Posts Tagged ‘By Sharyn L. Decker’

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Saturday, December 7th, 2013


• Firefighters were called about 3:30 a.m. today when a car parked at a residence on the 200 block of Larmon Road caught fire. It was fully involved when crews arrived; they extinguished it, according to Lewis County Fire District 5. Assistant Chief Jeff Lee said the vehicle had apparently been sitting for awhile unused. The cause is under investigation, Lee said.


• Police responded overnight to the area off the 1200 block of Rush Road near Napavine after an individual ran from a traffic stop. Centralia’s police dog Lobo was summoned around 1 a.m. and after a short track, captured 32-year-old Raymond D. Faure with his teeth, according to the Centralia Police Department. Faure was wanted on at least one warrant from Centralia, according to police. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.


• Centralia police were called about 6 p.m. yesterday regarding someone breaking into a garage at the 400 block of West Magnolia Street.


• Centralia police responded to five non-injury collisions before noon yesterday, all related to traveling too fast in the snow, according to the Centralia Police Department. Sgt. Kurt Reichert said there was about a half inch of snow in town that had iced over.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, December 6th, 2013


• A 53-year-old Rainier woman was arrested overnight when she returned after a disagreement to property on the 1600 block of Big Hanaford Road outside Centralia, found the gate closed and locked and drove her Mercedes Benz through it, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff’s Sgt. Rob Snaza said Tammie M. Frost previously owned the property and thought she still had rights to it. It happened about 12:30 a.m., Snaza said. Frost was booked into the Lewis County Jail for hit and run, third-degree malicious mischief and second-degree trespass, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Centralia police were called about 10 a.m. yesterday to the 800 block of North Tower Avenue regarding someone going into a fenced area and stealing a winch for a vehicle.

• Centralia police were called just after 3 p.m. yesterday to the 1300 block of Alexander Street to take a report of stolen medications.


• A 60-year-old homeless person was arrested and jailed yesterday evening for allegedly aggressively pan handling, getting into traffic and yelling at passersby near the 1000 block of Harrison Avenue. Danny L. Howard was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 48-year-old log truck driver from Kelso was unhurt but issued a citation yesterday morning when at a corner on the 500 block of Twin Oaks Road west of Chehalis his trailer flipped onto its side emptying its load. Jeffrey Jacobs said the trailer went into the ditch and he tried to pull it out by accelerating but that didn’t work, Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Rob Snaza said. It happened about 7 a.m. The road was closed for a time and Jacobs was cited for speeds too fast for conditions, according to Snaza.

• Firefighters were called about 1:30 p.m. yesterday to a vehicle burning on Interstate 5 northbound just south of the exit 88 interchange in Grand Mound. They extinguished the fire, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. Nobody was hurt.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrant, shoplifting; responses for alarms, misdemeanor theft, dispute, someone using someone else’s social security number … and more.


Remains of car near milepost 87 on Interstate 5. / Courtesy photo by Washington State Patrol

Child assault charged in case of 4-year-old Winlock boy

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Prosecutors yesterday filed two charges of second-degree child assault against the boyfriend of the mother of a 4-year-old boy who was brought to the hospital over the weekend with various injuries including bruises on the outsides of his legs he said he got from “knife hand” spankings.


Ryon T. Connery

Ryon T. Connery, 31, was arrested after a deputy on Saturday spoke with the child and his grandparents at Providence Centralia Hospital and then his mother and Connery at the Winlock area home.

The boy had been brought to the emergency room to be looked at after he was dropped off at his great grandmother’s house that morning.

Connery went before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court on Monday, where he was ordered held on $75,000 bail and prosecutors were given two more days to file charges. At the time, the defense attorney said the boy was currently with his other parent.

He was brought before a judge again yesterday when the charges were filed.

The offense carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

According to charging documents, the boy said he got spanked because he had been breaking “house rules”, including stealing food.

The documents allege the following was learned by the investigating deputy:

The child explained the rug burn on his nose came from when he fell on his face trying to get away from a spanking, an abrasion on his face happened when Connery hit him on the leg and it knocked him over so that he struck his face on the floor.

The child’s mother admitted her son had been made to do wall squats, push ups and being sprayed by a hose at the same time and she knew he’d dropped a weight on his finger – which was broken. She told the deputy the scrapes on his face were from falling down.

But she denied the child was dunked in the outdoor pool and was not aware of the injuries on his chest and back.

When asked what his mother did while he was getting punished, the boy told the deputy she would just watch.

The youngster also had swollen ankle that appeared to have been burned or infected.

The sheriff’s office says the mother and Connery live near Winlock. A document in the court file indicates a Chehalis address for Connery.

The mother said she and Connery have been in a dating relationship about four months.

Connery is represented by Centralia lawyer David Arcuri.

His arraignment was scheduled for today.

Unemployed man who robbed Chehalis bank says he’s sorry

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Jerrell S. Redmill , in orange, represented by attorney David Arcuri, faces a judge who accepted his remorsefulness for robbing Chase Bank.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 54-year-old bank robber whose worst past crimes were mischief and disorderliness when he was in his early 20s apologized to the court yesterday and said he was truly ashamed.

Jerrell S. Redmill was in Lewis County Superior Court to be sentenced following a plea deal in connection with this past spring’s incident at Chase Bank in Chehalis. His wife, son and two grandchildren sat in the benches behind him as he spoke.

“Desperate or not, I’m responsible for what I did,” Jerrell S. Redmill.

The Kelso resident has been locked up in the Lewis County Jail since May 21, when after he handed a teller a note demanding cash, he got into his PT Cruiser and headed south on Interstate 5.

After he was pulled over by law enforcement officers who followed him into Cowlitz County, money was falling out of his shorts pockets, dropping onto the ground.

Centralia defense attorney David Arcuri appealed to the court to treat his client leniently, noting the crime was very desperate conduct out of a desperate situation related to injuries and being unable to work.

What Redmill did was clearly second-degree robbery, it just happened to take place at a bank which made it first-degree robbery, Arcuri said. Which is what Redmill pleaded guilty to.

The difference between the two in terms of penalty, would be a few months in the county jail or around three years in prison, according to the lawyer.

In Redmill’s case, he faced a sentence of something between 31 to 41 months of incarceration.

Judge James Lawler indicated to Redmill he didn’t doubt his sincerity.

“I’ve seen a lot of people come before me,” Lawler said. “I accept that you are one of the few that are truly remorseful.

“I will accept the deal and I will impose the low end of the range, 31 months.”

The little more than $1,000 the Kelso man gained from the robbery was recovered when he was arrested, on the ground outside his car and the rest on the driver’s side floor.

The same bank on South Market Boulevard was robbed in March of last year, by a pair of local men who got away briefly with less than $2,500 from Chase, moments after a failed attempt at the nearby Twin Star Credit Union – which keeps no cash in its drawers.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, December 5th, 2013


• Centralia police were called about 11:20 a.m. yesterday to a business on the 200 block of North Tower Avenue after a customer asked to see some jewelry and then walked out of the store with it, according to the Centralia Police Department. The subject was a male with red hair, according to police.


• Centralia police responded about 3:45 a.m. today when a citizen on the 1000 block of Elm Street spotted someone breaking in to their neighbor’s car. Police say Robert L. Huey, 24, tried to run but was apprehended by officers. Huey, a Centralia resident, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for vehicle prowl and an outstanding warrant, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police took a report yesterday from the 1200 block of Marion Street in Centralia that someone had stolen unspecified items from a travel trailer sometime since Sunday.


• A 20-year-old Chehalis resident is accused in recently filed court papers of stealing nearly $200,000  worth of expensive sink faucets from home improvement stores in Snohomish County, according to The (Everett) Herald. Joseph T. Littlefield is believed responsible for multiple thefts from various locations over time, according to Herald writer Scott North.


• A 75-year-old driver was uninjured but cited after he reportedly fell asleep, crossed over the centerline of Jackson Highway and struck a parked car. It happened about 9:30 a.m. yesterday on the 2100 block just south of Chehalis, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The front ends of both vehicles sustained major damage, Sgt. Rob Snaza said. Gary L. Griffin was issued a citation for second-degree negligent driving, according to Snaza.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, shoplift in which suspect allegedly opened a box of ice creams bars and put two of them down the front of his pants; responses for alarms, suspicious circumstances, disruptive customers, other misdemeanor thefts, dispute between housemates over the heater thermostat; complaint that ATM did not dispense the requested cash … and more.

News brief: Littlerock taxidermy business burns

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

Firefighters extinguish a fire at a Littlerock business this morning. / Courtesy photo by Robert Scott

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A taxidermy shop in Littlerock went up in flames overnight and crews are on the scene investigating the cause.

The fire was well underway by the time neighbors woke up and called 911 about 4:30 a.m., according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. Arriving firefighters found a fully involved structure fire, according to Chief Robert Scott.

Alden’s Taxidermy is on Palermo Southwest, just east of Littlerock Road, according to Scott.

The building is a total loss, he said. Scott said there are only two walls left standing from the medium-sized building. Nobody was hurt, he said.

Scott said he’s assuming there is a substantial loss of contents, but the owner is away and he has not yet spoke with him.

The blaze destroyed a pickup truck parked next to the business as well, according to Scott.

News brief: Female thief threatens to shoot Grand Mound clerk

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Deputies are looking for a pony-tailed woman who robbed the Grand Mound AM/PM store last night and fled south on Old Highway 99 in a dark-colored mid-sized sedan.

The Thurston County Sheriff’s Office reports that about 11:30 p.m., the woman entered the store and ordered the clerk to put all the money in a bag or the clerk would be shot. No gun was actually seen, but the clerk complied and the woman left on foot toward U.S. Highway 12 where she got into a car, according to Sgt. Ken Clark.

The woman used a multi-colored scarf to cover up her face, Clark said.

The store is at the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 and Old Highway 99, just west of Interstate 5.

The subject is described as a white female approximately 5-feet 7-inches tall and weighing 120 pounds, according to the sheriff’s office.

She wore her light-colored hair pulled up in a pony tail and a dark baseball cap with light trim and an unidentified emblem on its rim, according to Clark. She was wearing blue jeans, white shoes and a dark waist-length jacket.

The suspect vehicle is believed to be a black 2000 to 2004 model Chevrolet Impala with a spoiler attached to the trunk lid, according to the sheriff’s office.

Alleged Lewis County Oxycodone dealer charged with organized crime

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Forrest E. Amos is facing a third strike charge related to alleged illegal large-scale sales of prescription pain meds from both inside and outside prison.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A local man who has been on police radar since 2010, first for being involved in questionable medical marijuana, then for allegedly becoming a prolific dealer of Oxycodone and working as an informant at the same time, now stands accused by Centralia police of leading organized crime.

It’s a class A felony with a maximum penalty of life in prison.

Forrest E. Amos, 30, is in the Lewis County Jail, facing 26 varied criminal charges that encompass activities which date back to the spring of 2011 and authorities say continued in prison this year while he served a 12-month sentence he secured with a plea deal.

Centralia police’s Anti-Crime Team Sgt. Jim Shannon said he picked up Amos as he was released Monday from Stafford Creek Corrections Center in Aberdeen and took him into custody.

Yesterday, in Lewis County Superior Court, prosecutors requested the former Napavine area man be held on $1 million bail.

“To reflect the direct threat he poses,” Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg said. “Even behind bars, he wasn’t really controllable.”

Eisenberg also asked the judge to prohibit him access to a telephone while in the jail.

Defense attorney Bob Schroeter indicated that amount was excessive, calling the allegations apparently sour grapes from a falling out.

“The state used my client, trusted him,” Schroeter said. “And now apparently, they don’t feel that way anymore.”

Amos’s alleged drug trafficking organization from inside prison walls came to light in June when Centralia police revealed an investigation that spanned four counties and caught up to some 20 individuals including a nurse practitioner named Sharol Chavez, whose medical records and other documents were seized in Tumwater and Aberdeen.

Chavez, who allegedly supplied thousands of Oxycodone pills to Amos, is under federal investigation, according to charging documents in his case.

At the time, police said intercepted prison phone conversations and surveillance of the ensuing drug deals led to various arrests, and they were nearing the end of their local investigation.

For Amos, who first went to prison for a violent drug robbery committed when he was 16, a conviction on the main charge of leading organized crime would be a third strike.

His arraignment is scheduled for tomorrow.

More to come.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Updated at 2:48 p.m.


• Someone stole a 7-foot long blow up wiener dog wearing a red sweater and hat from a yard on the 400 block of Southwest Cascade Avenue in Chehalis during the night, according to a report made to the Chehalis Police Department yesterday morning. “This happens every holiday season,” Officer Linda Bailey said referring to the theft of outdoor Christmas decor. “Some people are like the Grinch.” The dog is brown, according to Bailey.


• Deputies yesterday arrested a 37-year-old man at the 400 block of Byham Road in Winlock in connection with an incident the evening before at the 100 block of Lacey Lane in Toledo where he allegedly threatened and assaulted his estranged girlfriend. Nashaun T. Hummond, from Toledo, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for harassment, fourth-degree assault and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Centralia police said yesterday they arrested a 29-year-old Centralia man at the 500 block of East Main Street the night before after he allegedly choked his girlfriend. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree assault, a felony, but prosecutors referred the case to municipal court for consideration of a misdemeanor charge instead.

• Chehalis police were called to Green Hill School about 8 p.m. on Saturday following an assault on a staff member in which he may have sustained a broken nose. The case involving a 17-year-old student-inmate was referred to prosecutors for a charge of third-degree assault, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• A deputy was called about 3 p.m. yesterday to a residential burglary at the 100 block of Curtis Hill Road west of Chehalis in which a large wall-mounted grandfather clock and assorted jewelry was stolen. It happened sometime after 10 a.m., according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday someone broke into an Onalaska area home and stole three guns and two televisions as well as a digital camera. It happened at the 600 block of Jorgensen Road sometime between Friday and Monday, according to the sheriff’s office. Among the missing items are a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun, two handguns and a 38-inch Samsung TV, Sgt. Rob Snaza said.

• Someone forced open the front door to a home on the 500 block of South Iron Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 6:30 p.m. yesterday. Nothing appeared to be missing or disturbed, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police arrested a 25-year-old Winlock woman who allegedly shoplifted about $335 worth of goods from Safeway grocery on the 1100 block of South Market Boulevard on Sunday afternoon. Carley T. Ridley told an officer she realized she didn’t have enough money for what she wanted, was cited and then released, Officer Linda Bailey said.


• A 51-year-old homeless woman was arrested about 9:40 p.m. on Monday for possession of methamphetamine by Centralia police. Kelly J. George was booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with an officer at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police called just before 4 a.m. on Saturday about a dispute in connection with a location on West Main Street and a residence on the 200 block of Northwest State Avenue ended up arresting a 26-year-old Chehalis man for possession of methamphetamine. Seth T. Lloyd was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department. His bail was set on Monday at $20,000.


• Chehalis police were called about 7:30 p.m. on Friday to the 100 block of Alfred Street in Chehalis after an individual saw the dome light of his car on and chased away a suspected prowler.


• Centralia police were called about noon yesterday to take a report of a brick thrown at the windshield of a car on the 500 block of South King Street.


• Bail was set at $10,000 yesterday for the employee of the UPS distribution center in Chehalis accused of stealing and reselling shipped merchandise. Roland E. Camps, 40, from Winlock, is charged with multiple felony counts in connection with nine missing boxes of cell phones, meant to be delivered to Fred Meyer and Game Stop, according to charging documents. The former Navy sailor from Everett was employed by UPS beginning two years ago, according to lawyers. He has a 2002 conviction for identity theft and misdemeanor theft convictions from 2001, according to Lewis County prosecutors. His attorney told a judge yesterday the husband, coach and father of school-aged children has resided in the Pacific Northwest since his release from the U.S. Navy. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office yesterday said Camps’ arrest also involved missing video games and equipment, but the charges filed did not reflect anything other than 80 Samsung and Apple iPhones. According to charging documents, sheriff’s detective Bruce Kimsey was contacted by UPSD security and subsequently found some of the stolen phones had been activated across the country; then Kimsey spoke with a Lewis County man who said he purchased his from Camps for $100 in September. Camps allegedly told the detective he sent some to a family member on the East Coast to be sold over the Internet. Sheriff’s Sgt. Rob Snaza said the losses are estimated at between $50,000 and $100,000. Charging documents value each phone at $549 to $649. Camps’ arraignment was scheduled for Dec. 12.


• A police pursuit of a stolen fire department command vehicle ended in Tenino last night with spike strips and the $50,000 SUV totaled. Police responded about 10 p.m. when the 2006 Ford Expedition vanished from outside the Olympia Fire Department’s downtown station, where it was parked with the keys left in the ignition while its driver went inside briefly, according to the Olympia Police Department. It was spotted by Tumwater police speeding on Capitol Boulevard but would not pull over, according to a police spokesperson. Spike strips disabled the SUV at Old 99 and Sussex Avenue in Tenino which then slid off the road causing the damage, spokesperson Laura Wohl said in a news release. The driver, a 26-year-old homeless man, was not hurt, according to Wohl. He was booked into the Thurston County Jail for eluding as well as malicious mischief, she stated.

• A 67-year-old Longview driver was hospitalized after her car ran off of U.S. Highway 12 a mile west of White Pass went over an embankment and struck a tree yesterday. Troopers called just before noon report Susie M. Gipson was transported to Morton General Hospital. Her 2007 Ford Focus was towed. The wreck was blamed on inattention.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, probation violation, driving with suspended license, misdemeanor assault; responses for alarms, shoplifting and other misdemeanor theft, dispute, suspicious circumstances, possibly missing Oxycodone, out-of-control teenager, minor and non-injury collisions, hit and run; complaint of neighbor’s loud music, smoke bomb tossed into a pile of leaves … and more.

Riffe maintains innocence in face of sentence of more than a century for Maurin murders

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Ricky Riffe, in red, listens as the judge pronounces his sentence of 1,234 months in the 1985 slayings of Ed and Minnie Maurin.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – All for a lousy $8,500, the judge said.

An elderly couple taken from their home, probably at gunpoint, and then made to withdraw cash from their bank before getting shot in their backs and tossed in the brush like garbage.

“There is no justification, mitigation or excuse for that type of conduct,” Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey pronounced to the courtroom this afternoon.

And then he sentenced Ricky A. Riffe to just shy of 103 years in prison.

Riffe, 55, unshaven and outfitted in red jail garb and shackles, didn’t appear to change his expression as Brosey gave him everything prosecutors asked for. And they had asked for the everything they could.

Today’s hearing in a fairly packed courtroom ends a trial that came nearly three decades after Ed and Minnie Maurin were found dead on a logging road outside Adna days after vanishing from their Ethel farmhouse.

Brosey acknowledged that if the defendant’s younger brother were still alive, he would likely be facing the same fate. Brosey alluded to the belief of some that the former Mossyrock men were not the only people involved in a crime that shook the community in December 1985.

The judge called it commendable the old case was brought to trial, and commendable the tenacity shown in pursuing it by Minnie Maurin’s now-87-year-old son, Denny Hadaller.

Hadaller and his sister both addressed the court today.

The retired logging contractor and former county commissioner told the judge it will soon be 28 Christmases his family has had to live with what happened and it may take generations for the healing.

“The safety and trust of the family and Lewis County citizens was violated,” Hadaller said.

The Mayfield Lake area resident wondered aloud how anyone could be so cruel, act with such malice, killing and leaving the bodies in the forest to the elements and wild animals.

“I also miss visiting with my mother and my step dad,” he said. “All the great grandchildren were not able to know them.”

Ed Maurin was 81, his wife Minnie was 83 years old when their lives ended.

Hadaller’s sister Hazel Oberg’s hand shook as she followed the words she read from a yellow legal pad.

Oberg spoke of finding a job at a cannery when she was just in the eighth grade, and continuing to work ever since. There were jobs to be had back in the mid-1980s, she said.

“It has been very difficult to understand why anyone would take another’s life to get their money,” Oberg said.

Actually, the first to address the court was Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.

Meyer said there is not a sentence long enough to request for what was the most heinous crime he has seen in his career.

“I can’t emphasize enough how much the defendant has earned the sentence the state is recommending,” he said.

When it came time for Riffe’s defense attorney John Crowley to appeal to the judge, he instead said his client directed him to read his prepared statement.

He has no remorse for anything he did not do, Crowley said.

Riffe believes the Maurin’s lives were stolen from them, as has been his by virtue of this trial, Crowley continued.

“That’s why he makes no apologies whatsoever,” Crowley said.

Crowley repeated what his own thoughts were after the jury returned guilty verdicts in mid-November, following a six week trial.

“Mr. Riffe does not understand how the witnesses can look themselves in the face,” he said.

He contended that no fewer than 10 of them of them testified to something different than what they told investigators in the beginning.

His client expects to be back in the courtroom again within 18 months, Crowley said.

Riffe, when asked by the judge if he had anything to say, replied simply no.

When asked if he had any questions about his rights of appeal, said “No sir.”

As he was escorted away, two spectators called out, “Burn in hell.” A brief round of applause broke out.

Riffe, a resident of King Salmon, Alaska since the late 1980s, who was arrested in July of last year, was sentenced for seven felonies, from murder and robbery, to kidnapping and burglary. All were first degree. There were also special verdicts finding aggravating factors allowing for exceptional sentencing.

He had been charged as the principal player or as an accomplice, and only the jury knows exactly what it believed occurred and what Riffe’s role was. The only eye witness was one individual who briefly saw Ricky and John Gregory Riffe inside the Maurin’s Chrysler Newport with the couple on U.S. Highway 12.

Each count of first-degree murder, from the statutes in 1985, had a standard sentencing range of 240 months to 320 months. The other offenses came with long but somewhat shorter terms.

Meyer had asked for the top of the standard range for each of them, and asked for them to be served consecutive to each other. Judge Brosey agreed. They added up to 1,234 months.

Brosey also agreed to numerous fines and fees, and a date in the future to discuss restitution such as the $8,500 and burial expenses. Riffe, through his lawyer, said he wouldn’t attend.

His former step-daughter also spoke to the court briefly, directing her comments to the man who married to her mother the same year as the slayings.

Shelly Lev said she wished he’d be man enough to say what he and his brother did to this family.

“Because you know you did it,” she said.

Riffe still faces a trial scheduled for this coming February, based on charges filed earlier this year that he raped and molested his then-9-year-old step-daughter in the mid-1980s.


Denny Hadaller, center, and his sister Hazel Oberg listen to sentencing proceedings for the murder of their mother and step father from the front row.


Ricky A. Riffe leaves the courtroom after being given nearly 103 years in prison.


Denny Hadaller leaves the courthouse.

News brief: Chehalis UPS worker jailed following ongoing theft probe

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A part-time employee at the Chehalis distribution center for UPS was arrested yesterday for allegedly stealing and re-selling thousands of dollars worth of cell phones and other merchandise.

Roland E. Camps, 40, from Winlock, was booked into the Lewis County Jail after he went into the sheriff’s office for an interview, following an investigation that began early last week, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Among the stolen goods were an unspecified number of Apple iphones and Samsung cell phones as well as video games and equipment, according to sheriff’s office spokesperson Sgt. Rob Snaza

“We’re still in the process of seeing how much is missing,”  Snaza said this morning.

Snaza said Camps loaded trucks at the parcel delivery service’s location on the 100 block of Hamilton Road south of Chehalis.

According to Snaza, a security supervisor contacted the sheriff’s office after they figured out phones were missing from the Chehalis center.

“They were finding out some stolen phones had been activated,” he said.

Snaza said the losses at this point are estimated at between $50,000 and $100,000 and could go back as far as from Aug. 9.

Camps was arrested and booked for first-degree theft and first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Updated at 6:33 p.m.


• A Winlock area man was arrested over the weekend after the 4-year-old child of his girlfriend was brought to Providence Centralia Hospital with bruises and other injuries he said he got because had been breaking “house rules” and stealing food. The boy had been brought to the emergency room to be looked at after he was dropped off at his great grandmother’s house on Saturday morning and told a deputy the bruises on the outsides of his legs were from the boyfriend giving him “knife hand” spankings, the abrasion on his nose was from when he fell on his face trying to get away from a spanking and also that the boyfriend made him get in a pushup position while spraying him with a hose, according to a declaration of probable cause. Ryon T. Connery was arrested for second-degree child assault at the home he shares with the child’s mother, a woman who said they had been dating about four months, according to the document. Connery was not charged, but a Lewis County Superior Court judge this afternoon ordered him held up to 72 hours on $75,000 bail while prosecutors gather more information. The boy told the deputy his broken finger happened when he was made to hold a weight over his head and dropped it, according to the allegations.


• Police and aid were called about 3 p.m. on Friday after a car sideswiped a building on the 800 block of West Main Street in Centralia and ran into a sign for a business a block away. No arrest was made, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 51-year-old Winlock man sustained possible internal injuries when his pickup truck ran into an embankment on the north side of Koontz Road at North Military Road on Wednesday night and is being investigated for possible driving under the influence, according to the  Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Responders said two people were transported to the hospital after the approximately 8 p.m. wreck.

• A 63-year-old Winlock man sustained minor injuries when he veered off the 100 block of Nelson Road near Winlock and struck a tree on Wednesday evening, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The Ford Taurus was described as totaled. The driver is being investigated for possible driving under the influence, Sgt. Rob Snaza said. Responders said two people were transported to the hospital after the approximately 7 p.m. single-vehicle collision.

• A 22-year-old Winlock resident was reportedly unhurt but totaled his pickup truck when he lost control while passing on a corner near the 1400 block of King Road and rolled it onto its top on Wednesday afternoon, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Michael A. Ryan was cited for second-degree negligent driving, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A 36-year-old Chehalis driver was reportedly uninjured when his pickup truck slid on ice and onto its top in a ditch on the 600 block of big Hanaford Road outside Centralia on Thursday evening. The Ford F350 was totaled, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• A 37-year-old Mossyrock man was arrested following a struggle yesterday morning when he was contacted by law enforcement officers at the 700 block of Williams Street in Mossyrock. Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Rob Snaza said deputies responded with Morton police about 9:30 a.m. in connection with an investigation regarding a domestic incident in Morton and that Anthony C. Burchfield was arrested for resisting arrest. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, also for warrants out of Snohomish County, according to Snaza.


• Centralia police were called about 1 p.m. yesterday about a possible burglary at a vacant building on the 700 block of South Tower Avenue. A window had been broken but nothing appeared to be missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Three males between the ages of 19 and 22 from out of town were arrested for allegedly stealing shoes from the Centralia Outlets at the 100 block of West High Street in Centralia early on Friday morning.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports this morning that a truck was discovered stolen from the 400 block of state Route 505 near Toledo last Monday. When the 61-year-old victim returned after being away, his 1999 Dodge Ram was not in the driveway where it had been left, according to the sheriff’s office. It has a license plate reading B71475X, according to Sgt. Rob Snaza.


• Sometime between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday, someone broke into a pickup truck parked along Forest Service Road 74 near Mineral and stole tools as well as hunting and fishing equipment, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• Police took a report about 10 a.m. on Saturday of tires slashed on a car at the 200 block of West Second Street in Centralia.


• There were no flames but there were alarms and light smoke when firefighters were called about 4 a.m. yesterday to the Lewis County Jail. It was a mechanical malfunction related to the elevator motor, according to the Chehalis Fire Department. The facility on Chehalis Avenue near Main Street was not evacuated, Fire Capt. Casey Beck said.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended license, trespass, driving under the influence, misdemeanor assault, misdemeanor theft; responses for minor and non-injury collisions, hit and run, 911 call that turned out to be a child playing with a telephone, over-imbibing Thanksgiving day guest … and more.

Structure fires cause damage near Morton, Ethel

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A family is displaced after a fire broke out in an Ethel area home on Friday afternoon.

A teenaged grandson was home but he got out when a neighbor knocked on the door, Lewis County Fire District 8 Chief Duran McDaniel said.

When crews arrived they found lots of smoke rolling out from the house, McDaniel said.

It happened about 2:30 p.m. at the 2000 block of U.S. Highway 12.

McDaniel said the fire was contained to the single loft-type room on the second level. There was so much smoke, it seemed the entire room was burning and firefighters had to access it from the roof, he said.

“They’ve got more water damage than anything else,” he said.

Then yesterday, firefighters from Salkum and Glenoma joined Lewis County Fire District 4 when a fire in a motorhome spread to a shop building west of Morton off state Route 508.

Responders were called about 2 p.m. to the scene on Sidorski Lane, and battled the blaze for roughly four hours, according to McDaniel.

“By the time they got there, both were fully involved,” Lewis County Fire District 18 Chief Ed Lowe said. “The wind was not our friend.”

About an hour later, Salkum-area firefighters were called to another motorhome fire, this one in Ethel on the 100 block of Pinkerton Road.

McDaniel said he wasn’t certain, but believed someone was living in the roughly 40 foot RV which was destroyed. Nobody was injured.

The ladies at the office and the gift of life

Saturday, November 30th, 2013

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – She’s a mother of six, grandmother to six and great grandmother to three more.

She bowls in a league, and belongs to the Southwest Washington Fair Association’s booster club.

For Thanksgiving, she gives thanks for her family, friends and co-workers.

Kathryn Estep, 69, born and raised in Chehalis works part time at a call center with a group of women who saved her life.

“A co-worker said Kathryn dropped a pen,” Paramedic Steve Busz said. “I guess Kathryn was slumped in her chair.”

Her heart had stopped pumping, according to Busz.

Lyla Spears, the supervisor at Service Bureau then on Bishop Road, recalled what she and her co-workers did next after one of them sitting near Estep, Donna Lavigne, hollered out, “She needs help.”

Spears said she came out from the back room, took one look at Estep and knew right away what was going on; she’d witnessed her sister take her last breath not long before.

Spears checked her pulse and helped move Estep out of the chair onto the floor, she said.

“Jennifer’s the one who gave chest compressions the whole time, Charlene did mouth to mouth,” she said.

Carmen Lyon called 911 and stayed on the phone with them, while Rhoda Mendoza waited outside to flag down the ambulance, she recounted.

“Everybody just fell together, like we knew what we were doing,” Spears said.

What happened in August is something Estep has only heard about from others.

“I went to work that day and the next thing I knew, I woke up in the hospital,” she said.

Estep said apparently the condition that struck her is something that runs in her family, but her doctor has said her heart is fine now. She got back to work in October, and began bowling again earlier this month.

“I had no idea Jennifer knew the CPR like she did,” Estep said. “But they all did. I’m so grateful, words can’t express. They’re all angels.”

Paramedic Busz sees the events of that day as something that others could learn from, and easily mean more lives being saved.

“Everything that happened that day was perfect,” he said.

The lesson, for Busz, is something the American Heart Association calls the chain of survival, five steps that can mean the difference between life and death when it comes to cardiac arrest.

Overall, only 8 percent of cardiac arrest patients survive, according to AHA statistics.

“It’s not something we get to see all that often,” he said.

But effective Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation provided immediately can triple a person’s chances for survival, Busz said.

What’s important for non-medics to know, is a good portion of what needs to be done can be implemented even before emergency responders arrive, Busz says.

The first is immediate recognition of cardiac arrest and calling 911 and the second is right away starting CPR with the emphasis on chest compressions, according to Busz.

“All of the links in Kathryn’s case were met that day, as you can see, it proved itself to work,” he said.

Busz and Firefighter-EMT Greg Folwell work for Lewis County Fire District 6, protecting the rural areas surrounding Chehalis and a population of about 8,000.

When they arrived at mid-morning that day to Service Bureau’s office, the pair took over CPR, put Estep on a heart monitor, defibrillated her and administered other interventions. Medics from AMR joined them.

They got a pulse back on Estep before she was even transported, he said. She was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and then transferred to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia where she stayed for a week.

The third link in AHA’s chain of life is the “shock” which in Estep’s case was done by the medics, but which can also be handled when workplaces have on site Automated External Defibrillators, according to Busz. He’d like to see more of them out there, he said.

The fourth step is effective advanced life support by professionals like the medics and the final step is the post cardiac arrest care provided at a hospital.

Busz said its his understanding Estep is doing phenomenally well.

Busz said they’d like to increase the 8 percent survival rate to 15 percent, to 25 percent or more and it seems possible, if only more folks reacted the way the six women did that day at Service Bureau’s office.

The message he wants to share with Estep’s story is, saving lives of those whose hearts stop begins with ordinary people.

“Sixty percent of everything that can be done to increase the odds of survival can be done prior to us getting there,” he said.

The other message: Take CPR training, Busz says.

“Call your fire department, if they don’t do it, they know someone who does,” he said.


Kathryn Estep is surrounded by co-workers and two of the medics who helped get her heart restarted after a sudden cardiac arrest.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, November 28th, 2013


• Two people were arrested for allegedly breaking a wooden gate behind the Hub Tavern on the 100 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia just before 2 o’clock this morning, four others were arrested for warrants and / or driving with suspended license last night and one person booked into jail for driving under the influence of marijuana. An officer at about 12:45 .m. spotted a vehicle making a wide turn into oncoming traffic near the 900 block of Harrison Avenue and arrested Jonathan P. Church, 20, of Onalaska, for DUI, according to the Centralia Police Department. When his vehicle was impounded and searched, a mason jar of suspected marijuana was found, leading to his arrest also for possession with intent to deliver, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert.


• A 24-year-old Centralia man was arrested last night for allegedly going into the locker room at Thorbecke’s FitLife Center on the 2000 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia and stealing credit cards from a wallet. Police say David L. Davenport ended up with a bloody nose from his encounter with the victim. Davenport was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree burglary, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Christopher T. Morrison, 20, Centralia, was ordered held on $50,000 bail yesterday following his Tuesday arrest and charges filed in connection with an incident in October involving his 18-year-old girlfriend of one week. According to the lawyers and charging documents, it happened when the two who attend Centralia College were at his Centralia home doing homework. Lewis County Prosecutor Joely O’Rourke said the victim is mobile but suffers from a birth condition leaving her with limited use of her right side and is described by a detective as mentally delayed. Defense attorney Bob Schroeter described his client as having learning disabilities that prevented him from finishing high school. Charging documents allege Morrison engaged in sex with her while she was screaming for him to stop and holding her down by her “strong side.” The charge is second-degree rape, by forcible compulsion and/or because the victim was incapable of consent by reason of a physical or mental disability. Morrison denied it was rape.

• The 50-year-old Hoquiam man who was accused of committing perjury by the defense attorney during Ricky A. Riffe’s kidnapping and murder trial in connection with a plea deal he got in exchange for his testimony was sentenced yesterday to 20 days in jail. Erwin B. Bartlett testified last month that Riffe confessed his crime while the two were in the medical unit of the Lewis County Jail earlier this year. While he denied on the witness stand he got consideration from prosecutors, the jury learned he was told if he testified truthfully about what Riffe told him, Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead would recommend a 30-day sentence for Bartlett’s failed attempt to smuggle prescription medication into the jail. The maximum for the offense was 12 months. Yesterday afternoon in front of Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey, Bartlett’s lawyer David Arcuri said his client held up his end of the bargain. At issue was the drug offense, there was no talk of any perjury charge. Arcuri also said because Bartlett is on disability and doesn’t have a job, he wouldn’t qualify for work release, and that if he was given more than 20 days, he would lose his medical and social security benefits. Brosey sentenced him to 20 days, told him to report to the jail to serve his time by Dec. 10 – after Riffe would be transferred to prison – and not to bring any drugs with him.


• Two people were hospitalized after a single-vehicle collision at North Military and Koontz roads about 8 p.m. yesterday and two others were transported following a wreck about an hour earlier at Nelson Road and Highway 603, according to responders. Further details were not readily available.


• And as usual, other incidents such as responses for violation of protections order, misdemeanor theft … and more.

News brief: Reducing roadway fatalities

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission offers downloadable, printable designated driver gift cards for the holidays.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Looking for an inexpensive but possibly priceless present to give this year?

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission has designated driver gift cards available, to give to someone you’d rather not see among the 49 (average) collision fatalities between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day in Washington.

Driving under the influence is still the leading cause of death on the roadways and the cards are part of a campaign to reach zero traffic deaths and serious injuries from wrecks by the year 2030, according to the WSTC.

Just go to the WTSC website to print, then clip, fold and fill out the card offering your services as the sober driver on a given night. It’s the gift of a ride home that tells a loved one you’d rather they celebrate the season in style, not in jail or dead.

The Olympia-based organization coordinates traffic safety efforts in various ways, including assisting the Lewis County DUI Traffic Safety Task Force which organizes and supports putting extra law enforcement officers on patrol beginning today in search of intoxicated motorists.

Through Jan. 1, expect to see participants locally such as police departments in Centralia, Chehalis, Morton, Toledo, Winlock and  the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

The WSTC offers the following advice so members of the public can help as well.

• Call 911 if you see a suspected intoxicated driver on the roads.

• If you drink, smoke marijuana or take other drugs, don’t drive.

• If hosting a party, make a plan with sober designated drivers to get your guests home safely or arrange for them to stay put.

Talk with your children and make sure they know to call you instead of ever getting into a car with someone who has been drinking.

• For anonymous, confidential assistance by phone, the Washington Recovery Help Line number is 1-866-789-1511.

• For further resources and ideas on keeping family and friends safe during the coming holidays, check the Target Zero website.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013


• Officers called about 8:30 p.m. yesterday to the 900 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia found a male whose had was cut from trying to take a knife from his girlfriend and arrested both for violating anti-harassment orders which were in place against each other, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police say Donald K. Gould, 56, was also booked for misdemeanor assault because he got angry and struck her in the head. Toni J. Lovato, 48, was cited and released, according to police.


• Chehalis police were called about 1 p.m. yesterday to Green Hill School regarding an assault that sent  a 16-year-old student-inmate to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The suspect is a 20-year-old resident at the state juvenile incarceration facility on Southwest 11th Street, according to the Chehalis Police Department. The case is still under investigation, according to police.


• A 20-year-old Centralia resident was arrested for second-degree rape yesterday following an ongoing investigation by the Centralia Police Department. Christopher T. Morrison was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.


• Centralia police were contacted yesterday by an individual who said the catalytic converter was stolen from their vehicle while at church Sunday on the 1100 block of West First Street.


• An unknown person reportedly used the name and social security number belonging to a 15-year-old to obtain work in Puyallup, according to a report made to police from the 1000 block of Scammon Creek Road in Centralia yesterday.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants; responses for alarms, collisions, shopping cart in Wal-Mart parking lot striking a vehicle, chicken running loose near a parking lot, barking dogs … and more.

Read about Toledo child neglect case leads to suit against DSHS …

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter reports a lawsuit has been filed against the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services on behalf of two Lewis County girls claiming the agency failed to stop years of abuse and neglect by their mother despite repeated warnings.

News reporter Kevin McCarty writes DSHS received two dozen reports over a period of six or seven years but allowed the children to stay with their mother Theresa Hutton at the rural property where she took in dozens of dogs, cats and horses.

It wasn’t until the summer of 2007 after a highly contagious disease prompted authorities to euthanize more than 40 dogs, and the eldest child at age 12 was found so malnourished she weighed only 60 pounds that the girls were removed from the Toledo area home to an aunt and uncle’s care.

The mother was convicted in 2009 of second-degree criminal mistreatment and sentenced to four years in prison.

Read about it here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013


• Deputies were called about 3:40 p.m. yesterday to a residence on the 400 block of Blanchard Road outside Centralia where a 47-year-old resident had allegedly fired several shots inside the home including at a television and a mirror as well as allegedly struck his fiancee in the face leaving bruises. Darrin Corson was taken into custody and booked into the Lewis County Jail for reckless endangerment and fourth-degree assault, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Sgt. Rob Snaza said he didn’t know what Corson was upset about but that he had been drinking.


• A 21-year-old soldier and his wife from Lacey were intercepted by a SWAT team as they exited Interstate 5 suspected to be on their way to an planned burglary of a home in rural Chehalis Friday afternoon. According to authorities, the individual asked to be their getaway driver was a confidential informant working with a detective at the Centralia Police Department, who told the detective of the plan earlier this month. Their target was a house on the 200 block of Hewitt Road east of town, believed to have cash and other valuables and owned by a former employer of the wife, according to charging documents. Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Rob Snaza said it was about 4 p.m. when law enforcement stopped their car at the intersection of Maurin and Rush roads. Jason R. Stephens, 21, Catherine E. Stephens, 21, Lacey, were booked into the Lewis County Jail and charged yesterday with attempted residential burglary. Their car was to be subjected to a search, Snaza said this morning, presumably to look for the gloves they said they brought to avoid leaving finger prints and the 9 mm handgun they may have brought along. They each were allowed to be released from jail on $5,000 unsecured bonds.


• Someone stole an $8,000 40 hp Briggs and Stratton motor from a fertilizer trailer off the end of Coleman Road outside Toledo, according to a report made yesterday to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. It disappeared from the piece of farm equipment sometime in the previous two weeks, the sheriff’s office was told.

• Police were called about 4:30 p.m. yesterday to the 600 block of Centralia College Boulevard about an iPad and a debit card theft. Someone attempted to use the card minutes after stealing it but were unsuccessful, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A deputy took a report yesterday of more than $5,000 worth of items such as light fixtures, carpets and window trim removed from a bank-owned vacant home on the 1200 block of U.S. Highway 12 in Ethel. It occurred sometime since November of last year, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• A couple in their early 40s were arrested for misdemeanor theft yesterday evening at the 200 block of North Railroad Avenue in Centralia after they allegedly jumped onto an Amtrak train without paying for tickets. Raul Marques, 42, from Alaska, and Kristi M. Servanty, 42, from Seattle, were booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with an officer about 7:15 p.m., according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Centralia police arrested a 21-year-old individual overnight for having hallucinogenic mushrooms. Kessler E. Mooney-Gregonis, from California, was booked into the Lewis County Jail after officers were called about 2 a.m. to a motel on 700 block of Harrison Avenue to remove some individuals, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, trespassing, responses for suspicious circumstances, fraudulent charges on a bank card, shoplifting and other misdemeanor theft, someone throwing a rock at a vehicle following an argument … and more.

News brief: Residence heavily damaged by fire south of Tumwater

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Firefighters battle a blaze at a single-wide mobile home

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

West Thurston Regional firefighters called about 9 a.m. today to a burning home north of Littlerock found flames rolling out the front door and most of the windows but the three occupants safely outside.

Damage to the single-wide mobile home on the 7700 block of Prine Drive off Littlerock Road was extensive, according to Fire Chief Robert Scott.

Twenty members of four departments responded, including the Tumwater Fire Department as it was just south of their jurisdiction, Scott said.

Crews remain at the scene this morning investigating the cause, he said.

The residents were referred to the Red Cross for assistance, according to West Thurston Regional Fire Authority. Scott said he was waiting to hear if two cats there turned up.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Updated at 7:03 p.m.


• An officer was called about noon yesterday to a business on the 1400 block of Gold Street in Centralia where someone had pried open the back door and stolen a flat screen television. The investigation is ongoing, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A deputy was called to a burglary at the 300 block of Penning Road on Friday evening in which someone stole more than $8,000 worth of jewelry from a home. The 63-year-old resident said it happened sometime between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Among the missing items are gold and pearl rings, watches and bracelets, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Chehalis police were called on Saturday morning about a $1,300 custom-made acoustic guitar stolen from a home on Southwest William Avenue. An officer was given a suspect’s name, according to the Chehalis Police Department.


• A 37-year-old Chehalis woman was arrested on Saturday for forgery and second-degree theft in connection with checks taken from the 100 block of Bear Cat Court outside Chehalis and written for more than $6,000 between July and October, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. April L. Busby was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office.


• Centralia police were called about 7:30 p.m. yesterday regarding a wallet stolen sometime during the day and a missing credit card which was subsequently used in connection with the 1300 block of Lum Road.


• Centralia police were called about 5 p.m. on Friday to the 100 block of West High Street where they were told five subjects stole shoes from a business and jumped into a car that fled north on Interstate 5. Police got a license plate for the silver Dodge Charger and are following up, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Centralia police were called just after 7 p.m. yesterday about a counterfeit $100 bill being passed at a business on the 100 block of High Street.


• Someone stole a backpack from a vehicle at Ellsbury and Mellen streets in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Saturday morning.

• A 28-year-old Centralia man was arrested for a warrant and possession of cocaine after contact with a police officer about 11 p.m. on Saturday at the 400 block of East Main Street in Centralia. Raul Gonzalez-Gomez was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Police were called just before 9 a.m. yesterday to the 600 block of West Pear Street in Centralia where someone had broken out the window of a home. It didn’t appear anyone went inside, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 15-year-old boy was arrested for third-degree malicious mischief after newly painted gang-type graffiti was discovered on Friday morning on a wall near the bus stop and public restroom at the 500 block of North Market Boulevard in Chehalis. The subject was contacted at the bus stop and found to have paint cans in a backpack, according to the Chehalis Police Department. He was cited and released and the case forwarded to prosecutors for further action, according to police.


• Nobody was hurt and the damage was minor when a chimney fire ignited south of Winlock on Saturday morning. Firefighters called about 7:30 a.m. to the 100 block of Wepsala Road extinguished the fire in the unattached shop building, according to Lewis County Fire District 15. Assistant Chief Kevin Anderson said it appeared to have been caused by a failure in the chimney.


• The cause of a Morton house fire that killed several pets last week remains unknown, according to Fire Investigator Jay Birley. Birley said the resident of the single-story home on the 600 block of Division Street left for work about 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday and around noontime, a passerby reported smoke coming from the eaves. The blaze began in the living room and left smoke damage throughout the house, but it was as though it may have smoldered awhile before it took off, Birley said. The woman and her two daughters had just moved in to the remodeled residence about two weeks earlier, he said. Five cats and dogs lost their lives, according to Birley.


• A 28-year-old Glenoma man was arrested over the weekend for an incident at a Morton tavern two weeks earlier in which he allegedly lifted another patron into the air upside down and slammed him head first onto the wooden floor. “He literally piles drives him head first into the floor,” Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told the judge today recounting what he said he watched on the Bucksnort Pub’s security video. William K. Bloomstrom was arrested at his home on Friday for the Nov. 9 occurrence. He is charged in Lewis County Superior Court with second-degree assault of Donovan Griffin. Morton police said at the time the 23-year-old victim, also from Glenoma, sustained a concussion and was treated at Morton General Hospital. When police met up with Bloomstrom to arrest him, he told them he’d already spoken to the victim who didn’t want to press charges and also that he had offered to pay the medical bills. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail but made bail of $25,000 before his appearance before a judge today.


• A 22-year-old Winlock man was injured when a car driven by a 20-year-old Napavine woman skidded on a slick road and wrecked yesterday morning on state Route 6 near Curtis Hill Road. Troopers called about 8:15 a.m. found the Chevrolet Cavalier had hit the ditch and came to rest blocking the westbound lane, according to the Washington State Patrol. James L. Nelson was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital and Brittany D. Compton was cited for speeds too fast for conditions, according to the state patrol. A 3-year-old child who was restrained was uninjured, according to the investigating trooper. The car was towed.

• A 30-year-old Chehalis woman was reportedly uninjured when she lost control of her vehicle about 9 a.m. yesterday on the 300 block of Bunker Creek Road in Adna. The 2004 Isuzu Rodeo was southbound when it hit some ice, then the ditch and rolled onto its top, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, driving with suspended license, domestic misdemeanor assault, violation of protection order, driving under the influence; responses for alarms, dispute, collisons; complaints of male urinating on the side of a building at bar closing time, noisy neighbors … and more.

Maurin murder trial: Final judgement to be handed down early next month

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The sentencing for the man convicted in the 1985 abduction, robbery and murders of Ethel residents Ed and Minnie Maurin has been scheduled for the week after next.

Ricky A. Riffe, 55, faces a maximum penalty of life in prison. A jury in Lewis County Superior Court found him guilty as charged early this week.


Ricky A. Riffe

The resident of King Salmon, Alaska has been held in the Lewis County Jail on $5 million bail since his arrest in July of last year.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said yesterday he is in the process of looking at the details of the laws from 1985 to calculate the standard sentencing range for Riffe’s case. However, since the jury found there were so-called aggravating factors –  vulnerable victims, deliberate cruelty and egregious lack of remorse – the judge will be free to give Riffe more than the top of the standard range.

Meyer said he already knows what he will recommend.

Ed, 81, and Minnie, 83, Maurin were found dead of shotgun wounds on a logging road near Adna on Christmas Eve morning in 1985, five days after they withdrew $8,500 in cash from their Chehalis bank and vanished.

Riffe and his brother John Gregory Riffe became suspects in the early 1990s. The younger brother died last year before he could be charged.

Riffe was convicted on Monday as the principal or an accomplice with one count of burglary, two counts of first-degree kidnapping, two counts of first-degree robbery and two counts of first-degree murder.

The former Mossyrock man still faces charges filed earlier this year alleging that in the mid-1980s, he raped and molested his then-9-year-old step-daughter. The allegations were first investigated in 1986 but no charges were filed until this past February.

Meyer has said new information came up during the Maurin investigation.

Riffe’s attorney called it a ploy to smear his client as he faced murder charges. The attorneys disagree as to whether the statute of limitations has passed.

That trial is scheduled for the week of Feb. 18.

Riffe’s sentencing for the Maurin case is set for 1 p.m. on Dec. 3 in Lewis County Superior Court.

For background, read “”Attorneys dispute statute of limitations rules on surprise child sex charge for Maurin double murder defendant” Saturday February 23, 2013, here

Lewis County coroner at dead end locating family of deceased veteran

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Authorities are turning to the public for help to find the relatives of a Centralia man who died last month

Robert Aita, 63, passed away at Providence Centralia Hospital on Oct. 3 of natural causes, according to Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod.

Among his office’s responsibilities is notifying next-of-kin but so far, they have found none, according to McLeod.

“Everyone we have spoken to during our follow-up investigations who knew the decedent stated he never spoke of any family,” McLeod said in a news release.

The coroner indicates he’d rather not have someone read about the death of a loved one in the news media, but after conducting various unsuccessful searches, felt it was prudent.

Aita lived in Centralia with his girlfriend who also recently passed away, and a law enforcement database search turned up only his deceased wife Cynthia Aita, according to McLeod.

Some possibilities arose by looking at Facebook, including a Robert Aita Jr. but so far subjects contacted in Pennsylvania and Florida said he wasn’t their relation, according to the coroner.

Aita is a U.S. Army veteran, and if no family is located to claim his remains, he would be covered for burial under the Operation At Ease program established by the coroner’s office in 2011.

McLeod says they are developing information Aita may have come from Chicago and  was the son of a pediatrician. He’s learned the father and son founded a youth camp in East Troy, Wisconsin and is pursuing that lead.

McLeod asks anyone who may have known him who has any information regarding possible relatives of Aita to contact his office at 360-740-1376.