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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.

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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

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 2:53 pm

ASSAULT

• A 21-year-old being arrested yesterday afternoon for violating a protection order at the 1900 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia reportedly struggled with police and elbowed an officer in the face. Ryan M. Roundtree, of Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police arrested a 20-year-old man yesterday they say assaulted his girlfriend and would not let her out of his vehicle, but then tried to run her down after she somehow exited the vehicle. Joel L. Kaech, of Salkum, was arrested in connection with the approximately 5:20 p.m. incident at the 500 block of South Tower Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree assault and unlawful imprisonment, according to police.

• A 34-year-old Toledo father was arrested yesterday for third-degree assault of a child after a deputy was dispatched to 1800 block of state Route 505 in Toledo about an incident. Robert F. Hofmann reportedly said he was trying to strike his 6-year-old daughter on the bottom with a belt, but ended up hitting her with the belt buckle on her upper leg, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It left a bruise, and had occurred about two to three weeks earlier, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

DRUGS

• A 31-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and heroin – and an outstanding warrant – after contact with police about 5:20 p.m. yesterday at Eureka and Noel avenues in Centralia, according to police. Ryan L. Lester was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

TRESPASS

• Centralia police were called to a motel on the 700 block of Harrison Avenue about 12:20 a.m. today where they learned a male subject had entered an un-rented room through a locked window but was scared away by an employee.

VEHICLE FIRE

• Fireifghters were called just after 4 p.m. yesterday to a car fire in the parking lot of the Lewis County Law and Justice Center on Main Street in Chehalis. Despite a good-sized column of smoke, the flames didn’t get far out of the engine compartment, as an employee from Grants Towing ran across the street with a fire extinguisher and put it out, according to Chehalis Fire Department Firefighter Kevin Reynolds.

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New lead in possible identity of Morton skeletal remains

Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 12:34 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Detectives today are working on a new lead in their attempts to solve the mystery of the skeletal remains found near Morton this past spring.

They are checking into a missing person from Pierce County, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said today.

A motorist who pulled off U.S. Highway 12 near Morton to take a break discovered the remains off the side of a logging road on April 7.

An examination by a specialist at the King County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded they belonged to a younger adult female of small stature, according to the sheriff’s office.

However, a cause of death could not be determined, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

It’s unknown who she is, but three missing females whose cases have been highly publicized have been ruled out; Kayla Croft-Payne of Lewis County, Nancy Moyer from Tenino and Lindsey Baum of McCleary, Brown said.

The sheriff’s office has released little information about the 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.

The sheriff’s office won’t say what they were told by the expert for an estimate of how long ago the person had died.

The sheriff’s detective sergeant last night was doing some research and came up with a new possibility out of Pierce County, Brown said today.

There are similarities, such as the “time frames and some of the things we found,” Brown said.

Dental records do exist for the missing Pierce County person, so they can be checked against the teeth belonging to the dead woman, according to Brown.

Dental records and DNA from the deceased have been entered into databases.

Just yesterday, Brown said no matches had been found and they really had no idea who she could be.

“We ran the information through systems we can run through that does automatic checks, with no results,” she said yesterday.

That left the sheriff’s office thinking the deceased was likely to be someone who hadn’t been in trouble previously (in order for their DNA to be taken such as in a criminal case) and may have never been reported missing, she said.

At this point, detectives are relying on “hand checks” for example when asked by another agency, according to Brown.

However, detective Sgt. Dusty Breen was up late last night and came upon this new potential missing person. It will likely take days to compare the dental work, Brown said.

Still missing:

Nancy Moyer, 36, was last seen by a co-worker on March 6, 2009. The 5-foot tall mother of two was reported missing when her husband returned their children to her Tenino home two days later. She was not there, but her purse and vehicle were.

Lindsey Baum, 10, was last seen June 26, 2009, when she left a friend’s house in McCleary to walk home. The walk should have taken 10 minutes, but she never arrived home.

Kayla Croft-Payne was 18 and living outside Chehalis on April 28, 2010 when she last logged onto her MySpace internet account. She was reported missing on May 5 by a friend who hadn’t seen or heard from her for several days.

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Read about molestation suspect’s competency hearing delayed …

Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 8:17 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports a competency hearing for 22-year-old  Steven Moulton of Morton has been postponed again, until next month.

The newspaper reports also a judge granted Moulton’s request to attend the funeral of his father, Michael Moulton.

Steven Moulton is being held in the Cowlitz County Jail, charged with attacking an  8-year-old boy in a ballpark restroom in Castle Rock in July.

He also has a pending case in Lewis County from last summer when he was found inside a park bathroom stall in Morton with an 8-year-old boy.

Read news item from The (Longview) Daily News from Wednesday Sept. 21, 2011 at 5:05 p.m., here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 12:08 pm

CENTRALIA MOTHER ARRESTED FOR ASSAULTING INFANT

• A 4-month-old baby is hospitalized on life support and its mother, a Centralia woman, was arrested early this morning for second-degree assault of a child, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. Medics called about 1:30 p.m. yesterday to a home in Grand Mound to a child in distress took the infant to Providence Centralia Hospital, and then it was transferred to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Ken Clark. The child has acute head injuries, Clark said. Detectives who began investigating late last night subsequently arrested Rachel Bryan, 20, of Centralia, he said. Clark said he believes the child is a boy, but wasn’t certain this morning. He declined to describe what detectives concluded about how the injuries occurred, except to say they developed enough information to determine the mother “need to go to jail for injuring the child.”

THREAT TO KILL

• A 50-year-old Onalaska man was arrested last night after he allegedly threatened to burn down the house and shoot the family of a 33-year-old Onalaska man. Deputies called shortly before 11 p.m. about a disagreement at the 100 block of Harvest Moon Drive arrested Michael A. Goad and booked him into the Lewis County Jail for felony harassment, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

THEFT

• Centralia police are investigating a case in which a Centralia resident yesterday reported they had accepted a job online as a so-called secret shopper and apparently been tricked out of some money. The individual had sent some money to the Philippines and also tried to cash some checks that were found to be no good, according to the Centralia Police Department. Further details were not readily available.

• Centralia police were called just before 8 p.m. yesterday about the theft of a bicycle from the 900 block of Johnson Road, the fifth such report from around town in just two days. Two bikes were reported stolen the morning before on the 800 block of North Tower Avenue and two others from the 500 block of South Cedar Street, according to the Centralia Police Department. In Chehalis, police were told yesterday that two bicycles had been stolen from a shed on the 100 block of Southwest Chehalis Avenue sometime since Sept. 13.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported a 31-year-old Chehalis woman was arrested Monday in connection with a check stolen from a Chehalis man’s mailbox which was allegedly then forged and cashed. The woman had been contacted in Centralia by detectives there for investigation of theft and forgery, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning. The court subsequently released her on the alleged Chehalis area incident, although she remains jailed for the Centralia crimes.

• Police were called just before 10:15 p.m. yesterday to a report of a an attempted vehicle prowl on the 900 block of Ham Hill Road in Centralia. A car alarm scared the subject off, according to police.

DRUGS

• Centralia police arrested a 18-year-old Centralia resident last night for possession of methamphetamine and heroin as well as outstanding warrants after contact just before midnight at the 400 block of North Pearl Street. Kyrsten R. Daarud was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• A deputy called to the 3900 block of Jackson Highway outside Chehalis yesterday was told someone had used a shotgun to shoot out the tire of a tractor there. The victim also found what appeared to be a bullet hole in a shop door, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Chehalis police were called at 6 p.m. yesterday about a brick thrown through the window of a business on the 200 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue.

WRECKS

• The front license plate was left behind after a minor hit and run collision yesterday about 1 p.m. at the 3400 block of Harrison Avenue outside Centralia.

• Firefighters were called just before 10 p.m. yesterday to Ham Hill and Seminary Hill roads in Centralia where a car had crashed and caught fire. The white four-door sedan was upside down against the trees and fully engulfed in flames when they arrived, Riverside Fire Authority Capt. Ken Colombo said. They were able to extinguish the blaze and found nobody was inside the vehicle, according to Colombo. Responders searched the area without success, looking for any occupants who might have been ejected, he said.

• A 26-year-old Longview woman was airlifted to Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver after a vehicle versus tree accident last night in Randle that left her trapped for several hours, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The woman suffered head trauma and a broken leg, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies and aid called about 10 p.m. to the scene at Forest Road 47 near Silverbrook Road found the driver, a 24-year-old man and another passenger, a 27-year-old man, both from Randle, outside the vehicle and disoriented, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said. The men were taken to Morton General Hospital with head injuries, according to Brown. Brown said the driver had gotten into an argument with three individuals and drove away agitated before the crash.

• A 57-year-old Chehalis man was found to have suffered only minor injuries when firefighters responded to a log truck on its side Monday afternoon on Wildwood Road. The roadway was partially closed until 11 p.m. as responders dealt with a large load of wood “chunks” that spilled and had to be moved. He was cited for going too fast, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

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Courtesy photo by Michele Hulbert

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Read about bookkeeper stole from judges association …

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 at 12:03 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports the bookkeeper for the Washington State Superior Judges Association for nearly 20 years has been sentenced to prison for embezzling more than $450,000 from the organization.

Barbara Jo Ericsson, also known as Barbara Jo Fulton, of Olympia, has also been ordered to pay back the money, news reporter Jeremy Pawloski wrote.

Read Pawloski’s story here

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Still unresolved: Will Ron Reynolds testify at inquest into former wife’s death?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 4:11 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Whether Toledo Elementary School Principal Ron Reynolds and his sons will be required to appear and give testimony at next month’s coroner’s inquest into Ronda Reynolds 1998 death remains an open question.

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Ron Reynolds

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod has indicated he won’t challenge the written motions each has made invoking their fifth amendment rights not to incriminate themselves.

They’ve asked that their subpoenas be quashed so they don’t have to attend the inquest, according to McLeod. The attorney representing Ronda Reynolds’ mother, Barb Thompson, has taken issue with the coroner’s position on the matter.

“If they say I’d like to plead the fifth, I’m certainly going to honor that,” McLeod told news reporters on Friday.

McLeod indicated the public, his inquest jury and members of the news media probably shouldn’t expect to see or hear the four at the inquest.

Not so fast, attorney Royce Ferguson said in essence with his filing over the weekend. There are several reasons the Reynolds family ought to and can be compelled to take the stand at the inquest, according to Ferguson.

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Ronda Reynolds

McLeod, elected last November as the first new Lewis County coroner in decades, is moving through ambiguously charted territory as he convenes the October coroner’s inquest.

He said on Friday he thinks the last one held in the county was in 1961, but that’s all he knows about it, he said.

Coroner’s inquests in Washington state are rare, and McLeod, with assistance from Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor David Fine, has created and adopted a set of rules to guide the proceedings.

One of McLeod’s first acts after he took office in January was to change the death certificate from suicide to undetermined in the case of the former trooper whose death has been the subject of near continuous controversy for almost 13 years.

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.

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Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod

McLeod says he would like a final resolution on the death.

While a judicial review, with an advisory panel of jurors, was held two years ago seeking answers about the manner of Ronda Reynolds’ death, the coroner’s inquest is an entirely different kind of proceeding and more details can be expected to be aired during the inquest.

For the judicial review, then-Lewis County Coroner Terry Wilson and his attorney chose to not call any witnesses to defend Wilson’s reasoning for choosing suicide. The panel, the judge and the audience heard days of testimony from the opposite side, Thompson’s witnesses who offered many reasons to show it was likely not a suicide. Even Thompson’s lawyer chose not to call upon those who presumably believed it to be suicide.

For the coroner’s inquest, a big difference is the elected coroner says he is striving to call upon all individuals who have first-hand or expert information about the death, and he has subpoena power.

Under McLeod’s inquest rules, Thompson as the decedent’s mother is deemed one of several “persons especially interested in the matter”. As such, Thompson is allowed by McLeod’s rules to submit a “brief” in opposition to the motions requesting quashing of the subpoenas.

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Barb Thompson

Her lawyer’s brief claims Ron, David, Jonathan and Joshua Reynolds do not have the right under the terms of the subpoenas to refuse to appear at the coroner’s inquest.

Since the corner’s inquest is not a criminal proceeding, there is no prejudice to the witnesses and they should not be excused from appearing, even if they invoke the privilege against self-incrimination in front of the jurors, Ferguson writes.

Further, attorney Ferguson claims, whether they may properly invoke the privilege must be determined by an inquiry; Ferguson suggests, for example, “… not all of the Reynolds witnesses are suspects of homicide (for which there is no statute of limitations), but they may only be suspects of having rendered criminal assistance or committed perjury (crimes for which the statute of limitations has run) and so there is no jeopardy upon which to base the exercise of the privilege.”

McLeod’s rules say his decisions on subpoena quash requests will “ordinarily” be made without oral argument; he said on Friday he expects to decide by Sept. 27.

Thompson’s lawyer Ferguson also notes in his filing he objects to leaving suicide on the table as one of the choices the inquest jury may choose from. His reasoning is the 2009 judicial review already concluded the label of suicide was incorrect, arbitrary and capricious.

Ferguson suggests not enforcing the subpoenas or keeping suicide as an option could result in another judicial review proceeding.

McLeod last month released a list of 36 witnesses he expects for the inquest, and on Friday said he sent out two more subpoenas, to Dr. John Demakas and Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds.

There’s one witness he wouldn’t name to whom he’s sent subpoenas to four addresses and still can’t locate, he said.

McLeod, when he held a press conference on Friday at the Lewis County Law and Justice Center, said he’s been asked if he intends to call former Lewis County Sheriff John McCroskey and former Lewis County Coroner Wilson to testify.

He won’t, McLeod said, as neither man was at the scene, and what they know is only what others told them or is their opinion.

The coroner’s inquest is set to begin on Oct. 10, and could last a week or could go on for six weeks, McLeod said.

“This will take as long as it takes,” he said.

McLeod said the jurors determination will be the verdict, as long as it doesn’t seem unreasonable to him.

It will be held in a Lewis County District Court room and begin at 9 a.m. each week day, according to his schedule. However, today he told the Lewis County board of commissioners he’s planning for only half days during the second week.

The courtroom is expected to have seating for 60 persons. Twenty are reserved for the news media and another 20 will be available to the public on a first come, first served basis each day.

Members of the public who want a seating pass may line up outside the courthouse no earlier than 6 a.m. each day, according to the coroner.

How long those lines will be can only be imagined: When true crime writer Ann Rule traveled to Centralia College in November to speak about and sign her book on the controversial death, more than 500 individuals filled the auditorium, and more were turned away.

McLeod expects a courtroom audio tape of the proceedings to be made and a transcript from it will be placed in a file available to the public.

On Friday, he estimated the cost of the coroners inquest to be somewhere around $35,000.

•••

See the rules governing the procedures for McLeod’s coroner’s inquest, here

Read most recent news story, “Breaking news: Witnesses subpoenaed for Reynolds’ coroner’s inquest” from Wednesday August 31, 2011, here

For more background, read “Jury finds coroner erred in ruling former trooper’s death a suicide”, here

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Fatal Centralia house fire is unexplainable

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 at 10:00 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The cause of the fire that killed a 94-year-old Centralia man over the weekend is likely to remain a mystery, according to authorities.

Robert Richard Zorn was found dead in his home Sunday morning of smoke inhalation, and a good-sized hole had burned through his dining room floor.

It had burned itself out and was cool when firefighters arrived, Riverside Fire Authority Assistant Chief Rick Mack said this morning.

“It just appears to be some tragic accident that we can’t define,” Mack said.

From the outside, the only evidence there had even been a fire at the house on the 1400 block of Johnson Road was the windows were sooted over, according to the fire department. Inside, there was heat and smoke damage to much of the single-story house.

The situation was discovered when one of Zorn’s brothers went to check on him Sunday morning. Investigators determined it had occurred sometime in the previous 24 hours, based on when Zorn was last seen.

Mack said the remains of a chair were found in the approximately 5-foot by 3-foot hole that burned through the carpet, the hardwood floor and the subfloor. It had self-extinguished for lack of oxygen, he said.

Investigators couldn’t find any reason electrical or otherwise for the fire, Mack said, and the cause will be listed as undetermined. Nothing was missing from the home to suggest an intruder or any foul play, he said.

There was evidence Zorn had tried to escape; he was found in a back room, Mack said.

An autopsy yesterday concluded he died from asphyxiation due to inhalation of toxic and combustible materials; the manner is accidental, according to Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod.

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Read about “chippy” defendant took offense at judge’s words …

Monday, September 19, 2011 at 7:26 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian writes the judge who found herself the potential target of a hit allegedly solicited by a defendant had scolded him in court for having a “chippy” attitude.

James R. Burnett, 27, was arrested Friday for solicitation to commit first-degree murder, in connection with a note he allegedly asked a fellow inmate to deliver asking someone to kill District Court Judge Kalo Wilcox, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Lt. Greg Elwin said the Lacey-area man offered an “eight-ball” of methamphetamine for the hit.

Olympian news reporter Jeremy Pawloski reported this evening that Burnett is now being held without bail.

Read more here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, September 19, 2011 at 11:18 am

THEFT

• A Centralia area woman reported yesterday that someone came into her home between 10:30 a.m. and noon while she was gone and stole three diamond necklaces, a Mac laptop computer, coins and as many as 40 other pieces of jewelry. A deputy called to the residence on the 3000 block on Zenkner Valley Road learned a neighbor holding a garage sale had seen a white SUV leaving the woman’s house, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss is estimated at more than $1,200.

• A 36-year-old Mossyrock area man returned home Friday night to discover a light on in his barn and almost $1,200 of tools stolen, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It happened sometime after 6:15 p.m. on the 200 block of Jarvis Road, according to the sheriff’s office. Among the missing items were a two-ton floor jack and three grinders, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Centralia police were called at midnight on Saturday to a burglary at the 1100 block of Prospect Avenue in Centralia. Somebody came inside and stole a purse, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police were called about 2:25 .m. Saturday to a bar on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia and told two purses had been stolen.

• Police were called about 6 p.m. on Friday to the 1100 block of J Street in Centralia where a female reportedly was seen leaving a home with unspecified property, according to Centralia police. A neighbor who confronted her recovered most of it and police are looking for the female, police reported.

• An X-Box, a Wii and a computer were stolen in a burglary at the 2900 block of Mount Vista Road in Centralia, according to a report made to police last Thursday afternoon.

• Three teenage boys were arrested for attempting to steal an ATV from the 1000 block of Mellen Street in Centralia on Thursday night, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MORE THEFT

• Chehalis police drawn to Sunbird Shopping Center on the 1600 block of North National Avenue just before 5 a.m. on Saturday arrested a 61-year-old man for allegedly pulling up a fence and taking tents and clothing. Gerald R. Loveless, a homeless person from the Chehalis and Centralia areas was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree burglary, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Centralia police were called to two different businesses on Thursday afternoon on the 1300 block of Lum Road about thefts. In both cases, the suspects were described as two black males and two females in an older red Jeep Cherokee, according to Centralia police.

• Police were called just before 9 a.m. yesterday to a report of a vehicle prowl on the 1300 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia. A laptop computer was taken, according to police.

DRUGS

• Centralia police arrested a 40-year-old Centralia resident yesterday for possession of methamphetamine after contact just before noon at the 1000 block of North Tower Avenue. Toni L. Maier was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• A 23-year-old Onalaska man was arrested about 2 a.m. on Sunday after a trooper reportedly observed him kick and break an outdoor light at a church near Northwest Cascade Avenue and Prindle Street and then throw his cell phone through the window of a nearby building. Marc T. Vetter was angry and intoxicated, according to Chehalis police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree malicious mischief, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A deputy was called to the Peace Lutheran Church on the 2000 block of Bishop Road in Chehalis on Saturday after the discovery that someone had come inside and trashed several rooms and broke a window. It happened sometime between Friday and Saturday and the loss is estimated at about $400, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

CEMETERIAN JOHN BAKER ARRESTED TWICE IN TWO DAYS

John C. Baker, 68, of Centralia, was arrested about 4:30 p.m. on Thursday for violation of a protection order at the 1900 block of Johnson Road in Centralia, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail. The arrest came less than 24 hours after Baker’s arrest in the same area the day before for trespass, according to the Centralia Police Department.