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Breaking news: Napavine shooting suspect jailed

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 11:01 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Javier Jimenez Villalavazo, the man wanted for allegedly shooting a 24-year-old woman outside a Napavine apartment, is in the Lewis County Jail tonight.

Villalavazo, 22, was booked about 9 p.m. for first-degree assault with a firearm, according to the jail roster.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said on Monday the unnamed woman was wounded when she was shot twice, they believed at about 10 p.m. on Sunday.

Sheriff’s detectives have been assisting the Napavine Police Department, a two-officer agency.

The suspect, who is also known as “The Joker”, has most recently been listed as living in Chehalis.

Few details and no suspected motive for the shooting have been released.

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News brief: Four booked as detectives seek suspected Napavine shooter

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 7:28 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – As deputies searched yesterday for the man suspected of shooting and wounding a woman in Napavine, they arrested four people at a “flop house” in Centralia.

Javier Jimenez Villalavazo, 22, is believed to be the gun man who on Sunday night fired at a 24-year-old Centralia woman outside a Napavine apartment, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

On Tuesday, a sheriff’s detective and other officers went to a house on the 600 block of State Street in south Centralia looking for Villalavazo, who also reportedly goes by the name “The Joker”.

Instead, they found 32 grams of suspected heroin, 24 grams of suspected methamphetamine, 11-plus grams of marijuana, digital scales, baggies and other paraphernalia, according to charging documents in Lewis County Superior Court.

Two men and two women at the house were arrested and then charged today with possession of methamphetamine and possession of heroin, according to the filings in their cases.

Charged were the resident, Ian D. Angelo, 33; John L. McNeal, 26, who said he’d lived there about a month; Natalie E. Sanchez-Anderson, 19; and Tammy R. Viers, 39.

All were ordered held on $10,000 bail. McNeal and Sanchez-Anderson have already been released.

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Read about Littlerock man gets prison for Capitol Forest murder …

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Olympian reports a second man was sentenced to prison today for last year’s kidnapping and slaying of 25-year-old Randen S. Robinson of Rochester.

News reporter Jeremy Pawloski writes Robinson was found dead with a gunshot wound to his head in the Capitol Forest on March 20, 2010.

Read about it here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, June 8, 2011 at 11:46 am

RAPE IN WINLOCK

Updated at 6:08 p.m. on Wednesday June 8, 2011

• Deputies arrested a 40-year-old man for second-degree rape yesterday after an incident the evening before in Winlock that left the victim with a black eye and other bruises, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said this morning that Jeffery S. Byrd, of Winlock, forced a female in her 40s to have sexual contact with him. Byrd was booked into the Lewis County Jail. He was ordered held on $100,000 bail this afternoon when he was charged with second-degree rape, domestic violence; and felony harassment, in connection with allegedly assaulting and threatening his live-in girlfriend.

THEFT

• Centralia police are investigating an incident from Yew and Elm streets yesterday in which a male said an acquaintance struck him in the back of the head and stole his cell phone.

• Police were called about 7:50 p.m. yesterday to the 500 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia where a woman said someone stole her dog out of her car while she was shopping.

• Chehalis police were called to the 1000 block of Cascade Avenue in Chehalis about 4:15 p.m. yesterday about a burglary in which a laptop computer and some jewelry were missing. There were no signs of forced entry, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Chehalis police took a report about 1:50 p.m. yesterday about a $1,000 money order taken from a vehicle parked at Wal-Mart on Northwest Louisiana Avenue. The item was sitting on the seat of the truck which had its windows rolled down and when the victim returned, it was gone, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS

• Two individuals were arrested after contact with police overnight on Yew and Alder streets in Centralia. Booked into the Lewis County Jail were Alexis T. Brandt, 34, of Silver Creek, for possession of heroin and an outstanding warrant and Jaimie R. Combs, 34, of Centralia, for a warrant, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police arrested a 31-year-old Centralia man for possession of heroin and a bond revocation after contact with him about 11 p.m. yesterday at the 1300 block of Lakeshore Drive in Centralia. Mark A. Silva was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

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Read about Longview teen arrested after ransom demand for the missing Kayla Croft-Payne …

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 7:45 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The (Longview) Daily News reports police arrested an 18-year-old after he allegedly claimed he “took” the long missing Kayla Croft-Payne and demanded $35,000 for her return.

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Kayla Croft-Payne on MySpace

News reporter Leslie Slape writes the Longview resident was arrested Sunday morning for first-degree extortion following a phone call to 911 saying he would kill Croft-Payne if the money wasn’t left in a certain place for him.

Croft-Payne was 18 years old 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.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has followed tips up into Pierce County, and down into Cowlitz County, saying in March the  last place they could verify she was seen was a trailer park in the Toutle area.

Read Slape’s news story here

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Registered sex offender notice: Man returns to Centralia

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office announced a level three registered sex offender recently moved from Thurston County to Centralia.

Seth R. Liebich, 24, is registered as living on the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue.

He is not wanted by law enforcement, but notification to the community is meant to inform the public and enhance public safety, according to the sheriff’s office.

Liebich, who is developmentally delayed, was convicted as a 16-year-old of indecent liberties with forcible compulsion involving a 19-year-old developmentally delayed female in Lewis County, according to sheriff’s detective Jamey McGinty. He was arrested at age 13 for sexual contact with a 7-year-old relative, but found not competent to stand trial, according to McGinty.

He has served his time and completed a sex offender treatment program, according to McGinty.

The sheriff’s office designated him as a level three sex offender because a history of sexually inappropriate behavior and an inability to control his compulsion, according to McGinty.

Liebich is described as 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighing 230 pounds with blond hair and blue eyes.

To see more details from the bulletin and a photo of Liebich, visit the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office web site level three sex offender page, here.

Questions? The sheriff’s office says call 360-748-9286 for detective McGinty or Chief Criminal Deputy Gene Seiber.
•••

To search for registered sex offenders living within a specified radius from your home, work or school, visit the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Offender Watch page, here. There, you can also find safety tips and other information, as well as register to receive email alerts if a new offender registers with an address near you. The same link can always be found on the sidebar of Lewis County Sirens.

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News brief: Log truck rolls onto its side in Chehalis

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A log truck driver was uninjured when his truck tipped onto its side near Kit Carson restaurant in Chehalis this afternoon.

It happened about 3:15 p.m., according to the Chehalis Fire Department

The truck was on Parkland Drive turning north onto Southwest Interstate Avenue when it “flopped” over, pretty much blocking all the lanes, according to fire Capt. Rob Gebhart.

The adult male driver was unhurt and the load fell off but stayed bundled together, Gebhart said.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 10:42 am

BAD-LOOKING WRECK

• A five-vehicle collision on Harrison Avenue in Centralia yesterday looked like it should have killed somebody but nobody ended up with more than minor injuries, according to responders. Police and aid were called about 1:10 p.m. to the area beneath Interstate 5 and found one car on its side on the sidewalk and four others involved. Centralia police reported a Rent a Center truck rear-ended a pickup truck and sped forward striking three other vehicles before coming to rest with significant damage. No arrests were made, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT

• Someone burglarized a home on the 1600 block of Windsor Avenue in Centralia yesterday morning, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Missing was a Wii game system.

• A deputy took a report yesterday about a theft of fence posts and other items from a barn on the 400 block of Jarvis Road in Mossyrock. It occurred sometime between 6 a.m. on Saturday and 8 p.m. on Sunday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

UNLAWFUL IMPRISONMENT

• A 42-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday morning for unlawful imprisonment and fourth-degree assault, domestic violence, according to police. Juan P. Mendez-Bezan was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with police on the 2900 block of Mount Vista Road in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• An 18-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for possession of heroin overnight. Kyrstin R. Daarud was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with police about 2 a.m. at Courtland and West Plum streets in Centralia, according to the Centralia Police Department.

INDECENT LIBERTIES

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office arrested and jailed an individual yesterday for indecent liberties. No information was released about the case.

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County leaders moving closer to tax for drug court

Tuesday, June 7, 2011 at 10:40 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County commissioners have drafted an ordinance to increase the local sales tax to fund drug court and other measures to reduce substance abuse and help keep mentally ill individuals stable and are asking for community feedback before voting on the measure.

A public hearing on the matter is set for June 20 during the regular 10 a.m. board of commissioners meeting.

Judge Nelson Hunt was told last fall the county budget could only pay for drug court one more year and has garnered support for a tax increase of one-tenth of one cent.

County Commissioner Bill Schulte said they have received about 500 letters in favor of the idea and only two or three opposed to it.

He spoke about the benefits of investing money up front to keep some people out of the jail.

“It looks like it could be cheaper,” Schulte said. “So dollar-wise, it looks like it’s starting to make sense.”

Supporters have said the increase would amount to about $20 per household per year.

Commissioner Ron Averill says there just isn’t enough money in the regular county budget, even though he considers it an investment that would reduce costs overall.

Both men said nine local city councils have endorsed the idea, with only three individual members opposed. (Judge Hunt later noted it was only eight of the nine municipalities in the county; Vader opposed the idea.)

The third county commissioner, Lee Grose, was unavailable for comment yesterday.

Sales tax in most of Lewis County, as in many places around the state is 7.7 percent. It varies in cities and counties as each tacks on portions of pennies to fund local initiatives.

Sales tax in Chehalis and Centralia is 7.9 percent.

It is as low as 7 percent in Skamania County and as high as 9.5 percent in much of King County.

Members of the public will get an opportunity to ask questions and share their opinion on the proposed ordinance at the hearing before a vote is taken by the commissioners.
•••

CORRECTION: Eight of the nine municipalities in Lewis County endorsed the sales tax idea; not all nine as two of the county commissioners said.

•••

Read background here

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News brief: Law enforcement searching for Napavine shooting suspect

Monday, June 6, 2011 at 3:39 pm
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Javier Jimenez Villalavazo

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Detectives are looking for a 22-year-old man known as “The Joker” in connection with the shooting of a woman in Napavine, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Javier Jimenez Villalavazo is considered armed and dangerous; anyone who knows his whereabouts is asked to call 911, according to a news release.

The sheriff’s office is assisting the Napavine Police Department in an investigation that led them to the 100 block of Haywire Road this morning.

A 24-year-old woman was shot twice outside an apartment there, they believe about 10 p.m. last night, according to news releases from the sheriff’s office. She has already been released from the hospital.

The incident came to the attention of law enforcement this morning, from the emergency room at Providence Centralia Hospital.

She was shot twice, the sheriff’s office reports. Her name was not released.

Villalavazo is described as 6 feet tall and weighing about 220 pounds, with a shaved head and brown eyes.

The sheriff’s office says his last known address is in Chehalis, but witnesses report seeing him in Centralia this morning.

The sheriff’s office says probable cause exists for his arrest for first-degree assault.

Further details are not available.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, June 6, 2011 at 11:36 am
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Smoke billows from a Centralia house on Sunday morning. / Courtesy photo by Rod Samuelson

HOUSE FIRE IN CENTRALIA

• Fire broke out in a Centralia home yesterday morning causing extensive damage in its basement, according to Riverside Fire Authority. Firefighters called about 7:17 a.m. found heavy smoke on the first floor of the two story house on the 300 block of North Iron Street, fire Capt. Terry Ternan said. The four occupants were already outside safely, he said. Nobody was hurt. It appeared to originate on a couch, according to Ternan. Investigators are looking into the possibility it was caused by a cigarette, he said.

CAR PROWLER SNAGS THREE FIREARMS

• Three handguns were stolen from inside a vehicle in a carport on the 200 block of Southeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis overnight, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The owner called police about 7 a.m. when he went to get in his SUV and found the door open. Also taken was a golf bag with clubs, according to police.

THWARTED BURGLARY

• Centralia police were called about 5:30 p.m. yesterday to a business  on the 100 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia where two males were chased off by an employee after attempting a burglary, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MORE THAN $5,000 CASH STOLEN FROM CHEHALIS-AREA HOME

• Somebody stole more than $5,200 cash in a burglary on the 100 block of Middle Fork Road outside Chehalis on Friday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Someone entered the home sometime between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. and damaged a safe, took the money, a computer and other items, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. There is a suspect, Brown said this morning.

CAR WRECKS

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports a car was totaled when its driver swerved to miss an oncoming truck and drove onto railroad tracks on the 100 block of Rogers Road in Chehalis on Friday. The truck continued on, according to the sheriff’s office. The 21-year-old female driver of the car is from from Tumwater, the sheriff’s office said. They did not report if she was injured.

CAR WINDOWS BROKEN

• Centralia police were called about 12:30 p.m. yesterday to the 1600 block of Oxford Avenue where both passenger side windows of a car were shattered.

FIVE CAUGHT SELLING BEER TO MINOR

• A bartender and four clerks were cited on Saturday night for furnishing alcohol to a minor during an undercover operation, , according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies working with agents from the Washington State Liquor Control Board and an underage “operative” contacted Theresa J. Fuller, 44, of Lacey, at K-Mart in Chehalis; Brandy F. Westfall, 27, of Chehalis, at the Chevron station on the 1100 block of state Route 6; Lili N. Holster, 30, of Chehalis, at The Pub in Pe Ell; and two un-named clerks at gas stations on Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to the sheriff’s office. All were cited and then released.

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News brief: Woman shot in Napavine

Monday, June 6, 2011 at 8:50 am

This news item was updated at 8:57 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A woman was shot and wounded outside an apartment complex in Napavine, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Detectives believe it occurred about 10 p.m. last night; they believe it was not a random incident and have a person of interest, according to a news release this morning.

Detectives are on the scene at the 100 block of Haywire Road.

The victim, a 24-year-old Centralia woman, was treated at Providence Centralia Hospital and has already been released, according to the sheriff’s office.

She was shot twice, the sheriff’s office reports. Her name was not released.

It happened inside the city limits of Napavine, but sheriff’s detectives are conducting the investigation due to the technical expertise needed for a complex investigation, according to the sheriff’s office.

More to come.

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Read about police officer shot, wounded near Olympia …

Monday, June 6, 2011 at 8:49 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

KIROtv.com reports a police officer – possibly with the Thurston County SWAT team – was shot and wounded this morning near Olympia.

Read about here

KOMOnews.com offers a few more details, here

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, June 5, 2011 at 7:00 pm

BURGLARY

• Centralia police were called about 2:30 a.m. on Saturday to an interrupted burglary at a home on the 900 block of North Tower Avenue. The intruder fled when the resident arrived but stolen goods discarded by him or her were located with the help of a police dog, according to Centralia police.

• Police were called Friday afternoon about a burglary to a garage on the 1800 block of Ham Hill Road in Centralia. Missing were power and hand tools, according to  the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• Police arrested a 46-year-old man yesterday morning at the 1700 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia for possession of heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana. Fred H. Isaacson, of Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police arrested a 24-year-old man on Saturday afternoon for possession of a prescription drug. David M. Smith, of Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail following his contact with an officer on the 100 block of North Tower Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 24-year-old Rochester woman was arrested for a warrant and possession of methamphetamine in Centralia on Friday afternoon, according to police. Angela M. Muxen was booked into the Lewis County Jail following her contact with an officer on the 1000 block of Harrison Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

ASSAULT

• Police are investigating a fight outside a tavern on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia occurring about 2 a.m. on Saturday, according to the Centralia Police Department.

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Registered sex offender notice: Centralia man now has no address

Sunday, June 5, 2011 at 11:47 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office announced a level two registered sex offender who has been residing in Centralia is now registered as homeless.

Justin A. Oliver, 23, is not wanted by law enforcement, but notification to the community is meant to inform the public and enhance public safety, according to the sheriff’s office.

Oliver finished serving his time in 2003 for sexually assaulting a 5-year-old neighbor girl when he was 12 or 13 years old, according to sheriff’s detective Jamey McGinty. His 2000 conviction in Lewis County Juvenile Court was for first-degree rape of a child, according to McGinty.

He was released from prison last September in connection with non-sexual crimes, according to McGinty.

The sheriff’s office designated him as a level two sex offender, meaning they believe he presents a clear risk to the community.

Oliver is described as 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 155 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes.

To see more details from the bulletin and a photo of Oliver, visit the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Offender Watch page, here.

Questions? The sheriff’s office says call 360-748-9286 for detective McGinty or Chief Criminal Deputy Gene Seiber.

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Centralia woman charged with killing her baby found competent for trial

Friday, June 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A judge found yesterday the 25-year-old Centralia woman accused of decapitating her premature newborn is competent for further proceedings in the case.

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Laura Lynn Hickey

Laura Lynn Hickey was arrested in early March after police found the deceased baby in a Tupperware container under the kitchen sink of her trailer home.

Prosecutors allege Hickey – who was about halfway through her pregnancy – used a serrated knife to cut off the infant’s head as it was trying to take a breath after she unexpectedly delivered it into a toilet.

She said she didn’t think it was going to live and she didn’t want it to suffer, according to charging documents.

Hickey pleaded not guilty yesterday to first-degree murder.

She has been jailed since March 9, the arraignment put on hold while she underwent psychological evaluations at Western State Hospital.

Doctors were asked to look into issues of competency, insanity and diminished capacity.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Nelson Hunt’s finding yesterday of competency is related to her ability to understand the proceedings and assist in her own defense.

His decision made it possible to move forward, with yesterday’s arraignment and the scheduling of a trial for next February.

Hickey lived in a fifth-wheel trailer at the Peppertree Motor Inn and RV Park in Centralia and has no income or assets, according to the attorney who represented her for her first court appearance.

She reportedly told police she used methamphetamine two days before the incident and had been awake since then. The state had previously taken three of her children out of her home.

Charging documents indicate an emergency room doctor estimated Hickey was about 21 weeks along in her pregnancy when he examined her after what she initially said was a miscarriage.

Her court-appointed lawyer, Kenneth Johnson, has said whether a fetus at that stage of development can survive outside its mother’s womb is an issue that will come up in this case.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer contends the autopsy indicated the fetus was born alive and was viable.

Hickey remains in the Lewis County Jail, held on $1 million bail.

•••

Read “Mental evaluation ordered for Centralia mother charged with killing baby” from Thursday March 17, 2011, here

Read “Mother charged with killing newborn, held on $1 million bail” from Friday March 11, 2011, here

Read “Centralia woman accused of decapitating her newborn” from Wednesday March 9, 2011, here

Read “News brief: “Remains” found under sink after apparent miscarriage to be examined by coroner” from Wednesday March 2, 2011, here

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News brief: One dead following Centralia-Alpha Road crash

Friday, June 3, 2011 at 11:02 am

This news item was updated at 3:25 p.m. on Friday June 3, 2011

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 32-year-old Chehalis man was killed when his car hit a power pole overnight east of Chehalis, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Troopers were called about 2:30 a.m. to the 1500 block of Centralia-Alpha Road where a 1993 Subaru Legacy was wrecked, the state patrol reported.

Colter Dunivin died from his injuries, according to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.

His car had been heading southbound and failed to negotiate a sweeping right hand curve, according to the patrol. It traveled over the centerline and off the road before colliding with the pole, according to the investigating trooper.

It’s unknown if drugs or alcohol were involved, the state patrol reported.

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Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, June 3, 2011 at 11:01 am

ASSAULT

• Centralia police are looking for suspects after a man was assaulted overnight at a downtown bar, resulting in a dislocated shoulder. Officers called about 12:30 a.m. to the Tower Tavern reported the injury occurred when the patron fell to the ground. Suspects are not identified as of yet, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• A 15-year-old boy was arrested yesterday morning at Chehalis Middle School for possession of marijuana and booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center. The student had a pipe and very small amount of marijuana, according to Chehalis police.

• A 42-year-old Chehalis woman was arrested last night in Centralia  for unlawful possession of prescription medication. Stephanie L. Greene was cited for driving with a suspended license when she was contacted by an officer about 10:15 p.m. on West First and N streets, according to police. She was subsequently booked into the Lewis County Jail, police reported.

BURGLARY

• A 75-year-old Chehalis area man returned home about 4:15 p.m. yesterday to find someone had attempted to break into his home. The glass on the french doors in his bedroom had been smashed out and the door knob unlocked. A deputy called to the 100 block of Cristler Road reported it appeared nobody actually came inside and nothing seemed to be missing, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

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News brief: Special Olympics Torch Run today

Friday, June 3, 2011 at 10:18 am

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics was set to depart From Winlock High School about 8:20 a.m. today and wind its way north ending in Fort Borst Park in Centralia this afternoon.

The event is a way law enforcement officers support the local athletes set to compete this weekend at Joint Base Lewis-McChord; money raised will help participants with travel and other expenses, according to Centralia police detective Doug Lee.

The route passes by Napavine High School, Bethel Church in Napavine, W.F. West High School in Chehalis, Centralia Christian School, Fuller’s grocery in Centralia, Destiny Christian Center in Centralia, Edison Elementary School in Centralia and Centralia High School.

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Chehalis National Guardsman guilty in child assault

Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 5:47 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS -  Steven Grant Williams admitted he left a handprint-shaped bruise on the butt of his girlfriend’s 7-year-old boy, and switched to using a belt because he thought it wouldn’t leave marks.

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Steven Grant Williams

He described the bruises on the child’s elbows and elsewhere from when he held the boy’s head under the shower, trying to teach him to wash his own hair.

The boy would thrash around, “spaz out” and get so combative, sometimes Williams would simply let go, and the child would fall in the tub.

He knew it would hurt, Williams acknowledged, but he didn’t know what else to do during the shower sessions. The child smelled like feces, he said.

“I was concerned if I tried to hold on to him the same way, he could break his shoulder,” Williams said.

The Chehalis man and the child’s mother told the jury the first-grader didn’t know his alphabet, didn’t know his numbers and didn’t know how to clean himself. Since she was working and Williams wasn’t, Williams tried to teach him those things, during a two to three week visit last summer.

When the boy was returned to his paternal grandmother, who he lived with, she saw his bruises and took him directly to the hospital. A responding officer contacted Chehalis police and reported the 7-year-old boy’s body was covered in bruises.

After Williams’ arrest last August, Chehalis’s deputy police chief called it one of the most extensive child abuse cases he’d seen in his career.

The youngster’s two black eyes were so swollen, he had to open his eyes wide just to see, a social worker told the jury.

A bruise on his cheek: “He said that was when he got smacked silly,” the social worker said.

Williams told the jury the black eyes appeared about four days before the child left.

He didn’t know how it happened. One theory was it may have been a bug bite, or maybe an allergy, or he fell out of bed and hit the lamp, the mother Sarra Dennis said.

She saw it when she returned home from work one morning from a night shift at a casino.

“Most of his head was swelling, the top of it,” Dennis said.

The explanations came during a jury trial last week in Lewis County Superior Court.

Williams, now 40, was charged with assault of a child in the second-degree.

The jury learned that Williams didn’t know until almost the end of the visit that the child took baths, not showers.

“Did you ever think of giving (the child) a bath?” Deputy Prosecutor Colin Hayes asked him.

“No, not until this was all over with,” Williams answered.

It took the jury just 90 minutes late Friday afternoon to find the National Guardsman guilty as charged.

When he returns to the courtroom at the end of the month, Williams faces a standard sentencing range of two and a half to three and a half years, Hayes said today.

But because the jury found aggravating factors, he could potentially be sentenced to as long as 10 years, Hayes said.

No credible explanation for the injuries on the boy’s face and head were uncovered during the three-day trial, according to Hayes.

“We’ll never know all the things he did to that kid,” Hayes said. “I suspect there was a lot more going on.”

Williams is scheduled to be sentenced at 9 a.m. on June 27.

•••

Read “Chehalis National Guardsman charged with assault of 7-year-old boy” from Saturday Aug. 21, 2010, here

Read “Chehalis National Guardsman pleads not guilty to assaulting child” from Friday Aug. 27, 2010, here

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News brief: Lewis County Sheriff’s Office gets accredited

Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office announced yesterday it has become an accredited law enforcement agency.

The more than year-long process is one that takes considerable effort and determination to complete, and is something the community should be very proud of, according to the sheriff’s office.

The formal notice came last week from the Washington Association of Sheriff’s and Police Chiefs, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

“The men and women employed by this office continually strive to make a positive difference in our community,” Sheriff Steve Mansfield wrote. “The accreditation is just another way to show members of this community how truly professional and progressive our office is.”

Among various objectives, accreditation is meant to demonstrate an agency meets commonly accepted standards for efficient and effective operation, according to WASPC.

Only about 50 agencies statewide are accredited, according to the sheriff’s office.

The Chehalis Police Department was the first agency in the county to receive accreditation in 1999 and the Centralia Police Department followed in late 2008.