Posts Tagged ‘By Sharyn L. Decker’

Relatives seeking answers, financial accountability for funeral homes’ body mixup

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The lawyer for the family of the man who was mistakenly cremated and whose casket was inhabited by a stranger at his funeral service in Chehalis said they held back on filing a lawsuit until the state licensing authority finished its investigation.

It didn’t provide them all the answers they were looking for, attorney Shawn Briggs said.

“It focused on where the initial mistake was made, and it really stopped there,” Briggs said. “It didn’t address how the mistake was perpetuated.”

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Jerry Moon

Jerry Moon was 72 years old when he died in October 2013 at a hospice facility in Longview.

He and his wife Jan Moon lived in Castle Rock, but he, having been born and raised in Chehalis, had plans to be buried in his family plot in Claquato Cemetery, according to Briggs.

Sixteen years earlier, he had entered into a pre-arranged contract with Brown Mortuary Service of Chehalis, at a guaranteed price of $4,655, that provided for arrangement and professional staff services, and various other items including embalming, viewing, funeral and graveside services as well as disposition by burial in a casket, according to the lawsuit.

Jerry Moon feared cremation, according to Briggs.

Briggs and Briggs of Lakewood filed the complaint for damages last week in Lewis County Superior Court on behalf of Jan Moon and other immediate family members.

According to the lawsuit, and to an investigation conducted by the Washington State Funeral and Cemetery Board, on October 13, 2013, acting at the request or direction of Brown Mortuary’s parent company Service Corporation International, an employee of Dahl McVicker Funeral Home picked up Moon’s body from Community Home Health and Hospice in Longview. In the same trip, he collected the body of another man who had died there at nearly the same time.

Instead of putting identification bracelets on the bodies at the hospice, he brought them back to McVicker’s where he put Moon’s bracelet on Robert Petitclerc; and he placed Petitclerc’s bracelet on Moon.

On Oct. 15, an employee of McVicker’s released the body labeled Moon to a Brown’s employee for transport to Lewis County.

Another employee of McVicker’s took the body labeled Petitclerc to be cremated on Oct. 17.

The state licensing board placed blame for the mixup on Dahl McVicker, and the sanctions for unprofessional conduct included a fine of $12,500 and one year of probation, according to an agreed order signed last May.

Christine Anthony, a spokesperson for licensing board said they found no wrongdoing on the part of Brown Mortuary, concluding it was unaware of the misidentification and didn’t commit any violations.

The lawsuit filed on April 21 seeking an unspecified amount of damages names both entities, specifically Service Corporation International, doing business as Brown Mortuary Service and The Pierce Group, doing business as Dahl McVicker Funeral Home.

SCI, a Texas corporation, describes itself as the North America’s largest deathcare provider of funeral, cremation and cemetery services.

Moon’s funeral service was held on Oct. 21, 2013 at Brown’s.

The lawsuit contends Brown’s conspired to cover up that Moon had been mistakenly cremated, and that defendants knew the wrong body was delivered to Brown’s and acted in concert to conceal the error.

The suit states Brown’s knew or should have known the body – of a man in his 90s – they embalmed and dressed in Moon’s clothing was not Moon.

In preparing for the service, Brown’s was provided with over 60 photographs of Moon.

“When the casket was opened at the end of the service, guests were horrified by what appeared to be a plastic bag covering the head and face of the body in the casket,” the lawsuit states. “When the plastic was removed, guests at the service, including the plaintiffs, were shocked to discover that the body inside was not Moon’s.”

Despite knowledge to the contrary, representatives of Browns insisted and tried to convince Moons’ family the body in the casket was Moon and should be buried as planned in his grave, the lawsuit contends.

“The manager was insistent it was him,” Briggs said. “Saying, people do look different after death.”

“They don’t grow a full head of hair,” he said.

Moon was bald with a recently shaved head when he died.

Briggs said the conversation continued until Brian Moon said, “Show me my dad’s colostomy bag.”

“And in the next breath, the manager said, ‘No, it isn’t him, but it wasn’t my fault’.”

Briggs said Brown’s then put the son on the phone with McVicker, and he was in total shock and grief, learning his father had been cremated.

“It was chaos,” Briggs said.

The suit also claims Jan Moon was charged $8,834 by Brown’s to do what it had previously contracted to do for $4,655, and that afterward, sent her a refund check for $92.72.

“Instead of being treated with dignity, Jerry Moon’s family was demeaned and denied the opportunity to honor their loved one in laying him to rest,” Briggs wrote.

Multiple phone calls to Brown Mortuary manager Daniel LaPlaunt seeking comment were not returned.

The suit asks for damages for the plaintiffs’ emotional distress, financial losses and other special damages to be proven at trial.

Briggs said he previously represented the family of the other man, Petitclerc. They never actually filed suit, he said, they discussed it and negotiated a settlement.

The defendants have 60 days to respond to the complaint, once they are served, he said.

After that, “We go though the litigation process,” he said. “Put people under oath and ask people questions about why they did what they did, and then we end up in front of a jury.”

News brief: Five years later: Vigil set in Chehalis park for Kayla Croft-Payne

Saturday, April 25th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The family of Kayla Croft-Payne will host a gathering tomorrow in Chehalis to mark the five year anniversary of the disappearance of the then 18-year-old Lewis County girl.

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Kayla Croft-Payne

The vigil will be held at 2 p.m. at Penny Playground in Recreation Park in Chehalis.

Croft-Payne was living in a trailer between Chehalis and Napavine 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.

Last year at this time, a detective with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office attended the get together at the park and said he had some investigating to follow up on in the coming weeks.

Anyone with any information on her whereabouts can contact the sheriff’s office at 360-748-9286.

Anonymous tips can be left at: Crime Stoppers of Lewis County 1-800-748-6422.

What: Vigil for Kayla Croft-Payne
Where: Recreation Park, Penny Playground in Chehalis, 221 SW 13th St.
When: 2 p.m. Sunday April 26, 2015
•••

For background, read :

• “Kayla Croft-Payne: Detective actively on a trail for missing Lewis County girl” from Saturday April 26, 2014, here

News brief: Where there’s smoke, there will be firefighters practicing tomorrow

Friday, April 24th, 2015

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Napavine area residents can expect to see smoke and flames as early 10 a.m. tomorrow, as firefighters-in-training burn down a house.

Personnel and equipment will be on scene in the 900 block of Rush Road, according to Newaukum Valley Fire and Rescue, formerly known as Lewis County Fire District 5.

Firefighter Maria Kennedy said crews from multiple area departments will participate.

“This type of training provides firefighter recruits with a controlled and realistic fire behavior experience, with emphasis on firefighter safety,” Kennedy states in a news release.

Kennedy said how long it lasts will be in part weather dependent.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, April 24th, 2015

Updated at 4:13 p.m.

WOMAN AND DAD BOTH JAILED FOR ASSAULT

• A 68-year-old Chehalis man and his grown daughter were arrested yesterday afternoon following a family fight. Responding deputies heard varying accounts, including that 35-year-old Linnea M. Weilacher threw unspecified items at her mother, that the father grabbed the daughter by the throat and hair to try to get her out of the house and that the daughter stabbed her father with a crochet hook, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The mom said the daughter only scratched him with it, according to the sheriff’s office. Richard C. Peters, 68, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree assault, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. Weilacher was booked for fourth-degree assault, according to Brown.  Peters was released with no charges filed pending further investigation.

DRUGS AT SCHOOL

• A pair of 14-year-olds were arrested at Chehalis Middle School yesterday for allegedly having roughly a gram of marijuana in a pill bottle, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The boy and the girl were booked into the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, according to police.

VANDALISM

• Centralia police took a report of graffiti to  building yesterday at the 600 block of J Street.

CHIMNEY CATCHES FIRE

• Firefighters were called about noon yesterday for a chimney fire at the 300 block of Downing Road in Centralia. The flames were confined to the chimney and the homeowner was advised to get it inspected, according to Riverside Fire Authority.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, drugs, allowing unauthorized person to drive, driving with suspended license; responses for stolen wallet, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

LIQUOR THEFT SUSPECT LOCKED UP

• A 32-year-old Castle Rock resident was arrested yesterday in connection with at least two nighttime two break-ins to a grocery store on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in which alcohol was stolen. Centralia police say Mark A. Peltchie was detained in Chehalis as he matched the description of the person who broke a window at Fuller’s Shop ‘N Kart, and was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree burglary.

WOMAN IMPLICATED IN THEFT OF “TABLET”

• Police are suggesting charges of burglary and trafficking in stolen property for a 23-year-old Centralia woman who allegedly tried to sell a “tablet” that had recently been stolen in a case associated with the 700 block of North Washington Avenue, Centralia police reported this morning. The suspect was not arrested, according to the Centralia Police Department.

ETHEL ROOF CATCHES FIRE

• An ember from a neighbor’s burn pile ignited the cedar shake roof of a house on the 100 block of Pinkerton Road in Ethel late yesterday afternoon, according to a fire investigator. Firefighters called about 5:45 p.m. extinguished it fairly quickly but an approximately 10-foot by 10-foot section of the roof was burned, according to Lewis County Fire District 8. The neighbor’s burning brush pile was not all that large and was approximately 120 to 150 feet away, Chief Duran McDaniel said. Investigator Ted McCarty said the person doing the burning noticed what happened and went next door to let the neighbor know.

VEHICLE VERSUS TREE

• A motorist was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital yesterday after his truck collided with a tree on East Brown Road near Ramsey Road west of Napavine late yesterday afternoon. The truck was totaled, according to Lewis County Fire District 5.

POLICE LOOKING FOR SUSPECT IN HIT AND RUN

• A 77-year-old Onalaska woman escaped serious injury when she was knocked to the ground by a vehicle in the parking lot at Subway in Chehalis yesterday afternoon. Police called about 4:20 p.m. to the 100 block of Southwest Interstate Avenue were told the white pickup truck was backing up slowly and its driver may not have even been aware of what happened, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The truck left and officers are still investigating, according to police.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, drugs, underage drinking, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, dispute, harassment, misdemeanor theft  … and more.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Updated at 2:09 p.m.

BEEPING BOX EMPTIES CENTRALIA LIBRARY

• A package sent to the Centralia library which began beeping this morning caused the building to be cleared out and a bomb squad called around 11 a.m. Centralia Police Department Sgt. Stacy Denham said the box was X-rayed, and turned out to contain someone’s personal belongings, as though someone else had packaged them up for them. It included items like a small Hibachi, a watch a speaker, and an ID card, Denham said. Police suspect the sender used the library’s return address on South Silver Street because they didn’t want the parcel to get returned to their address. Police are trying to contact the intended recipient, who they believe knows nothing about it, he said.

K-9 TRACKS TO APARTMENTS AFTER MORNING BREAK-IN

• Centralia police were dispatched about 2:45 a.m. today to an interrupted attempted burglary at the grocery store on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in which the suspect appeared to be the same person from an incident the night before. A Lewis County Sheriff’s Office police dog assisted with a track in the area which led to a nearby apartment building, according to the Centralia Police Department. Yesterday at about 4 a.m. officers responded to the same place after someone broke a window to grab a bottle of liquor. The investigation continues, according to police.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Centralia police yesterday took a report of power tools getting stolen from the back of a pickup truck at the 1700 block of Shamrock Lane on Friday night.

MISSING LICENSE PLATE

• Chehalis police were called yesterday by an individual who said the license plate was stolen from their car while parked at Safeway on South Market Boulevard.

EXPOSED

• A 37-year-old Centralia man was arrested yesterday for indecent exposure in association with an approximately 10:25 a.m. call to the 600 block of Centralia College Boulevard. Charles R Simpson  booked into the Lewis County Jail,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

COLLISION

• Chehalis police responded to the area near Kresky Avenue about 2:40 p.m. yesterday for a two-vehicle collision that may have involved one of them traveling the wrong direction on a one-way street. Further details were not readily available.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, protection order violation, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, dispute, vandalism, hit and run, big dog attacking little dog, stolen jewelry, suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets … and more.

News brief: One dead in single-vehicle collision

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

Updated at 12:50 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A 35-year-old Mossyrock man died last night when his truck collided with a tree in Silver Creek.

Troopers called just before 8 p.m. to state Route 122 report Joseph A. Cowles had been traveling eastbound when his Chevrolet pickup left the roadway and struck a tree on its right side. It happened about 500 yards west of the entrance to Ike Kinswa State Park, according to Lewis County Fire District 3.

Cowles was deceased at the scene, according to the Washington State Patrol.

Fire Chief Doug Fosburg said the load of plywood he was carrying shifted from the force of the impact, and went through the passenger compartment into the windshield of the work truck.

The truck was totaled; it was impounded, according to the state patrol.

The cause is under investigation.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, April 20th, 2015

DOMESTIC ASSAULT

• Chehalis police were called to a physical dispute about 10 a.m. on Saturday at the 300 block of Southwest Third Street where they arrested an 18-year-old male for second-degree assault for allegedly choking a 17-year-old female. He said she stabbed him with scissors, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Jacob J. Killian, of Chehalis, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

• A 46-year-old Chehalis man was arrested for second-degree assault and his son for fourth-degree assault after police were called about 8:30 a.m. yesterday to the 1000 block of Southeast Washington Avenue in Chehalis. A Chehalis Police Department spokesperson said an officer was told the dad grabbed the son by the neck and began to choke him and the son got angry and “went after him.” Raymond R. Welch, 46, and Robert B.T. Welch, 18, were both booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police. Prosecutors declined to file the felony charge against the older Welch.

ALCOHOL HEIST

• Centralia police responded to the 500 block of South Tower Avenue about 4 o’clock this morning where someone had broken a window to a business and stole liquor. The investigation is ongoing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FOOD HEIST

• Someone stole food from a garage pantry and freezer on the 100 block of Pinkerton Road in Ethel sometime between 8 o’clock on Saturday night and 10 o’clock the following morning. They also took the garage door opener, a box of old cassette tapes and packaged bathroom tissue, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

BARN THEFT

• A deputy responded on Friday to the 100 block of Baker Road in Randle where someone had stolen an air compressor from a barn, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s office.

BOAT THEFT

• A 54-year-old Oakville man called the sheriff’s office on Friday after discovering his stolen aluminum boat for sale on Craigslist. The 12-foot boat vanished from his rental property on the 100 block of Sheridan Street in Centralia sometime between April 10 and last Wednesday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Centralia police were called to the 1300 block of Rhobina Street just after 3 p.m. yesterday when a female caught someone rifling through he vehicle, however, the subject got away, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• A window was broken on a building on the 600 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia, according to a  report made to police about 9:15 p.m. yesterday.

• Centralia police took a report of a window getting broken on a truck about 1:45 a.m. yesterday at the 100 block of South Tower Avenue.

LOST AND FOUND

• A baggie of a crystal substance was found on the floor at Wal-Mart last night and turned over to the Chehalis Police Department. No need to try to claim it, it’s going to be destroyed, according to police.

WRECKS

• A 54-year-old-man was booked into the Lewis County Jail for driving under the influence after his rolled his 2006 Ford Ranger on Friday evening on the 600 block of Boistfort Road west of Chehalis. Timothy D. Lyon ended up with minor abrasions to his hands, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He was wearing a seat belt, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

• A 39-year-old Chehalis woman escaped with scrapes to her face but her car was totaled when a deer jumped out of a ditch on the 1600 block of Pleasant Valley Road on Saturday evening, causing her to swerve, lose control and roll her car, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A 30-year-old Portland man was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital on Friday afternoon after his Honda Prelude struck the concrete center barrier then a semi truck, then rolled and came to rest on the barrier on Interstate 5 south of Chehalis. Sean T. Gaston’s car was impounded and towed; the Freightliner was able to be driven from the scene, according to the Washington State Patrol. Gaston was cited for wheels off the roadway.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, obstructing, shoplifting, malicious mischief, protection order violation, misdemeanor domestic assault, driving with suspended license, driving under the influence, possession of marijuana by a 19-year-old; responses for alarms, dispute, harassment, hit and run, stolen cell phone, disorderly person, suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets, collisions on county roads, someone getting accidentally locked inside the Lewis County Mall at closing … and more.

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A 1994 Honda Prelude came to rest on the center median near milepost 67 on Interstate 5 on Friday afternoon.

News brief: Tree claims life of skier at White Pass

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Updated at 11:41 a.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A skier died at White Pass this weekend after colliding with a tree.

The 60-year-old Olympia woman lost control after going over a “roller” or bump and was traveling backwards when she went into the tree line on Saturday, according to authorities.

An off-duty ski patrol member witnessed the approximately 11:30 a.m. accident, but efforts to revive the woman were unsuccessful, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Cathy Carlson was pronounced dead before responders got her to the lodge.

Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said the incident occurred at the White Pass Ski Resort’s Couloir run in the newer expansion area.

Man, grandson burned in Randle fire

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Updated at 6:16 p.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two men were injured in a fire early this morning east of Randle, one of them a 67-year-old who was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Firefighters were called around 4:30 a.m. to the 700 block of Carr Road by a neighbor, according to responders.

Lewis County Fire District 14 Firefighter Ron Blankenship said he and his wife – both advanced EMTs – arrived first and found the man and his 23-year-old grandson walking toward the road.

About 200 yards behind them, he could see what he understood was a trailer house fully involved in flames, he said.

The grandfather had burns on 20 percent of his body, on his arms, legs, chest and head, Blankenship said.

The younger man had minor burns on at least one hand and his front, he said. He was taken to Morton General Hospital, he said.

Firefighters were joined by members of Lewis County Fire District 10 in Packwood.

Fire Investigator Jay Birley said there was so little left, he couldn’t be certain what it was before it burned and doubted he would pinpoint a cause.

“It looked like he had a trailer, there was a metal frame on cinder blocks,” Birley said. “It looked like wood frame structures were added onto the sides.”

The resident had no electricity, and Birley learned from a deputy on the scene, the man had had issues with his wood stove door.

Crime Stoppers: Be on the lookout for Glenoma man’s KGB wristwatch

Friday, April 17th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detectives are looking for help in solving a burglary in which an 83-year-old Glenoma man lost thousands of dollars worth of cash, firearms and presumably irreplaceable belongings including a silver Russian KGB wrist watch.

It was almost two weeks ago, on Sunday April 5, when somebody got into his home through an unsecured door at the 8300 block of U.S. Highway 12 and stole 10 handguns and other valuables, according to the sheriff’s office.

Among the property missing are more than 150 pictures circa 1900s in a mahogany box, as well as an antique stereoscope, according to Chief Deputy Bruce Kimsey.

Also taken was $6,500 in cash and two half-karat diamond rings.

The total loss is estimated at more than $14,000.

Lewis County Crime Stoppers is hoping for tips.

If anyone knows anything about the location of the stolen property or who is responsible for taking it, they are asked to please call right away.

Crime Stoppers pays up to $1,000 for information leading to the clearance of crimes. Anonymous calls can be made to 1-800-748-6422 or information may be shared online at www.lewiscountycrimestoppers.org

The missing items include:

• Ruger 44 magnum revolver
• Smith and Wesson 22 caliber revolver
• Two High Standard 22 caliber pistols
• Two Iver Johnson 32 caliber revolvers
• Two Argentine 45 caliber pistols
• Savage 32 caliber pistol
• Stevens 22 caliber revolver
• Boker Gaucho hunting knife
• German Linder hunting knife
• Leupold hunting knife
• A German hunting knife
• Croton wrist watch
• Phase-of-the-moon wrist watch
• Wrist watch
• Another $1,500 worth of jewelry
• Two Exakta 35 mm cameras, with a 2.0 lens and a 2.8 lens

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, April 17th, 2015

FAMILY DISPUTE

• A 35-year-old man was arrested last night for allegedly threatening family members at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue. William J. Coe, of Chehalis, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for harassment, according to the Centralia Police Department.

GARAGE BURGLARY

• Centralia police were called about 9 a.m. yesterday to the 300 block of South Street about a gas can stolen from a garage.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Police took a report yesterday of a car prowl that occurred three weeks earlier at the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia. Medication was reported missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, drugs, driving under the influence; responses for alarms, dispute, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more.

News brief: I-5 construction area crash sends one to Harborview

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Updated at 9:47 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

One person was airlifted after a collision early this morning between a motorcycle and a Mack truck at a freeway onramp in Centralia.

Firefighters called at 5:20 a.m. to the northbound Harrison Avenue entrance to Interstate 5 found a male on the ground with unspecified injuries.

Riverside Fire Authority reports the Rochester fire department set up a helicopter landing zone at the Scatter Creek Rest Area so the patient could be flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Fire Capt. Erik Olson described the injuries as serious.

According to the Washington State Patrol, a dump truck was turning onto the ramp from a construction site when the motorcycle entering the freeway struck its trailer. Scott R. Bliss, 44, of Rochester was ejected from his 2007 Harley Davidson, according to the state patrol.

Police closed the northbound ramp and a portion of Harrison was also blocked. Trooper Will Finn advised motorists to expect delays.

Wesley G. Snelson, 61, from Galvin, was the driver of the 2004 Mack dump truck and was reportedly unhurt. His rig was not damaged, according to the investigating trooper.

Bliss had been wearing a helmet; his motorcycle was described as totaled and was impounded.

The collision remains under investigation.

The deal: Griel Road residents sentenced to 30 days for growing marijuana

Thursday, April 16th, 2015
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Laveta Arnold shares the defense table with her husband James Arnold as the two go before Lewis County Superior Court Judge James Lawler.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Onalaska couple arrested in February after police cleaned out what was described as an elaborate indoor garden with more than 600 marijuana plants at their Griel Road property were each given 30 days in jail yesterday.

James L. Arnold and Laveta L. Arnold told officers they’d been growing personal medicinal marijuana for more than 15 years, but during the past five were selling it for profit, generating approximately $136,000 per year, according to court documents.

Centralia police contended the money financed numerous safari trips to Africa to hunt large trophy animals and paid for various assets which were all seized.

A plea deal was worked out in which a charge of money laundering was dropped. The couple, ages 55 and 52, have no previous criminal history, and have been free on bail since two days after they were jailed.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Paul Masiello said the maximum penalty of five years in prison and the standard sentencing range for their remaining offenses were the same as for felony possession of drugs.

Yesterday morning, in Lewis County Superior Court, the Arnolds pleaded guilty to manufacture of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to to deliver.

The standard range is zero to six months in the county jail. Masiello and defense attorneys made an agreed recommendation to the judge they each serve 30 days.

Their lawyer Keith Hall told the judge the Arnolds understood they needed to take responsibility and wanted to put it behind them.

Judge James Lawler said it was a difficult case, because of the magnitude of it.

He said he’d looked over numerous letters of support, and in doing so, saw how much of a double life they were leading.

“That confirms to me people can project what they want to, while at the same time doing something extraordinarily illegal,” Lawler said.

Four rows of benches on each side of the small courtroom were nearly filled with family and friends during the morning hearing.

The judge explained that his usual method of deciding a sentence is starting at the middle of the range and then looking for reasons to give more time or less time.

“The fact you’ve been involved in the community and done a lot of things is a basis to go down,” he said. “The nature and extent of this is a reason to go up.”

The Arnolds were active in the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue program. She is a master gardner, according to Hall.

Lawler said he would go along with what the lawyers negotiated. Neither of the Arnolds chose to make any statement on their own behalf.

The judge agreed that while Laveta Arnold was taken into custody after the hearing, James Arnold could wait to check into jail on May 12.

Masiello asked for and was granted an order assessing them each $1,900 in various fees, minus a portion based on the plea negotiations.

Lawler reminded them both they’ve lost their right to use, own or possess firearms, as is customary with felony convictions.

“You would be committing another felony,” he said. “The sentence for illegal possession of a firearm is far worse than what you’re facing here today, so don’t mess with that.”

The case began at the end of last year as an investigation into a money laundering operation by the Centralia Police Department’s Anti-Crime Team and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Police said James Arnold was a vice president of a medical marijuana dispensary in the Olympia area called Urban Medicinals as well as another location in the Tacoma area. The couple owns a business called Alpha Marine Installations based at their Onalaska home.

Centralia police said after the arrests, the case would also be referred to the Internal Revenue Service for investigation of possible tax fraud and to state authorities for business tax evasion.

Besides the plants, when police and deputies served the search warrant, they seized more than 40 pounds of marijuana processed and packaged  for sale with a street value of at least $2,000 per pound; five vehicles including a 1948 Ford hot rod pickup and a 1969 Chevy Corvette; 33 guns included hunting rifles, assault rifles and handguns; and approximately 30 mounted animal heads.

Centralia police said James Arnold admitted to purchasing all or part of the vehicles with the proceeds.

Kent-based lawyer Hall said now that the criminal case is done, he and his partner Bradley G. Barshis will work on the civil forfeiture case being handled by the city of Centralia’s attorney.

“The way that works is they take everything, and you have a right to ask for a hearing to contest it,” he said.

The state medical marijuana law allows for up to 15 plants or 24 ounces for a qualifying patient.

And Initiative 502 passed by voters in November 2012 allows recreational use by adults and set up rules under which those obtaining a state license may cultivate and package cannabis and related products.

Any applicant for a county business license in unincorporated Lewis County however would need to provide approval from the federal government, which still outlaws marijuana. The county has issued no licenses to grow marijuana.
•••

For background, read “Onalaska illegal marijuana enterprise case headed toward plea deal instead of trial” from Friday April 3, 2015, here

House fire: Potted plants equal dangerous ashtrays

Thursday, April 16th, 2015
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Firefighters found the roof burning when they arrived to a house fire on the 100 block of Hideaway Hills Lane on Monday morning. / Courtesy photo

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The fire that destroyed the home of a mother and two teenage children east of Centralia was caused by a cigarette put into a soil-filled planter on the front porch that smoldered for hours, before the planter itself caught fire and began burning the siding near the front door.

Flames crawled up the wall, into the attic and then burned the roof off the 1,900 square-foot house, according to Fire Investigator Derrick Paul.

Paul said he’s seen it at least once before, and has also watched during training, how purchased potting soil products – not just ordinary dirt – will ignite.  Some of the components are flammable, he said.

Members of four fire departments arrived early Monday morning after a barking dog alerted the occupants before their smoke alarms sounded.

Nobody was hurt and Paul said it was his understanding all the pets made it out fine.

The residence, built in 2000, is at the 100 block of Hideaway Hills Lane and owned by TransAlta. The tenants did not have renter’s insurance, according to Paul.

He said crews did a good job of stopping the fire, and some of the contents possibly may be salvageable.
•••

For background, read “News brief: Fire claims Centralia area home” from Monday April 13, 2015, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

Updated

PACKWOOD RESIDENT JAILED FOR NAKEDNESS

• A Packwood man who reportedly made a habit of standing nude in his windows with the drapes open as well as walking around outside him home entirely unclothed was arrested yesterday. The sheriff’s office says his residence is directly across the street from the Timberline Resort, at a busy intersection. A deputy was called back on April 8 to the 13,000 block of U.S. Highway 12 when alarmed employees of the motel complained, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said the situation was close to a school bus stop as well. Law enforcement made several attempts to contact the subject, who didn’t come to his door or return their phone calls, according to the sheriff’s office. The man, whose full name is simply Vinyasi, was seen driving yesterday, pulled over and arrested for indecent exposure, according to Brown. Vinyasi, 57, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, she said. His vehicle was impounded.

AUTO THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 8 o’clock yesterday morning about a vehicle stolen from the 300 block of South Street. Missing is a maroon-colored Chevrolet Blazer with a license plate reading AJN9306, according to the Centralia Police Department.

STOLEN LANDSCAPING

• Some pulled up a pair of two-foot tall fir trees growing in the front yard of a residence on the 1000 block of North Washington Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police last night.

BROKEN GLASS

• Chehalis police were called about 8:40 p.m. yesterday to a home on Southwest Snively Avenue after someone threw a cantaloupe-sized rock through the front window.

• An officer was called about 10:40 p.m. yesterday regarding a rock through a vehicle at South Market Boulevard, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE: POSSIBLE THIRD STRIKE FOR SHOPLIFTING STRUGGLE

• A 27-year-old Centralia woman is facing a third strike – and life in prison – if convicted in what a defense attorney described as basically a “shoplifting gone bad.” Margaret D. Shults was scheduled for arraignment today following charges filed on Monday for a weekend incident in which she allegedly fought with and bit a Safeway employee in Chehalis who detained her for suspected third-degree theft. Police said Shults was seen removing items from a makeup display and concealing them on Saturday night. Chehalis police booked her for first-degree robbery, but prosecutors charged her with second-degree assault, for the injury to the employee’s shoulder. Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said Shults has a 2009 conviction for first-degree robbery and a 2006 conviction for first-degree burglary as well as numerous lesser convictions. Shults was also charged in Lewis County Superior Court with third-degree attempted escape, for pulling out of a police handcuff during the attempt to take her into custody, temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke said. Prosecutors further charged her with escape from community custody, an offense usually related to not staying in touch with one’s probation officer after release, O’Rourke said. Shults remains held in the Lewis County Jail on $750,000 bail.

PHONE SCAM ATTEMPTS

• At least 15 people contacted local law enforcement on Tuesday after getting phone calls from someone claiming to be with the Treasury Department, demanding the person send money immediately or they would be arrested or forced to go in front of the magistrate. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office said the calls are coming from a phone number that begins with 717 and people should simply hang up immediately. “This is a scam,” the sheriff’s office states. “Do not ever give personal information over the phone.” The sheriff’s office suggests if a person is concerned a call may be legitimate, then they ought to ask for a phone number where they can call the caller back. and do so. Most scammers won’t give information out about themselves or their supposed organization, according to the sheriff’s office.

EMAIL SCAM ATTEMPTS

• Someone is sending out emails purportedly from District Court, indicating a notice to appear for court in Grays Harbor County, according to the sheriff’s office. The messages instruct the recipient to open an attachment, according to Chief Criminal Deputy Steve Shumate. “Grays Harbor District Court does not send email communications to the general public,” Shumate states in a message to the news media. “This type of email is a scam and should be immediately deleted.”  Citizens should be warned not to open the attachment.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, drugs; responses for alarms, dispute, suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets, tiny bit of toilet paper set on fire in a park restroom … and more.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

KNIFE FIGHT IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police responded about 6 p.m. yesterday to the 1200 block of North Tower Avenue where a fight between two acquaintances led to both brandishing knives. According to police, the disagreement was over money believed to have been stolen and one individual allegedly choked and hit the other. The victim produced a knife for self defense, but the individual now being sought for robbery pulled their own knife, took the victim’s knife and left, according to the Centralia Police Department.

KNIFE INCIDENT IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police responded to a report about 5:15 p.m. yesterday of a woman cut on the arm with a knife by someone she knows at the 2800 block of Russell Road. The victim wouldn’t cooperate with law enforcement, and further details are not readily available, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BUILDING SUPPLIES PILFERED

• Someone stole materials for a new roof off the back porch of a mobile home on the 200 block of Gershick Road in Silver Creek over the weekend. A deputy took a report earlier this week and noted a rust-colored early 2000s Dodge or Chevrolet pickup was seen in the area. Tammy Maxwell said she and her husband were preparing to install the charcoal-colored three-tab architectural-style shingles. At least a half dozen bundles were taken, along with four rolls of tar paper, according to Maxwell. A neighbor said she recalled seeing the truck backed up to the porch, Maxwell said.

VEHICLE PROWLED IN GARAGE

• An officer was called about 11 a.m. yesterday to the 1400 block of Alexander Street in Centralia regarding a possible burglary to a garage in which a vehicle was prowled. The incident remains under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• A 36-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for third-degree malicious mischief yesterday morning in connection with the 400 block of South Diamond Street. Bridget D. Grey-Gundo was issued a citation and then released, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

• Did you know that under state law, wildfire season begins today? Did you know that already this year, 60 forest fires have been reported on lands protected by the state Department of Natural Resources? “This year, we have ominous predictions for a hot, dry summer,” DNR Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark stated in a news release. “While we work hard to prepare for what could be a challenging season, there are some things property owners can and should do to prepare.” DNR reminds property owners they can reduce risk to their homes by keeping dead vegetation off their roofs and away from buildings. The state agency reminds others Washington’s “summer fire rules” are in effect April 15 through Oct. 15. For further information and details, check Department of Natural Resources.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants,  shoplifting, brass knuckle in pocket during warrant arrest; responses for alarms, dispute, hit and run, misdemeanor theft, suspicious circumstances, collisions on city streets … and more.

‘Behind on bills’ says employee accused of writing self extra checks for thousands

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015
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Allyson N. Reed goes before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court for a bail hearing.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – When a police officer asked the 33-year-old Chehalis office manager if she had any idea where several thousand dollars of missing funds from her workplace had gone, she said she did not.

When the officer then explained that her boss had showed him copies of checks written by her and cashed by her totaling more than $70,000 over and above her normal paychecks, the mother of two looked at the ground and started to cry.

She said she’d gotten behind on her bills and didn’t realize she’d taken that much money.

So say charging documents in the case of Allyson N. Reed, also known as Allyson N. Fuller.

Reed was charged on Monday in Lewis County Superior Court with first-degree theft.

Chehalis police say an officer responded last week to Northwest Heating and Cooling on Southwest Chehalis Avenue regarding the discovery of money missing from the business. Police department spokesperson Linda Bailey said it appeared it occurred over the past five months.

According to charging documents, the company’s owner Wesley Floyd had looked at the accounts after another employee told him he had seen an order for some gift cards and thought it was odd.

Floyd noticed that several checks were issued to Reed, his officer manager, that he didn’t recall writing, some even while he was out of the state, according to documents.

Reed earned about $16 per hour, getting paid once a week, accounting for about 20 of the checks, the documents state, but Floyd found another 147 checks totaling about $72,000, according to the documents.

The Centralia woman was arrested on Friday and booked into the Lewis County Jail.

Charging documents state that before she was taken away, but after she arranged for childcare, she said she wanted to talk with her boss.

Reed told Floyd her parents would pay him back $60,000 to not press charges, the documents state. He said he wouldn’t take their money.

Lewis County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher told a judge on Monday afternoon the charges included two aggravating factors: that it was a major economic offense and that she used her position of trust, confidence or fiduciary responsibility to carry out the alleged crime.

The maximum penalty is 10 years in prison and/or a $20,000 fine.

Meagher in requesting bail noted Reed had 10 convictions in 2006 for false identity and controlled substance violations. Temporary defense attorney Joely O’Rourke argued the offenses were 10 years old and that Reed has resided in Centralia her entire life.

Judge R.W. Buzzard set bail at $10,000.

He was told Reed plans to hire a lawyer. Her arraignment is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon.

Body of Vader boy finally will leave coroner’s office

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015
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Casey Henderling and Nikki Warner quickly leave the courtroom after talking with the judge about the cremation of their dead toddler.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – It took less than 10 minutes for a judge to help the parents of a toddler whose body has been stored at the county morgue for months to come to agreement today about which funeral home can be called to handle his cremation.

Three-year-old Jasper Henderling-Warner died Oct. 5 from what the coroner calls battered child syndrome and is the victim in an ongoing criminal case involving a couple who had taken him into their Vader home.

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Jasper Henderling-Warner

Jasper’s unmarried parents initially agreed to have the child cremated at Steele Chapel in Longview, and the services have been paid for, according to Lewis County Civil Attorney David Fine. But the mother Nikki Warner changed her mind and told the coroner she wanted him taken care of by a funeral home in Battleground where she would hold the memorial service.

At the end of January, Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod was notified he no longer had to hold Jasper for a possible second autopsy for the criminal case. Two weeks later, after failing to get the parents to agree on the same mortuary, McLeod filed a request in Lewis County Superior Court, asking for a judge to intervene.

Warner and Casey Henderling sat next to each other this afternoon, in front of Judge James Lawler.

Warner told the judge what she wanted, and told him she had custodial rights before her son’s death.

“As I understand it, we’re not talking about the memorial service here, only the cremation,” Lawler said.

“You still agree the ashes are to be divided between you, right?” the judge asked.

Both answered affirmatively.

Lawler told the two parents he was only trying to understand what difference it makes where the cremation takes place.

“I’m not trying to twist your arm,” he said. “Just trying to understand. Make sure you understand.”

Warner agreed they could use the funeral home in Longview.

Coroner McLeod indicated he would phone Steele Chapel within the next 10 minutes and arrange for the child’s body to be picked up.

The Vader couple accused in the death both remain held in the Lewis County Jail.

Danny A. Wing, 26, has pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter. His wife Brenda Wing, 27, awaits trial. She is charged with homicide by abuse or, in the alternative, first-degree manslaughter, as either the principal or accomplice.
•••

For background, read “Toddler’s body still at morgue more than five months after death” from Wednesday March 18, 2015, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

SHADY DEAL VICTIMIZES CHEHALIS RESIDENT

• A 54-year-old Chehalis woman contacted police yesterday after she ran into some shifty subjects when she tried to purchase a puppy. She found the animal she wanted online on a site called something like Pet Express and spoke with them on the phone and sent $300 for her new dog, according to the Chehalis Police Department. However, once they got her money, they demanded $2,000 more for quarantine fees and such related to travel and threatened she would be subject to fines for animal cruelty if she abandoned the supposed pup at that point, department spokesperson Linda Bailey said. It appeared the company was in Western Washington and had relocated to Arizona, Bailey said. Police did some research and discovered the website was listed as a fraudulent or possibly fraudulent entity, Bailey said. The woman is out the $300 and it’s unlikely the case will be solved, according to police. Bailey said oftentimes, the contact information scammers give is false, so it’s difficult to follow leads. “So, before anybody does purchase (online),” Bailey said. They might want to investigate before sending any funds.”

BREAK-IN CENTRALIA

• Centralia police were called just after 7 a.m. today to a burglary to a business on the 1200 block of Belmont Avenue in which a window was broken out. Officers are investigating, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A gun and jewelry were reported stolen from the 1300 block of Windsor Avenue in Centralia yesterday morning. A suspect has been identified, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BREAK-IN RANDLE

• A deputy took a report last night of a burglary to a Randle residence in which two firearms, a Samsung DVD player and other items were stolen. The break-in at the 700 block of Carr Road happened between last Monday and Friday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

BREAK-IN MORTON

• Morton police reported yesterday they were investigating a situation in which someone kicked in the door to a home on the 500 block of Division Street, a discovery that was made on Friday afternoon. Nothing was taken from the residence, but the damage is approximately $200, according to the Morton Police Department.

SHED BURGLED CENTRALIA

• A red wagon with wood side rails and two bicycles were stolen from a shed on the 100 block of South Diamond Street in Centralia during the night, according to a report made to police yesterday.

AUTO THEFT

• A vehicle stolen in Idaho was recovered by police yesterday afternoon  at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia.

DOMESTIC DISPUTE LEADS TO ARREST

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports this morning deputies arrested a Pe Ell man at his home for unlawful imprisonment on Saturday. According to the sheriff’s office, a deputy responded to the 600 block of East Pe Ell Avenue regarding a family dispute about 10:30 a.m. and Max A. Nacht, 41, answered the door, said his wife was not there and slammed the door shut. The deputy knocked again and the wife, another female and Nacht came out, according to the sheriff’s office. The wife said he had pushed her and wouldn’t let her leave the house, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. An altercation ensued, Nacht wouldn’t obey the deputy’s commands and he was Tased, Brown said. However, the wire on the Taser broke, and Nacht ran back inside the house, she said. Eventually after other deputies arrived, Nacht came out and was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to Brown. Prosecutors declined to file a felony charge and Nacht was released from the jail yesterday.

ELK CAUSE COLLISION

• A 72-year-old Packwood driver was injured when he swerved to miss an elk on Forest Service Road 52 yesterday afternoon and ran into several large boulders. It happened around 3:30 p.m. near milepost 17, according to Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Both he and his passenger, a 72-year-old woman from Packwood, were wearing their seat belts, but he was transported to Morton General Hospital with back pain, according to the sheriff’s office.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, obstructing, shoplifting, driving with suspended license; responses for alarms, hit and run, collision on city street  … and more.

News brief: “Stolen” pup back with owner

Monday, April 13th, 2015

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Chehalis police this morning report the 8-week-old Chihuahua that went missing from the Wal-Mart parking lot last week turned up safe and sound.

2015.0409.chihuahuastolenAn officer called on Wednesday afternoon was told by its owner the puppy fell from his his vehicle while he was setting items inside of it, and when he went to retrieve her, she was nowhere to be found. Witnesses said they saw a man with a backpack pick it up and put it in his jacket.

Chehalis Police Department spokesperson Linda Bailey said  this morning the owner was talked to over the weekend and apparently the little dog was found when it came crawling out from under his vehicle’s seat.

Bailey said it wasn’t clear if the one-pound pup had been hiding there the whole time or if perhaps whoever picked it up had put it back in the vehicle while the owner was looking around. She said she also didn’t know how much time passed before the pet was located.
•••

For background, read “Dognapping outside Wal-Mart” from Thursday April 9, 2015, here