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Read about doctors, narcotics, marijuana and the law …

Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 1:26 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

In an effort to curb an “alarming” increase in overdose deaths from narcotic pain meds, new legislation will cap the strength of the dose a physician can prescribe, the Yakima Herald-Republic writes in a story in today’s newspaper.

Some 700 people in the state die each year from such overdoses, according to news reporter Phil Ferolito.

In Lewis County last year, all 14 people who died from drug overdoses were found to have done so accidentally.

Only two or three of those deaths came from street drugs, the rest were prescription medications, most commonly something like Oxycodone and often in combination with other prescribed meds, according to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

Chief Deputy Coroner Dawn Harris, who has been compiling annual reports for the past five years, has said 2010′s numbers did not seem to be significantly different from previous years.

At the same time, the number of medical practitioners prescribing medical marijuana – which one doctor quoted calls the most “innocuous drug” out there – has grown dramatically since last year, according to a story in The (Tacoma) News Tribune today.
•••

Read “Law limiting narcotics a painful remedy for some patients” from The Yakima Herald-Republic on Saturday October 1, 2011 at 10:17 p.m., here

Read “Despite changing rules, medical marijuana field has exploded statewide” from The (Tacoma) News Tribune on  Saturday October 1, 2011 at 7:37 p.m., here

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Read about Mount Rainier park ex-official scrutinized on land deal …

Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 1:25 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Seattle Times writes today about the details of a questionable land deal in Ashford between the former Mount Rainier National Park superintendent and the owner of a Mount Rainier climbing business.

Read more about the sale of a three-bedroom house on two acres in Ashford to Peter Whittaker, owner of Rainier Mountaineering Inc. in 2002, here

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News brief: DUI accident sends Morton resident to hospital

Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 11:11 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Morton woman was taken to the hospital with a head injury after a single-vehicle crash in the Cinebar area overnight.

A trooper was called just after 1 a.m. to milepost 14.7 of state Route 508 where Teresa A. Scott, 37, had wrecked her 1996 Ford Ranger, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Scott had been heading eastbound when her vehicle crossed the centerline and traveled about 60 more yards through a ditch, hitting a telephone pole and rolling over once, according to the state patrol. The Ford Ranger was described as totaled.

Scott was taken by ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the investigating trooper.

The trooper reported she had been wearing a seatbelt, and she was cited for driving under the influence.

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Court hearing reveals more details about Salkum triple slaying

Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 12:04 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – For the first and maybe the only time, a courtroom of spectators this week got to hear Ryan J. McCarthy’s description of what happened inside a single-story house on Wings Way very early on the morning of August 21, 2010.

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Ryan J. McCarthy

After he and John Booth Jr left, three people including a teenage boy were dead, and a woman lay on the kitchen floor bleeding, all from gun shots to their heads.

McCarthy, now 30, was sentenced this week for his role in last summer’s events in the Salkum-Onalaska area home.

Late last summer, prosecutors charged both men with all three murders, saying it didn’t matter which one pulled the trigger.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told a judge in court earlier this month that Booth fired the shots and “Mr. McCarthy was there.”

On Wednesday, as McCarthy appeared in Lewis County Superior Court in Chehalis for sentencing following a plea agreement, his lawyer said that was pretty much the extent of his client’s role, he was present.

Olympia defense attorney Rick Cordes told the court McCarthy didn’t commit the crimes he was charged with, the crimes he pleaded guilty to, or the crimes he was being sentenced for.

“If he was guilty of anything, it’s because he didn’t choose his friends right, who to be loyal to,” Cordes said.

McCarthy and former Onalaska resident Booth were both picked up and jailed after the shooting deaths of  David West Sr. 52, his son David West Jr., 16, and a friend Tony E. Williams, 50, of Randle. Denise Salts, then 51, who also lived at the house, survived a gunshot wound to her face.

McCarthy had just been released from prison less than a month earlier. The Redmond resident and Booth were former cell mates.

From the beginning, authorities have been saying the men’s visit to the house was related to some kind of debt collection and gun fire broke out when West Sr. brought out a shotgun and told them to get out of his house.

Cordes told the judge Wednesday afternoon that when West. Sr. said that – “You two m***** f****** get up and get out of here,” that’s what McCarthy did.

“He pushed his chair back, got up from the table and ran outside,” Cordes said. “He was outside when he heard shots fired.”

Cordes said McCarthy ran back in, but turned and left and was outside when a final shot was fired.

“He didn’t touch anybody, he didn’t shoot anybody,” Cordes said.

And he passed a lie detector test that confirmed his story, according to Cordes.

Cordes said his client entered into the plea agreement because nobody knows what  jury will do, and he faced the possibility of life in prison if he were convicted.

“The fact that he’s getting 14 years is a black eye on the criminal justice system,” he said.

Prosecutor Meagher didn’t offer the court on Wednesday his reasoning for plea bargaining, but Judge Richard Brosey spoke of what he supposed was a concern prosecutors had about going to trial.

“One problem, it’s not a crime just to be there,” Brosey said. “The state would have to show a person did something to facilitate the crime.”

McCarthy pleaded guilty three weeks ago, per the plea agreement, to first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and attempted extortion

He did so under doctrines under which he pleaded guilty to crimes he did not commit to escape consequences of more serious charges, and agreed  if a jury heard and believed the state’s evidence, he would likely be found guilty.

When family members and one victim addressed the court before the sentence was actually handed down, it was clear they didn’t care authorities were no longer accusing McCarthy of murder.

Dan Williams, brother of Tony Williams, raised his voice and demanded McCarthy look at him as he spoke to the court.

“I lost my brother, my best friend,” he said. “You knew what was going on.”

A woman who identified herself only as “Dee” read a statement which spoke of savage animals of society and called for “an eye for an eye”.

“Dee” spoke of having to explain to Tony Williams’ 13-year-old son there are bad people in the world.

“Even life without parole is too good,” she said.

Jodi Porter traveled from her home in Eastern Washington to tell how the death of her teenage son, David West Jr., has affected her family.

“My granddaughter has nightmares about bad people coming in and killing her whole family,” Porter said. “I want justice to be served.”

When Judge Brosey spoke to McCarthy, sentencing him to 14 years plus three months in prison, he called the events of Aug. 21 a total waste, with three people who are dead, and not coming back.

“Most glaring and most disgusting is, none of this needed to happen,” Brosey said. “There’s no reason to be playing this game of going out and collecting money.”

Extorting money involves risk, and this nonsense needs to stop, Brosey said.

“If you choose to associate with people such as Mr. (Robert) Russell and Mr. Booth, you pay the consequences,” Brosey said.

The judge noted the defendant insisted he was no more than a “co-attendee”, but added since there will be no trial, “we’ll never know the truth.”

The one member of the household who survived, Salts, was not satisfied with the plea agreement, saying it’s as though the system has forgotten three people died.

Salts addressed McCarthy directly, presumably her first opportunity since he and Booth were inside her home 13 months ago.

“What you have done is taken away something that is a part of my life,” Salts said. “Dave, his son, my best friend.”

“I’ve got so much anger for you right now, I can’ even begin to tell you,” she said.

“You’re just a waste of time, of space,” Salts said. “Do you have any remorse? Are you not sorry?”

McCarthy hesitated, but finally responded to her repeated direct questioning.

“The truth is, I didn’t do nothing,” McCarthy said.

“The truth is, you were there,” Salts said.

“Every day I miss my best friend, Dave,” Salts said. “They might as well have taken mine (life) too,” she said.

McCarthy was transferred out of the Lewis County Jail yesterday, to prison.

His attorney has said McCarthy will not testify against Booth, or anybody.

Booth’s trial is scheduled for the beginning of November.
•••

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

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, September 30, 2011 at 10:28 am

VEHICLE THEFT

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

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

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

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

OTHER THEFT

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

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

DRUGS

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

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

TRESPASS

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

VANDALISM

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

CRASH

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

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

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One defendant in Salkum triple homicide case gets 14 years

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 5:56 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, September 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm

EXPLOSIVE DEVICE PLANTED IN ROCHESTER CAR

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

THEFT

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

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

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

DRUGS

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

THURSTON DEPUTY ASSAULTED

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

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Coroner gives permission for Ron Reynolds, sons to remain mum

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 8:24 pm

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

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The inquest is scheduled to begin on Oct. 10.
•••

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

Read most recent news story on the inquest, here

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Read about bomb squad called to Rochester …

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 7:48 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

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

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

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

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Rail lines now under continuous scrutiny after tampering

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 7:35 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

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

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

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

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

The tracks were reopened in the early afternoon after inspections.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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News brief: Suspicious fire starts inside Napavine residence

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 1:15 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 11:57 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

•••

Read previous story from Saturday July 30, 2011, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 10:39 am

ROLLOVER CRASH ON PEARL STREET BRIDGE

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

SMASH AND GRAB

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

CAR SPRAY PAINTED

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

RED CROSS VAN TAMPERED WITH

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

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Read about homicide investigation in Elbe …

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 9:40 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

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

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

Read Mulick’s news item, here

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Read about murder charge for Centralia mother of baby boy …

Monday, September 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

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

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

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

Read Pawloski’s story here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, September 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm

POLICE: CHILD CARRIED OUTSIDE BY NECK, BY BABYSITTER

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

CENTRALIA WOMAN STRUCK BY CAR

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

THEFT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VANDALISM

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

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

POSSIBLE SEXUAL ASSAULT

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

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Woman who leapt from van on I-5 identified as Jamie Jacaway

Monday, September 26, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Updated 5:44 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The woman who died after she jumped from a moving vehicle on Interstate 5 in Centralia on Friday night has been named as Jamie M. Jacaway, 27, of Chehalis.

Jacaway had been at the Grace Foursquare Church in Centralia and asked for a ride from someone there who was heading to Chehalis, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Robert Hicks offered and they got on the freeway at Harrison Avenue, and as they reached about milepost 80 traveling at ordinary freeway speed, Jacaway opened the passenger door and jumped out, according to the state patrol.

Hicks stopped immediately and no foul play is suspected, Trooper Ryan Tanner said.

Jacaway had ended up at the church on Borst Avenue as she had caught a ride with someone heading to a program there; she was trying to get to the women’s shelter.

Tammy Carr, director of the Friday night 12-step recovery event that was under way, said Jacaway was acting erratic and clearly not doing well. They tried to get her help, tried to get her to eat, but to no avail, Carr said. They attempted to get her to stay for the 12-step meeting but she didn’t want to come in, Carr said.

The finally called police about 7:15 p.m.

Carr said Jacaway had left and came back, and then kept trying to flag down people outside, stepping into the road.

“We knew we couldn’t keep her here, we were afraid she would get hurt, or something horrible would happen,” Carr said.

By the time an officer arrived, she had left in the van, according to police.

By about 7:50 p.m., police learned of the fatality on southbound Interstate 5.

Centralia Police Department Cmdr. Jim Rich said this afternoon he’s met Jacaway several times on the job.

“Most of the calls where I dealt with her on patrol were from concerned passersby or neighbors, asking please take a look and check on this woman,” Rich said.

She’s been in the community for quite some time.

“We’ve tried to hep her, and connect her with various agencies,” he said. “I wouldn’t even try to guess what the cause of it all was.”

The Lewis County Coroner’s Office is working with her mother and father who are making funeral arrangements, according to Chief Deputy Coroner Dawn Harris.

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Breaking news: Human remains found in Randle

Monday, September 26, 2011 at 9:41 am

Updated 10:26 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office revealed this morning yet another set of human remains were found in east Lewis County; on Thursday morning in Randle.

Detectives say its possible it could be a 57-year-old woman who disappeared from her home about a mile and a half away in April, but positive identification has not been made, according to the sheriff’s office.

Trisha McKenzie-Fire, who lived on Silverbrook Road with her boyfriend, left home about 3 a.m. on April 2, without her purse or car and hasn’t been seen since.

The sheriff’s office says the remains were found in a dry creek bed in a field by a property owner on the 100 block of Joerk Road.

It’s the third time human remains have been found in east Lewis County this year.

In early April, skeletal remains belonging to a female were discovered near Morton on the side of a logging road off U.S. Highway 12.  At the end of March, a partial skull was found in a wooded area near Mineral which turned out to belong to a Pierce County man missing since 1985.

In the Randle case, there was some clothing found as well, but the sheriff’s office isn’t saying if it matched that said to be worn by McKenzie-Fire when she went missing.

Part of the reason detectives think it could be her is the creek runs past McKenzie-Fire’s home and onto the Joerk Road property, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

The creek is dry now, but it wouldn’t have been in April, Brown said.

The remains will be sent to an expert at the King County Medical Examiner’s Office in hopes of determining who it is and how they died, according to the sheriff’s office.

McKenzie-Fire’s boyfriend, Kent Anderson, said in April he had gone to bed and when he woke up, she was gone. At about 3 a.m. or 4 a.m., a friend, who was sleeping on the couch, saw her go outside with a cigarette, according to Anderson. The trio had been drinking whiskey that night, Anderson said.

He reported her missing that day.

Brown called it just a “death investigation” when asked if if there was any indication of foul play.

“(S)he walked off after the party, but what happened after that, we don’t know,” Brown said.

Brown said the boyfriend, Anderson, has since died of natural causes.

Last week, the sheriff’s office had a potential promising lead in learning the identity of the Morton remains, but a comparison of the dental records with a missing Pierce County female didn’t pan out, according to Brown.

The skeletal remains belong to a younger adult female of small stature and an examination by a specialist could not find a cause of death.

The sheriff’s office has released little information about that find, but have said it was doubtful the remains had been where they were found for very long, because it was a well-used logging road.

•••

Read “Randle woman missing for more than three weeks” from Monday April 25, 2011, here

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Breaking news: Infant dies following alleged assault by Centralia mother

Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The baby whose Centralia mother was arrested after it was hospitalized with head injuries has died.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office says the 4-month-old boy was pronounced dead at 4:36 p.m. today at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma.

Rachel Bryan, 20, was arrested early Wednesday at a home in Grand Mound where she was visiting and remains held in the Thurston County Jail on $500,000 bail.

Medics had been called to the home the day before for a child in distress. The infant was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, and then transferred to Mary Bridge where it was put on life support, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff’s Sgt. Ken Clark said today he assumes the charges will change, but that is up to the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office.

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Woman dead after leaping from moving vehicle on I-5 in Centralia

Saturday, September 24, 2011 at 9:30 am

Updated 11:30 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A woman in her 20s died after apparently jumping out of a moving vehicle on Interstate 5 in Centralia last night.

Troopers and aid were called about 7:50 p.m. to the southbound lanes south of the Mellen Street interchange, but the female died at the scene from massive head trauma, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Trooper Ryan Tanner said the van was traveling in the outside lane and she landed on the shoulder next to the guard rail.

The woman had opened the right front passenger door and jumped out near Salzer Creek at milepost 80, according to the state patrol.

Tanner said he didn’t know why.

“It’s obviously not cut and dry in this one, it’s going to take a lot of investigation on our part to try to figure out what happened,” he said.

Her hometown and age are not being released. She did not have any identification on her, he said.

“We’re still trying to figure out a positive ID on the deceased,” Tanner said. “That’s the big thing right now.”

The driver of the van is 49-year-old Robert B. Hicks of Chehalis, according to the patrol. There were no other passengers in the van.

Tanner said the two did not know each other, that Hicks was leaving from a location in Centralia heading to Chehalis and she asked for a ride.

No foul play is suspected, he said.

Troopers were interviewing Hicks as well as other witnesses that saw her prior to the incident when Tanner was briefed last night.

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Mossyrock teenager admits to stealing half dozen guns, ammo

Friday, September 23, 2011 at 6:26 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An 18-year-old Mossyrock resident jailed after six firearms and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were stolen from a Mossyrock house in July pleaded guilty today.

Anthony S. Depuisaye-Greene was sentenced to almost 10 years in prison in exchange for giving information to law enforcement to help them recover the pistols, according to the plea agreement

Depuisaye-Greene went before Lewis County Superior Court  Judge James Lawler this afternoon and pleaded guilty to 14 counts instead of 20; they included first-degree burglary, possession of stolen firearms and theft.

Defense attorney Don Blair and Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer told the judge they both recommended Depuisaye-Greene should be sentenced to 116 months. Lawler agreed.

Depuisaye-Greene’s criminal history included only crimes as a juvenile.

Two females were also arrested in connection with the repeated burglaries over an entire weekend.

Depuisaye-Greene and his girlfriend, Dezarai B. Johnson, 18, had fled in a stolen Toyota RAVE to Sequim, where Johnson lives, according to charging documents. They were picked up there by police and one of the guns was recovered at that time.

Prosecutor Meyer said he expects a plea agreement for Johnson. He didn’t say today what was the status of the case against the 17-year-old Mossyrock girl.
•••

Read “Ammo, half dozen guns stolen in Mossyrock break-ins” from Monday July 25, 2011, here

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Cemeterian Baker charged with stalking caretaker Duncan

Friday, September 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Greenwood Cemetery owner John Baker pleaded not guilty yesterday to a multitude of charges related to him not staying away from the cemetery while under a court order that is set to expire the end of this month, the latest of which involved him allegedly hiding in the bushes trying to make sure photos were taken when temporary caretaker Jennifer Duncan was served with papers.

2011.0831.john.baker.mug_2

John Baker

Centralia police were called late last week when Duncan said she was working in the memorial park north of Reynolds Road and spotted the 68-year-old about 200 feet away from her in the brush.

An anti-harassment protection order prevents Baker from being within 500 feet of Duncan or on the cemetery property until Sept. 30.

According to charging documents, a man and a woman came to give her paperwork revoking her power of attorney over Baker, and Duncan ripped up the paper, told them to leave her alone and walked away. Then she saw Baker, who was directing the woman to take pictures of her, according to Duncan.

She told police she already had a copy of the letter and felt he was just harassing her, according to charging documents.

Baker was subsequently arrested at the Chevron station on Harrison Avenue, for violation of a protection order.

The Lewis County Prosecutor’s Office however charged Baker with stalking for that incident, plus five counts of violating the anti-harassment protection order in connection with previous episodes going back to the beginning of July.

Baker’s bail was set on Monday at $50,000.

Baker and Duncan, longtime friends, were in court last month and partially resolved a dispute that grew out of an agreement she would operate the cemetery last year while Baker was incarcerated for assault.

After Baker was released, relations between the two deteriorated but she still had the power of attorney and held the license to operate the cemetery.

Duncan told Lewis County Superior Court Commissioner Tracy Mitchell  late last month if she couldn’t get a permanent order banning Baker from the property, she would walk away from care-taking of the cemetery.

The commissioner extended the order just long enough for Duncan to wrap up obligations she’s made to cemetery clients and ordered Baker to file a formal revocation of the power of attorney.

One of the seven current charges against Baker is trespassing, as on Sept. 14, he was found inside his home – adjacent to the cemetery – which now has no electricity and is unfit for habitation, according to charging documents.

He said he had nowhere else to sleep.

Baker’s trial was set for the week of Oct. 31.
•••

For background, read “Conflict: Who will bury the dead in Greenwood Cemetery?” from Friday Sept. 2, 2011, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, September 23, 2011 at 10:01 am

HOUSE FIRE IN GRAND MOUND

• Fire broke out in a laundry room at a Grand Mound home last night. Firefighters called at 11:40 p.m. to Starlit Lane off 196th Avenue Southwest had the fire knocked down 10 minutes later, according to Chief Robert Scott of West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. Nobody was injured and the fire damage was limited to the laundry room, although there was smoke damage throughout the home, Scott said. A loud noise awoke the mother and her children, and then smoke detectors went off, according to the fire department. The family had to stay at a hotel last night, the fire department reported. The fire started near the dryer, Scott said.

BAD DAY GETS WORSE

• A 20-year-old Winlock woman was arrested after she reportedly kicked out a window in front of the former movie theater in downtown Chehalis yesterday. Police and aid were called about 11:25 a.m. to the 500 block of North Market Boulevard because Darcie N. Negrete was wearing flip flops and cut her foot, according to the Chehalis Police Department. “Sounds like she was having a bad day,” detective Sgt. Rick McNamara said. Negrete was arrested for third-degree malicious mischief and then released to be taken to the hospital, according to McNamara.

TRESPASSER ARRESTED

• Police yesterday arrested a 37-year-old Centralia man, their suspect for for the incident early in the morning when a male apparently snuck through a window into an un-rented motel room on the 700 block of Harrison Avenue. John S. Youngbrandt was found behind the Goodwill store later yesterday and arrested for second-degree burglary, according to Officer John Panco. Nothing was missing from the room, according to police. Youngbrandt  was was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

THEFT

• A Stihl chainsaw and tools were stolen from a garage on the 100 block of First Street in Morton over the weekend, police reported yesterday.

• The Morton Police Department reported yesterday that somebody stole two soccer backstops/nets from the grounds at the grade school. Police were called on Tuesday morning about the theft. The loss is estimated at $80, according to police.

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Read about Centralia mom of injured baby held on $500,000 bail …

Friday, September 23, 2011 at 4:34 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports the infant whose Centralia mother was arrested on Wednesday has a skull fracture and isn’t expected to survive.

Rachel Bryan, 20, appeared in Thurston County Superior Court yesterday where a judge set bail at $500,000 and ordered her held on suspicion of second-degree assault of a child, according to news reporter Jeremy Pawloski.

Bryan was arrested after medics were called Tuesday to a Grand Mound home and her 4-month-old boy was taken by ambulance to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma with head injuries.

Pawloski writes that court papers state Bryan told a detective when she gets mad, her “bi-polar comes out”.

Read Pawloski’s story here