel T. Shawgo was driving with a suspended license and a search turned up three syringes, one of which was filled with a dark liquid when a vehicle was pulled over on Kerron Avenue in Winlock, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Shawgo was booked into the Lewis County Jail as was his passenger who was wanted on a warrant for failing to appear in court, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• Police went into extra emergency response after a 911 call in which a young girl observed a child hollering no, no, no and being put into a silver mini van in Vader. It happened just before 12:30 p.m. on Monday and it wasn’t long before an officer caught up with the van and determined the 5-year-old girl was with her own mother. Winlock Police Chief Terry Williams said the mom didn’t recall the yelling and the little girl said she didn’t want to put her gloves on. Williams thought the girl who reported it to her parent did a pretty good job, estimating from a block away the apparent abductee was about 4 years old.


• Four New Year’s DUI arrests for Centralia police, the final one about 7:20 a.m. yesterday after a 23-year-old motorist reportedly ran into a utility pole and a light pole on the 1600 block of Cooks Hill Road knocking them both down. Daniel C. Lopez, of Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police spent the last day of 2012 responding to calls such as a misdemeanor assault, one barking dog, one shoplifter at Wal-Mart, two stolen bicycles, three vehicles off the roadways, drivers squirreling around the parking lot at W.F. West High School,  and at least one too-loud party that spilled into the 2 a.m. hour.

HELLO 2013

• Arrests: Warrant, warrant, suspended license times two, another warrant. That’s most of how Centralia Police Department patrol officers spent the first day of the year yesterday. Early in the day, an attempted traffic stop on West Plum Street led to … nothing really. About 11 a.m., an officer apparently identified the driver who fled. The 30-year-old homeless man will be issued a summons to come to court where he will face charges of driving with a suspended license and reckless driving, according to police. Attention Michael S. Cabe, call Centralia police to find out when you’re supposed to be in court, unless you have a post office box where you can watch for their mailing.


State Route 508 on Monday afternoon. / Courtesy photo by Jennifer Mau

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Read about missing Morton man possibly spotted near White Pass …

Tuesday, January 1, 2013 at 6:11 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Yakima Herald-Republic reports missing Morton resident Lawrence W. Thorsteinson could be in the White Pass area.

The newspaper says a search and rescue dog tracked the 76-year-old east along U.S. Highway 12 and it appears he may have gotten into a vehicle.

Thorsteinson, who takes medication for dementia, was reported missing about 9:30 p.m. on Friday from the assisted living facility where he makes his home.

Morton Police Chief Dan Mortensen asks anyone who sees Thorsteinson to please call 911.

Read more here

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News brief: On the lookout for drunken drivers

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 6:55 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Watch out for that rookie trooper.

He graduated from the Washington State Patrol Academy, got sworn in at the capitol building in Olympia and then headed to his new assignment in Chehalis where on his very first traffic stop, he arrested a man for driving under the influence.

The 37-year-old Lacey motorist said he was headed to the post office in Tumwater, but Trooper Evan Clark found him weaving southbound on Interstate 5 near the 13th Street interchange in Chehalis, according to Trooper Will Finn.

The arrestee said he drank a beer before leaving home, according to Finn.

Trooper Clark earned the praise of Lt. Ken Garrison for the Dec. 17 traffic stop who indicated getting drunken drivers off the roadways is the state patrol’s number one concern.

“We couldn’t be more proud of Trooper Clark,” Garrison said in a prepared statement. “Impaired driving is a leading factor in Washington traffic deaths.

Clark, who comes from Vancouver, is one of four newly commissioned troopers who began working in Chehalis earlier this month.

The graduation ceremony was actually on a Friday, and the DUI arrest came the following Monday after the new troopers met with their commanders in Vancouver and then headed out on patrol.

The four are among 37 cadets who were part of the 100th graduating trooper basic class.

Also new to the Chehalis detachment are:

• Jessica L. Dizon, from Olympia

• Aleksandr V. Ignatov,  from Vancouver

• Blake A. Willson, from Chehalis

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News brief: Unwanted firearms disposal offered by Thurston County

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 1:20 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Got an old gun laying around you’d like to get rid of?

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office will take it off your hands, if you like.

Their first ever public event to give citizens the opportunity to dispose of unwanted firearms or ammunition is set for next month.

While they won’t pay you for it, they will have free gun locks to give away. And their SWAT and dive teams will put some of their equipment on display.

It happens on Jan. 19, a Saturday, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the McLane Fire Department at 125 Delphi Road NW, Olympia.

Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin says the gun givers can choose if their donated weapon gets traded for ammunition for deputies to use in training or gets destroyed.

“If you want it ground up, we’ll do that,” Elwin said.

If it’s traded, it will go to a vendor who will resell it, he said.

Also on hand the same day will be a collection bin for unwanted or old prescription drugs as well as a child identification program provided by Olympia-Thurston County Crime Stoppers.

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News brief: Auditor gives thumbs up to Fire District 16

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 12:15 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An audit issued today for the Doty area fire department reported their internal controls are adequate to safeguard public assets.

Lewis County Fire District 16 took in $17,434 in revenue during 2011, primarily through property taxes, to support its operations, according to the Washington State Auditors Office.

The report dated Dec. 20 covers the two years ending on Dec. 31, 2011.

The auditor also notes that in the areas it examined, the district complied with state laws and its own policies.

The volunteer department is governed by an elected three member board of commissioners.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, December 31, 2012 at 11:06 am


• Centralia police were called about 6:40 p.m. yesterday to a burglary at an apartment attached to a business on the 1400 block of South Gold Street. Jewelry and camera equipment were missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A dresser drawer and its contents were stolen in a burglary on the 200 block of Bevin Lake Road in Packwood, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning. The 70-year-old victim called 911 on Friday to report someone had broken a door to get into his home sometime during the previous two days, according to the sheriff’s office.


• A 1994 Honda Accord reported missing on Saturday from the 100 block of Washington Avenue in Centralia was found yesterday afternoon abandoned in a field near Fair Street and Kresky Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department. It had a flat tire and its stereo was missing, according to police.

• A stolen red Honda Civic was recovered on Friday afternoon on the 900 block of South Schueber Road in Centralia.


• Three children’s bicycles were reported stolen yesterday from the 1100 block of Scammon Creek Road in Centralia.


• Police were called on Saturday afternoon to the 2700 block of Mount Vista Road in Centralia regarding a vehicle prowl that had occurred several days earlier.


• Centralia police took a report yesterday afternoon of graffiti painted onto a building on the 1200 block of North Schueber Road in Centralia.


• A 17-year-old girl was arrested about 9:30 p.m. on Saturday for driving under the influence of marijuana as well as possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to the Centralia Police Department. It happened on the 900 block of Harrison Avenue. Other suspected but unspecified drugs were discovered in the vehicle, according to police.


• An 18-year-old Chehalis resident and his passenger were reportedly uninjured when he lost control of his vehicle and rolled it onto its top overnight on Pleasant Valley Road west of Chehalis. A deputy called just after midnight to milepost 7 issued a citation for wheels off the roadway, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


It’s snowing this morning.

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The year in review: What topped the local “sirens” news

Sunday, December 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter


The year 2012 began with a 49-year-old Rochester woman being treated for serious injuries following a New Year’s Eve wreck on Brooklyn Road southwest of Oakville that fatally injured three of her companions.

Colleen L. Stuart was in the intensive care unit at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle while deputies investigated the single-vehicle collision that killed her boyfriend Gregory D. Martin, 52, of Rochester, as well as Travis W. Bennett, 26, and Jessica L. Brick, 22, both of Centralia.

Stuart died less than 11 months later after her truck ran into off the road into a fence on Old Highway 99 near Tenino.



Matz building

An early morning fire on Valentines Day ravaged the Dr. Matz building in downtown Centralia displacing the residents of 12 upstairs apartments, Centralia Perk, an antique store, a tattoo shop, a barber shop, a hair salon and Curious Betty’s clothing boutique.

Linda Hamilton, owner of the oldest masonry structure in town, credited Jacob Dow for saving lives by pounding on doors to wake up the occupants. The fire marshal said a plausible possible cause was a candle burning on a desk inside Curious Betty’s, but the structure had to be demolished before a fire investigation was completed.


Twenty-five-year-old Joshua Vance was jailed for fatally attacking his father with a knife while he was asleep in bed in their Onalaska home.

Terry Vance, 58, was popular baseball coach. His son suffered from psychotic disorder and was said by his grandmother to have gone off his medication for a few days while his doctors were changing his prescription.

Joshua Vance was sentenced in October to 30 years in prison for first-degree murder.

Less than a week after Terry Vance’s death, Centralia police were investigating a homicide.

Weston G. Miller, a 29-year-old former welder, allegedly shot a houseguest twice, fleeing his B Street home while 43-year-old David Wayne Carson was dying.

Carson, who grew up in Centralia, had previously worked at Hardel Plywood and before that took care of expensive show dogs in California.

Miller has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and remains in jail awaiting a trial which is set for February.

Centralia City Council member and pastor of a downtown church Bill Bates was charged criminally for fatally shooting his neighbor’s cat with a pellet rifle, saying he was tired of the animal walking on his clean cars and messing in his beauty bark.

A deal was made so the 60-year-old – who said he was surprised the pet died as when he used the rifle on a possum in his yard, he had to shoot it three times to kill it – could keep his record clean if he paid restitution and refrained from shooting animals for six months.


After a trial that stretched over nearly two weeks, former Pe Ell High School softball coach Todd Phelps was convicted of third-degree rape involving a 16-year-old team member.

The attorney for the 52-year-old log truck driver painted a picture of a coach who became close to the girl because he was worried she was cutting on herself and might commit suicide. The prosecution told jurors of a man who gradually seduced a teen already troubled with low self esteem and depression.

Phelps was given a prison sentence two days shy of six years.

A 24-year-old member of the local National Guard drowned during the Pe Ell River run in mid-April.

Daniel Kuhn, of Olympia, wasn’t reported missing until two days after the annual event on the Chehalis River, but his body was found within days near the area he had last been seen in his small rubber raft between Doty and Dryad.



Nicholas Matchett

Tragic drownings on the Chehalis River continued with the early May loss of 8-year-old Nicholas Matchett when he apparently slipped off the steep bank behind his Boistfort area home.

Less than two weeks later, 16-year-old Christopher Puentes-Garay died while swimming southwest of Rochester.

The spring of 2012 was a deadly one for young people.

Another 16-year-old, Tyler S. Gonzalez, was killed when during an underage party, he drunkenly wandered onto Brockway Road and either laid down, passed out or went to sleep before he was run over by a full-sized SUV.

Well over 200 people came together in a Centralia park to raise candles for 2-year-old Koralynn Fister who died from head trauma and drowning while in the care of her mother’s boyfriend.

James M. Reeder, 25, claimed he found her face down in the bathtub and carried child to neighbors across the street from her house asking them to call 911 while he attempted CPR.

Prosecutors allege Reeder tortured and raped the toddler.

The lifelong Lewis County resident is charged with homicide by abuse and other related offenses. He remains held in the Lewis County Jail on $5 million bail awaiting a January trial.


An elderly retired businessman relocating to Arizona found a new friend – one that he called a hero – in Lewis County after his 31-foot travel trailer caught fire alongside Interstate 5 south of Chehalis.

Antonio Martinez of Napavine stopped to help the 79-year-old traveler rescue his dog from the far back of his SUV while numerous bystanders took photos and video. Firefighters miraculously found Ken Schumann’s cash savings among the ashes, but fortunately for Schumann, Martinez stuck around during the wait for the a tow truck.

When Schumann fell from the wreckage and gouged his wrist, Martinez was there to put pressure on the wound. Martinez took the dog to his home, and then went to the hospital to wait until Schumann was released.



Ed and Wilhelmina Maurin

News of an arrest from the 1985 slaying of an elderly Ethel couple took many by surprise.

Rick Riffe, 53, was brought from his home in Alaska to the Lewis County Jail and charged with the murder, kidnapping and robbery of Ed and Wilhelmina Maurin.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield described to a well-attended press conference how the sheriff’s office felt it had a strong case back in the early 1990s, but for whatever reason wasn’t able to persuade a prosecutor to file charges.

The Maurins were reported missing Dec. 19, 1985 after guests arriving for a Christmas party found nobody at their home. The following day, their car was found abandoned in the Yard Birds parking lot in Chehalis. Their bodies were discovered on Christmas Eve dumped near Adna.

Riffe has pleaded not guilty, but remains held in the Lewis County Jail on $5 million bail. His trial is scheduled for May.


It was so hot and dry, a red flag warning was put in place because of the potential for “explosive” fire growth.

While firefighters battled a blaze near Cle Elum that charred thousands of acres and carried a smokey haze over Lewis County, local crews were on edge with grass and brush fires from Toledo to Rochester.

In Mineral on Aug. 14, members of a half dozen fire departments spent six hours extinguishing fire that spread from a vacant building, to three outbuildings as well as brush and trees.


Two Lewis County men survived a deadly boat wreck near the entrance to Willapa Bay that took the life of 70-year-old rural Chehalis resident Robert “Tony” F. Garrity.

A Coast Guard helicopter from Astoria located the 24-foot vessel the morning of Sept. 5, after the trio didn’t return home the night before from a fishing trip.

Charlie Garrity, 26, of Chehalis, and Shad Hail, 30, from Centralia, were hoisted into the helicopter and taken to a nearby hospital. The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office said somehow the men strapped themselves to the overturned boat but sometime during the night the straps broke.



Simmons’ horses

The month began with news of authorities seizing nine malnourished horses from a couple near Morton.

Joanne M. Simmons, 65, and Terry L. Simmons, 58, who live off of state Route 7, said they were in the process of giving the Kiger Mustangs away because they had too many. They were charged with animal cruelty.

Before the month ended, dozens of fox hounds were rounded up and confiscated from a 79-year-old Dryad woman’s property.

Nancy Punches was charged with animal cruelty as well as a violation of another state law regarding dog breeding.

Her 65 dogs were living in conditions described as deplorable, overrun with feces. Punches said she didn’t intend for them to multiply, but their fencing had deteriorated.


Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Wallace shot and killed an apparently suicidal motorist he stopped to help during the night at a gravel turnout along state Route 6 near Boistfort.

Sixty-four-year-old Gregory S. Kaufman of Napavine had superficial cuts to his neck and wrist and instead of laying his knife on the dashboard as asked, he got out of his car and advanced upon the deputy, according to authorities.

The Lewis County prosecutor concluded the shooting was justified.

Voters decriminalized recreational use of marijuana, leaving many dazed and confused about the historic changes.

While statewide the initiative passed by a little more than 55 percent, about that same proportion of Lewis County said no to the measure that still leaves no place to legally acquire weed.


After an approximately six-week long trial in Lewis County Superior Court, jurors returned a verdict in favor of Menasha Forest Products, saying it’s clear-cutting of trees above Glenoma  was not to blame for mudslides that damaged properties belonging to 11 families.

The lawyer representing the plaintiffs said the timber company harvested on a steep, unstable slope causing the January 2009 destruction below. Menasha’s attorney said the company followed the logging rules set by the Department of Natural Resources.

A similar lawsuit involving seven other Glenoma property owners against Port Blakely is scheduled to go to trial in April.

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Volunteers begin searching Morton for missing man

Sunday, December 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Police and volunteers are searching around Morton today hoping to find a 76-year-old man who failed to return to his assisted living facility on Friday.


Lawrence W. Thorsteinson

Lawrence W. Thorsteinson apparently has minor dementia, he takes medication for it, according to Morton Police Department Chief Dan Mortensen.

Mortensen said Thorsteinson has lived at Heritage House for the past couple of years and has no family in the area.

He was reported missing about 9:30 p.m. on Friday.

Thorsteinson was last seen around noon on Friday at Heritage House at 860 W. Main Ave. and also during the same time frame trying to check into Roy’s Motel a few blocks away, but he had no money, Mortensen said.

Police have contacted his known acquaintances and the businesses he frequents in town and no one has seen him, according to the chief.

When last seen, he was wearing a brown hat, a brown sweater or jacket, a red shirt and jeans, according to police. He is 5-feet 10-inches tall, weighing about 190 pounds with gray hair and brown eyes.

Police initiated an automated call yesterday to about 900 homes in the area with no results, Mortensen said.

Mortensen said some volunteers from Chehalis are expected today to check the wooded areas around town.

Jennifer Mau, a Morton woman who runs a private group called Search and Seek, said she is looking along the banks of the nearby Tilton River and had about three or four individuals answer her call to meet at Gus Backstrom Park at 11 a.m. to look for Thorsteinson.

The volunteers include a private contractor from Longview who conducts searches with dogs, three of which are in Morton today, according to Mau.

Mossyrock resident Coleen Reeder whose father lives at Heritage House learned of the search parties this morning and is packing up her husband and three teenage boys to head out to help.

Chief Mortensen said law enforcement officers have pretty well scoured areas in town and it’s possible Thorsteinson got on a bus or was picked up by a friend and gone somewhere.

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News brief: Missing Thurston County mom turns up at mall

Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The 33-year-old Thurston County mother missing since last Saturday has been found, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Kyndra L. Nevils hadn’t been seen since she left her children with a roommate at home east of Tumwater and was believed to be headed for the Capitol Mall in west Olympia.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Alvin Griffin said today she turned up just after 8 p.m. last night. A deputy and her husband contacted her at the mall, he said.

Griffin didn’t have details about where Nevils had been. He said her husband was going to take her to a hospital, but it wasn’t clear for what.

For background, read “News brief: Thurston County mom missing almost a week” from Friday December 28, 2012, here

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News brief: Three victims of Rochester wreck remain hospitalized

Friday, December 28, 2012 at 6:25 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Almost two weeks after a head-on crash in Rochester, three of the four persons injured remain hospitalized.

Angela M. Saxon, 40, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where she was listed in critical condition following the Dec. 16 collision  on U.S. Highway 12 at Denmark Street.

Saxon is in satisfactory condition today, according to a hospital spokesperson.

The driver of the car she was in, Eric W. Saxon, 41, was in good condition today at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia. They are both from Rochester.

The Centralia couple traveling in a 1993 GMC van were both taken to Providence Centralia Hospital immediately after the wreck.

Rita S. Dominguez, 54, just got released on Friday, according to her daughter.

Yesenia Dominguez, who also lives in Centralia, said her father was transferred to Harborview that weekend and underwent his second surgery there today.

J. Vidal Dominguez-Mireles, 54, who has his own handyman business, had a broken pelvis and what his daughter described as a burst vertebrae.

“Luckily he’s not going to be paralyzed, that’s the miracle,” Yesenia Dominguez said.

It’s an intersection that has seen several fatalities over the years, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority Lt. Eric Smith who was part of the crew that responded to the afternoon wreckage.

The Washington State Patrol described the collision as occurring when Dominguez-Mireles moved into the oncoming lane to avoid stopped traffic.

Yesenia Dominguez said she understood the car in front of her parents stopped very fast and her dad swerved to miss it. Both vehicles were totaled.

The 30-year-old says she’s been praying for her parents and the other couple who she doesn’t know. It’s the kind of incident that’s made her rethink the importance of family, she said.

“You work all day, come home and don’t take a lot of time for family,” she said. “I realize my mom and dad could be worse; like, not here.”

For background, read “News brief: Four injured in Rochester head-on crash” from Sunday December 16, 2012 at 6:10 p.m., here

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News brief: Thurston County mom missing almost a week

Friday, December 28, 2012 at 5:14 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information about a missing mother who hasn’t been seen since she left her home for a trip to the mall before Christmas.


Kyndra L. Nevils

At about 7 p.m. last Saturday evening, Kyndra L. Nevils departed her residence east of Tumwater to go to the Capitol Mall in west Olympia, according to the sheriff’s office.

She left her children at home with a roommate and never arrived at the mall, according to Sgt. Ray Brady.

She wasn’t driving and deputies don’t think she took a bus as she had planned, Brady said in a news release.

Her home is in the general area of Yelm Highway and College Street, according to Brady.

Nevils, 33, is described as 5-feet 3-inches tall with a medium build and black hair with green eyes, according to the sheriff’s office.

She has a tattoo on her upper chest. She has no known medical conditions.

Anyone who sees her or knows her whereabouts is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 360-704-2740.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, December 28, 2012 at 10:46 am


• An 18-year-old Army soldier said his clutch got stuck after getting caught driving 100 mph in a 35 mph zone south of Chehalis and then trying to outrun a police vehicle last night. A deputy on patrol on Maurin Road in the Chehalis Industrial Park at about 9:30 p.m. attempted to pull over the speeding sports car but it blew a stop sign and turned onto Rush Road, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The newly purchased 2007 Scion entered a driveway on the 1800 block of Bishop Road in an attempt to hide from the deputy, but the deputy pulled in behind it, Cmdr. Steve Aust said. Jonathan R. Cook, of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, said the clutch malfunctioned, but his 17-year-old passenger said no, he was just speeding, according to Aust. Cook was booked into the Lewis County Jail for attempting to elude.


• Police were called to a Northwest Chehalis Avenue bar about 10:50 p.m. yesterday when an arriving patron who appeared drunk was told to leave and on the way out allegedly punched out the window. Officers located a suspect near the fire station with blood on his hand, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Aaron A. Cogburn, 22, of Centralia, was arrested for the damage at Paradise and then booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree malicious mischief, Sgt. Brian Hickey said.


• And numerous other calls such as dead cat in the road, dead raccoon by the garage, misdemeanor assaults, fender benders, and my neighbor’s unfriendly pit bull won’t let me get out of my car.

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Slaughterhouse stabbing suspect pleads guilty

Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The knife wound in the neck was potentially deadly, but the victim not only survived, he’s not around to testify if prosecutors were to go forward with a trial regarding last month’s stabbing at the Centralia wholesale meat business.

Sabino Gomez-Barriga was in court today to plead guilty in a deal crafted by attorneys on both sides to give him the agreed upon amount of prison time.


Sabino Gomez-Barriga

Gomez-Barriga was sentenced, as they recommended, to four and a half years in prison.

Gomez-Barriga was arrested at his Chehalis apartment on Nov. 7 after a fight between two employees at the Five Star Beef Company on Airport Road.

Prosecutors alleged that after getting punched in the face, Gomez-Barriga stuck a boning knife in 21-year-old Jorge Juarez’s neck. He also was accused of first jabbing Juarez with the blunt end of a meat hook, which Gomez-Barriga’s attorney said the victim tried to grab as well.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Shane O’Rourke told the judge a primary reason for the plea deal is Juarez is nowhere to be found; he’s not responded to attempts to contact him by the sheriff’s office, the prosecutor’s office or even the state Department of Labor and Industries.

“My thinking is juries don’t look favorably when the victim (doesn’t show up) and when the victim is the initial aggressor,” O’Rourke told the judge.

Gomez-Barriga is 35 years old, according to court documents, although he told the judge today he is 36. He has no known criminal history and said the last year of school he completed was third grade.

He was initially charged with first-degree assault, but pleaded guilty today to second-degree assault, with a deadly weapon and with a stipulation the judge could go above the top of the standard sentence without a specific jury finding.

“I think it’s fairly clear here, the result was not intended,”  defense attorney J.P. Enbody told the judge regarding the seriousness of the victim’s injury. “Also, the victim was not the initial aggressor here, and I don’t think the state would disagree with that.”

O’Rourke indicated he concurred and felt a 54-month sentence was a fair outcome.

O’Rourke said last week it was his understanding the victim made a full recovery.

Speaking through a Spanish interpreter, Gomez-Barriga chose to address the judge when asked, even though Enbody was gently shaking his head no

“He said he was under the impression the victim had federal charges against him,” Enbody said after consulting with his client and the interpreter.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Brosey said he understood the case to be an argument that got out of control and said fortunately the defendant’s weapon of choice was not a firearm.

Brosey took extra steps in reminding Gomez-Barriga of the immigration consequences of a conviction, although neither O’Rourke nor Enbody could say for sure if Gomez-Barriga was in the country legally or illegally.

Enbody said he didn’t ask his client where he was born.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement has a hold placed on him.

For background, read “Centralia slaughterhouse fight involved meathook and boning knife” from Friday November 9, 2012, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 11:13 am


• Centralia police arrested a 23-year-old Centralia resident yesterday afternoon, saying he broke into a motel room on the 1200 block of Alder Street to retrieve two handguns he left there when checking out. Marcus J. Inman Jr. allegedly removed a screen and pried open a window and subsequently tried to flee pursuing police on a bicycle and then on foot, but was captured by police dog Kayo, according to the Centralia Police Department. The two guns were found nearby, according to police. Inman was booked into the Lewis County Jail for first-degree burglary, two counts of felon in possession of  firearm and an outstanding warrant, according to police.


• Centralia police were called abut 10:25 p.m. yesterday to the 1000 block of Belmont Avenue when an individual discovered someone began using their credit cards shortly after their wallet was left at a grocery store. The case is under investigation.

• Chehalis police were called just after 1 p.m. yesterday from an individual who said $502 was withdrawn from their Chehalis bank account. The case is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• A 42-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine just before 1 o’clock this morning when contacted by police at the 100 block of King Street in Centralia regarding a warrant and a complaint of an assault from the night before. Jason R. Slighte was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police yesterday arrested Frank L. Mako, 28, of Chehalis, for three counts of delivery of a controlled substance in connection with an earlier investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• Chehalis police were called just before 4 p.m. yesterday to the 1500 block of South Market Boulevard when a van went into the back door of Dairy Dan’s. The driver told police his son got out of his booster seat into the driver’s seat of the vehicle and knocked it into neutral causing the van to roll, according to Officer Linda Bailey. A police report did not note injuries or significant damage, according to Bailey.


• A 54-year-old Castle Rock man escaped injury when his SUV struck a horse standing in the road last night near Toledo. A deputy responding around 9:30 p.m. to the 400 block of Toledo-Vader Road noted the horse’s front leg was nearly severed and so a veterinarian was summoned to euthanize the animal, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The Ford Expedition sustained minor damage and the 18-year-old owner of the horse, who lived nearby, was cited for “animal at large,” according to Cmdr. Steve Aust.

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Read about pursuit of stolen Jeep ends in Lewis County …

Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 12:33 am


By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports a 29-year-old Chehalis man was arrested following a high speed chase down Interstate 5 into Lewis County last night after a suspected stolen Jeep was spotted in Rochester.

News reporter Alex Krell writes it began around 6:15 p.m. when a resident south of Tumwater reported he answered a knock on his door, a man beat him up, took the keys to his vehicle and drove away with it.

Michael Hilton, 29, was booked into the Thurston County Jail for robbery, assault and eluding, according to the sheriff’s office.

Read more here

Watch interview with victim on

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:16 pm


• A traffic stop about 2:30 a.m. yesterday of a suspected intoxicated driver on Alder Street in Centralia led to a trip to the hospital for a 29-year-old Centralia man who reportedly tried to break out a patrol car window and got hurt in the process, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Lewis County sheriff’s Cmdr. Steve Aust said Eugene S. McFall was making threats to the deputy, trying to escape the patrol car and banging his head on the cage in the back. McFall was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital to be treated and then booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree malicious mischief – for causing the patrol car to be taken out of service so the blood could be cleaned up – as well as for intimidating a public servant, according to Aust. The case will be referred for a DUI charge and other offenses, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• A 29-year-old Centralia man was arrested about 10:30 p.m. yesterday for unlawful possession of prescription drugs, after contact with an officer at West Walnut and South Cedar streets in Centralia. Jamie L. McCarty was booked into the Lewis County Jail,  according to the Centralia Police Department. During the same contact, Christopher J. McCarty, 27, also of Centralia, reportedly lied to officers and was booked for a warrant from the state Department of Corrections, according to police.


• Chehalis police responded to a report of a burglary to a shed just after 3 p.m. on Monday at the 600 block of Lafayette Street. Missing was a tool box and tools for welding, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• Police were called abut 10:30 p.m. on Monday regarding repeated car prowls at the 300 block of Northwest Florida Street in Chehalis. Among the items missing from an unlocked vehicle were change, sunglasses and work clothes, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• Chehalis police were contacted about 8:30 p.m. on Monday about an alleged sexual assault earlier the same day at a residence in Chehalis. Officer Linda Bailey said a young woman spoke of indecent liberties being taken by a male and the case remains under investigation.