Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

Juvenile administrators speak out on arrest of Green Hill counselor

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The state agency that oversees Green Hill School issued a statement yesterday in response to the arrest of one of its counselors who is accused of having a sexual relationship with a juvenile resident, calling such behavior inexcusable.

Thirty-six-year-old Erin L. Snodgrass, who also goes by Erin Stiebritz, was charged this week with first-degree custodial sexual misconduct.

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Courtesy photo DSHS

She was arrested on Monday at the juvenile incarceration facility in south Chehalis. Snodgrass has worked there since June 2013.

“We are disturbed by the actions of this individual and have done everything we can to hold her fully accountable,” Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration Assistant Secretary John Clayton stated in the press release.

Green Hill is run by the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, which is section of the Department of Social and Health Services. It’s a medium to maximum security fenced campus that provides older, male offenders education and vocational training.

According to authorities, staff members reported the alleged inappropriate behavior that triggered the investigation.

Snodgrass was immediately placed on an alternative assignment and was not allowed to have any contact with juveniles while the investigation was ongoing, according to DSHS.

She’s now on unpaid leave and not allowed back at work while the administrative process is wrapping up, according to DSHS spokesperson Chris Wright.

Wright indicated Snodgrass has not had any other disciplinary problems.

Charging documents filed in Lewis County Superior Court state that in February of last year, employees at Green Hill intercepted a letter suspected to be from Snodgrass to the student-inmate, detailing a sexual relationship.

A detective with the Washington State Patrol over the next few months gathered evidence, concluding just before Christmas when the alleged victim said in an interview the two had had sex a few times in her office at Green Hill.

The activities are alleged to have taken place between June 1 and November 12, 2014. The alleged victim turned 18 in July 2014, according to Lewis County prosecutors.

Snodgrass, described in the charging papers as a resident counselor, was placed on the alternative assignment on Nov. 22, 2014.

Clayton in the press release describes a zero tolerance policy for such behavior.

The agency is committed to the standards set forth in the Prison Rape Elimination Act, also known as PREA, he said. The federal law prohibits misconduct and harassment at correctional facilities.

“As new knowledge and research about ensuring appropriate boundaries and behavior in institutions becomes available, we train and share that information with staff,” he stated. “We also educate our youth about how to spot and report misconduct.”

First-degree custodial sexual misconduct is a class C felony, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

Snodgrass denies the allegations.

A Lewis County Superior Court judge on Tuesday allowed her to be released from jail with a $25,000 unsecured bond.
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For background, read “Counselor-inmate sex alleged at Green Hill School” from Tuesday January 12, 2016, here

Lewis County 911 manager terminated

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Lewis County Board of Commissioners have fired their 911 manager and his supervisor.

The reason for the terminations are linked, but also included non-disclosure agreements signed with both men, Commission Chair Bill Schulte said today.

Schulte said only: “We felt there was some changes needed at 911.”

The Lewis County E911-Communications Division is responsible for providing and maintaining the communications center which serves as the primary answering point for all 911 calls placed in the county. The center dispatches calls for all local police, fire and emergency medical services.

Craig Larsen has been the 911 manager since Michael Strozyk moved out of the role and was promoted to director of central services for the county.

Strozyk oversaw facilities, information technology services, the Southwest Washington Fair and the 911 center. He reported to the three-member board of county commissioners.

Schulte said both were terminated yesterday morning.

While he would not discuss the reason, he said the move followed a meeting the commissioners had last week with a half dozen leaders of fire and police agencies in Lewis County.

“It was nothing we hadn’t heard before,” he said. “What surprised me was how strongly they felt.”

The commissioners appointed Lewis County Budget Administrator Steve Walton yesterday to serve as the interim director of central services.

Today, county personnel were drafting a contract with a Chehalis area man to work as the interim 911 manager, he said.

For now, Walton is in charge of the 911 center, according to Schulte.

“None of the dispatchers have been terminated, and I’m not aware of any who are going to resign,” he said. “The day-to-day operations are all in the hands of qualified people.”

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, January 14th, 2016
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Updated at 1:09 p.m.

FIREARMS MISSING

• Thirteen rifles are among the items reported stolen from  a Chehalis area residence sometime between 4 a.m. and 3 p.m. yesterday, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The loss from the 2000 block of Bishop Road is estimated at about $2,000, according to the sheriff’s office. An investigation is ongoing, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

GARDEN STORE BREAK-IN

• Chehalis police were called yesterday morning to a business on the 600 block of Northwest State Avenue where sometime during the night someone smashed open a door and made off with about $5,000 worth of lighting equipment. It’s the second time in less than two weeks that Kaija’s garden and pet store has been burglarized.

ATTEMPTED FRAUD

• Police were called to a bank at the 1100 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia just before 5 p.m. yesterday where an individual reportedly attempted to pass a stolen check. The suspect, described by police only as a white male, fled before officers arrived,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called about 11:45 p.m. yesterday to the 800 block of South Gold Street where someone had rummaged through a parked, unlocked vehicle. Nothing was taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Police were called about 1:15 p.m. yesterday regarding a vehicle prowl at the 500 block of West Cherry Street in Centralia. Missing was some change and a basket, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Paperwork was stolen overnight from a car parked at the 600 block of Hamilton Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police yesterday morning.

OTHER THEFT

• An individual called Chehalis police just before 4 p.m. yesterday from the parking lot at Wal-Mart to say someone had stolen the license plates off his vehicle while he was shopping.

ASSAULT REPORTED

• Centralia police are investigating a suspected assault of a young child, following a report made late yesterday afternoon. No arrest has been made, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MISSING PERSON

• Chehalis police were contacted last night by a woman reporting her grown son was missing. The 32-year-old man from Edmonds was arrested in Centralia early on Sunday morning and she last knew he was at the Lewis County Jail, according to police. Chehalis police learned that upon his release from jail, he was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital for a mental health evaluation and was no longer at the hospital, according to the Chehalis Police Department. His name and information were entered into a law enforcement database, police said. Andre Laroche is 6-feet tall weighing 265 pounds and is bald but has a dark mustache and goatee, according to detective Sgt. Gary Wilson.

HIT AND RUN

• Deputies are looking for information about a truck which struck an overhead traffic light about 10:40 p.m. yesterday at Jackson Highway and Spencer Road. It’s believed the same vehicle struck power lines at Toledo-Vader Road in the area of Drews Prairie Road knocking out electricity to several homes, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting, misdemeanor theft, misdemeanor assault, protection order violation, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, disorderly person, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016
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•••

Updated

OWNER CHASES SHOPLIFTER

• The owner of a Centralia business fought with a suspected shoplifter yesterday who fled with a rack of CDs. Officers called about 2:30 p.m. to the 600 block of North Tower Avenue learned that when the suspect got into a car, the owner grabbed the rack of CDs and the suspect’s cell phone, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police have identified a “person of interest” and are investigating the case as a second-degree robbery because the alleged shoplifter struck the owner while in the parking lot, according to police.

AUTO THEFT

• A 1987 BMW 535, with flat tires, was reported missing from the 200 block of Hemlock Street in Centralia yesterday afternoon. The car has a license plate reading AHT 9494, according to the Centralia Police Department.

MISSING MEDS

• Centralia police were called yesterday afternoon to the 700 block of North Pearl Street to take a report of the theft of medication. A caregiver is suspected, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called yesterday regarding suspected stolen medication from a home on Southwest Third Street.

OTHER THEFT

• Chehalis police were called about 12:10 p.m. yesterday to the 1600 block of Northwest Louisiana Avenue regarding a theft. Further details were not yet available.

• Chehalis police were contacted yesterday about a cell phone missing from a locker at Chehalis Middle School.

• Centralia police took a report on Monday morning of the theft of mail from a mailbox at the 300 block of East Main Street.

CAR PROWL

• Centralia police were called about 1:10 p.m. yesterday regarding a vehicle prowl at the 400 block of East Main Street. A window had been broken out and it wasn’t yet known what might be missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were contacted yesterday by a previous car prowl victim who reported a bank card had been stolen, from the 200 block of Northwest Chehalis Avenue.

• Police called about 8 p.m. on Monday about a person seen trying door handles in the parking lot at Wal-Mart contacted the individual and discovered he had a misdemeanor warrant. He denied the suspicious activity, but Stephen F. Lynn, 56, of Olympia, was arrested for the warrant and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Police were called to the 700 block of North Pearl Street on Monday about an overnight vehicle prowl there.

• Change was stolen from a locked vehicle during the night a t the 900 block of E Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police on Monday.

• A pocket knife was among the items missing following a vehicle prowl at the 1300 block of Central Boulevard in Centralia, which was reported to police about 11 a.m. on Monday.

JUST ODD

• Someone cut the lock off a dumpster at the 500 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia, according to a report made to police at about 5:10 p.m. on Monday.

MORTON COUNTRY MARKET ARRESTS

• A couple pulled over in a stolen car in the parking lot at the Country Market in Morton were brought before a judge yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court. Jocelyn R. MacFarland, 19, and Austin L. Hedges, 23, were each charged yesterday with taking a motor vehicle without permission, second-degree possession of stolen property and second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. They told the Morton police chief when they were arrested on Monday the Toyota Scion was borrowed from person in Tacoma and that not everything in the car belonged to them, according to charging documents. A loaded Smith and Wesson was found in the glove box and the vehicle also contained two driver’s licenses, a social security card, a debit card and a credit card all with various people’s names on them, according to court documents. A third person told police she was only with them because she was getting a ride, prosecutors wrote. The judge yesterday ordered the two held on $10,000 bail and scheduled their arraignments for Thursday.

ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• Troopers called about 11 a.m. yesterday to U.S. Highway 12 in Glenoma when an eastbound box truck left the roadway and came to rest about 50 feet away on its side found the driver had been distracted, according to the Washington State Patrol. The driver was taken to Morton General Hospital as a precaution, according to the state patrol. The truck was towed, Trooper Tara Hicks said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, misdemeanor theft, misdemeanor assault, protection order violation; responses for alarm, shoplifting, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street, receipt of counterfeit bills … and more.

Counselor-inmate sex alleged at Green Hill School

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016
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Erin Stiebritz waits her turn to go in front of a judge this afternoon at Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 36-year-old woman accused of having sex in her office at Green Hill School with a student-inmate was arrested yesterday and charged today with a felony.

Erin Stiebritz, who also goes by the last name of Snodgrass, worked as a counselor at the state institution in Chehalis.

Prosecutors allege the two had a sexual relationship during the latter half of 2014, before Stiebritz was placed on an alternative assignment based on allegations of inappropriate behavior with students, especially the alleged victim.

A detective with the Washington State Patrol investigated the case during 2015.

Stiebritz denies the allegations.

She was booked into the Lewis County Jail yesterday and brought before a judge late this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court. She is charged with first-degree custodial sexual misconduct.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Kevin Nelson asked she be held on $25,000 bail, citing community safety concerns.

Defense attorney Joely O’Rourke told the judge she didn’t see that as an issue, as the alleged victim was 18 and the relationship alleged was consensual.

Judge James Lawler set bail with a $25,000 unsecured bond.

It’s not clear if Stiebritz is still employed at Green Hill.

Her court documents show she resides in Centralia but court documents in another case describe her as living in Cinebar with her husband in early 2015.

Charging documents give the following account of the investigation:

In February of last year, employees at Green Hill intercepted a letter suspected to be from Stiebritz to the student-inmate, detailing a sexual relationship.

A detective contacted the postmaster in Chehalis and confirmed the return address was a post office box she had rented two days after she was reassigned to a new position.

The student-inmate’s room was searched and approximately 30 letters and cards were found, with the same return address, discussing their relationship.

“A few of the letters describes how there is a pregnancy and (the student-inmate) is the father,” Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead wrote in the court documents.

In July, the detective interviewed her and she denied a relationship, writing the letters and renting a post office box.

The detective was able to listen to phone conversations made by Stiebritz to a different inmate at Walla Walla State Penitentiary during 2015 in which she allegedly spoke of the relationship and the post office box. The other inmate knows the alleged victim.

Two days before Christmas, the detective interviewed the alleged victim at Green Hill School, and he stated they had sex a few times in her office inside the Green Hill facility.

He told the detective initially she was helpful and concerned about him, but once he turned 18, she began to pursue him in a sexual manner.

Green Hill is run by the Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration, which  is part of the Department of Social and Health Services. It’s a medium to maximum security fenced facility that provides older, male offenders education and vocational training.

First-degree custodial sexual misconduct is a class C felony, with a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Stiebritz’s arraignment is scheduled for Jan. 21.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016
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ON THE ROAD, OFF THE ROAD

• A 16-year-old boy suffered a possible head injury when he lost control of his car on an icy road and collided with a power pole yesterday morning outside Chehalis. A deputy responding to the approximately 6:50 a.m. wreck at the 600 block of Coal Creek Road noted the Chehalis resident had been wearing his seatbelt but was traveling too fast, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. His Ford Focus sustained major damage, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A 16-year-old driver from Winlock escaped injury in a single-vehicle collision about 8:35 a.m. yesterday at the 100 block of Roe Road outside of Winlock. The teen was traveling eastbound, lost control on the icy road and slid into the ditch, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The Ford Taurus sustained major front end damage, according to the sheriff’s office.

• A 52-year-old Packwood man was injured when he lost control of vehicle on Sunday afternoon on an icy stretch of the 400 block of Cannon Road. The Ford Ranger went into a ditch and rolled, coming to rest on its driver’s side, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s office. He was transported by aid to Morton General Hospital with a broken arm and his truck was towed, according to the sheriff’s office.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for drugs, warrants,  malicious mischief, driving under the influence; responses for alarm, car prowl shoplifting, harassment, misdemeanor assault, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … and more.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, January 11th, 2016
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•••

SCHOOL ASSAULT

• Chehalis police are investigating a fight between two students at W.F West High School on Friday as a possible felony assault. Officers responding about 12:30 p.m. learned an individual who phoned 911 said the 15-year-old girl was kicked in the head, but this morning police say she was hit multiple times, including possibly in the head by a knee. The officer had not yet interviewed the other girl as of this morning, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Detective Sgt. Gary Wilson said he didn’t know the extent of the injuries, but the case is being investigated as a second-degree assault.

SUSPICIOUS BANK CARDS

• Police found several credit cards on a woman arrested for trespassing yesterday after she allegedly went inside an empty home on the 500 block of Yew Street in Centralia. Sara M. Culp, 33, was booked into the Lewis County Jail after the approximately 2 p.m. contact with an officer, also for misdemeanor warrants, according to the Centralia Police Department. The bank cards didn’t have Culp’s name on them, so officers are investigating, according to police.

CAR PROWL

• Police were called about 6:50 p.m. yesterday regarding a vehicle prowl at the 900 block of North Washington Avenue in Centralia. A wallet was stolen from an unlocked vehicle, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police were called yesterday to the 900 block of F Street where someone had entered a parked and unlocked vehicle sometime since the previous evening. Missing were miscellaneous items, according to the Centralia Police Department.

DRUGS

• Centralia police arrested a 31-year-old man for possession of heroin last night at the 900 block of North Washington Avenue. Jeremiah R Johnson, of Centralia, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 23-year-old man contacted at Wal-Mart for being at the store after previously being “trespassed” from there on Friday night was subsequently arrested for possession of heroin. Nicholas A. Huston was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Police were called about 11 a.m. yesterday regarding someone slashing tires on a vehicle at the 500 block of Railroad Avenue in Centralia.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, disorderly conduct, malicious mischief, misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license, minor in possession and/or consumption of alcohol; responses for alarm, dispute, shoplifting, suspicious circumstances, parental custody issues, collision on city street … and more.

Children safe after man tries to steal van with them inside it

Monday, January 11th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A stranger nearly drove off with a vehicle occupied by four children while their parents were unloading groceries at their Centralia home yesterday evening.

The 28-year-old father jumped into the passenger side of the vehicle and yelled at the man, who apologized and ran off, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

It happened about 4:50 p.m. at the 1600 block of Windsor Avenue, at the north end of town, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said.

Deputies searched the area and a dog track was conducted, but the subject was not found, Brown said.

According to Brown, the family had just got home from grocery shopping and planned to head to the laundry, so the parents were taking their purchases inside and bringing laundry outside, while the children waited.

The father saw the man and thought he was coming to the door, but saw him get into their van instead and start driving away, Brown said.

He didn’t get very far.

The father ran and caught up to the vehicle and climbed into the passenger seat, she said.

When he asked the man what he was doing, he responded by saying he was not right in the head, and he didn’t want any trouble, Brown said. Then he fled.

The children were not harmed, she said.

The suspect spoke Spanish and was described as heavy set, with a mustache and wearing a hat and blue shirt and probably between 40 to 50 years old.

Brown said it’s not clear if the man was just attempting to steal the van and didn’t realize it had kids in it, or what.

The K-9 track did turn up some evidence, she said The sheriff’s office continues to investigate, she said.

The man is now wanted for attempted vehicle theft and kidnapping, according to Brown.

News brief: Centralia gas station clerk robbed

Monday, January 11th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

A Centralia gas station was robbed at gunpoint early this morning.

Officers responded to a 5:10 a.m. call to the Chevron at 1000 block of Harrison Avenue, but didn’t find a suspect, according to the Centralia Police Department. No injury has been reported.

Police were told a man in his 20s entered the business, asked for cigarettes and then displayed a handgun and demanded money. The clerk complied, according to police.

The subject fled on foot and a track by a police dog was conducted but ended at the freeway, according to police.

The suspect was described as a white male with light facial hair, about 5-feet 9-inches tall and weighing about 175 pounds.

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, January 10th, 2016
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•••

ATV STOLEN

• A green Polaris quad was missing from a shed on the 400 block of Harrison Avenue in Centralia on Friday morning.

PROWLING CONTINUES IN CENTRALIA

• Police were called about 1:30 p.m. yesterday to the 300 block of Lakeshore Drive in Centralia where they were told someone broke the door lock on a work truck and removed a work binder.

• Someone stole $25 in coins and miscellaneous other items from a vehicle parked at the 1600 block of Military Road in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 12:30 p.m. yesterday.

• Police were called about 8:50 a.m. yesterday for a car prowl at the 700 block of South Silver Street. Someone apparently used a large rock to break out a passenger window and then stole a purse, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A bag filled with softball equipment was reported stolen from a vehicle parked at the 500 block of South Ash Street in Centralia just before midnight on Friday.

FRAUD

• Centralia police were called on Friday by an individual at he 1300 block of South Gold Street who said several checks were missing from her checkbook and were clearing the bank even though the victim did not issue them.  The investigation is continuing.

ON THE ROAD

• When an officer arrested a 31-year-old Centralia motorist for driving with a suspended license just before 10 p.m. on Friday, his three passengers were all arrested and booked for outstanding warrants. Jeremiah R. Johnson, 31, of Centralia, was arrested and then released after the stop at the 800 block of Harrison Avenue, according to the Centralia Police Department. But booked into the Lewis County Jail were Brandi J. Shea, 34, of Chehalis; John L .Lininger, 42, of Centralia; and Toni L. Maier, 44, of Centralia, according to police.

• It was about 4:20 a.m. today when an officer made contact with a woman in a suspicious vehicle at the 900 block of Yew Street, who allegedly gave police a fake name. Officers concluded she was 21-year-old Kristina S. Bailey, who had two outstanding warrants for her arrest, according to the Centralia Police Department. Bailey was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, reckless driving, disorderly conduct, misdemeanor assault, driving under the influence, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, dispute, hit and run, suspicious circumstances, collision on city street … go Hawks … and more.

Prison sentencing error allowed convicted Centralia armed burglar out too soon

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A Centralia man who should have been released from prison tomorrow for a nighttime burglary in which he exchanged gunfire with a business owner is among those mistakenly let out early because of a software coding error at the state Department of Corrections.

Todd R. Chissus was 30 years old when he was arrested in April 2004 several days after the break-in at Sunny Valley Sales on South Gold Street in Centralia.

Chissus was released on September 28 – more than three months too soon – but is now back in custody, according to to information released yesterday by the state Department of Corrections.

Last month, Gov. Jay Inslee revealed the discovery that as many as 3,200 offenders may have been released early over the course of 13 years.

The problem affected offenders with sentencing enhancements, who were over-credited with good time.

Early estimates from the governor’s office indicated the median number of days offenders were released from prison was 49 days before their correct release date.

As of yesterday, Chissus was among 77 individuals either apprehended or who turned themselves in and were returned to a correctional facility.

The governor last month ordered a halt to releases of potentially affected inmates, until a hand calculation was done to ensure their correct release date.

Also yesterday, DOC said at least 27 individuals committed new crimes during the time while they should have still been locked up.

Chissus was not on that list.

Eight of those 27 are alleged to have committed new felonies while out, including first-degree murder and vehicular homicide.

So far, prison officials have reviewed releases going back to Dec. 17, 2011. The computer error dates back to 2002.

Chissus was convicted in 2005 in Lewis County Superior Court of first-degree burglary with a firearm enhancement.

Nobody else convicted in Lewis County is shown on the documents currently available from the ongoing review.

DOC first learned there was a problem in 2012 and began the process of a sequencing fix, but for reasons undergoing an independent investigation, the repair was repeatedly delayed.

News brief: Motel pool death victim is 55-year-old local woman

Saturday, January 9th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The woman found dead at the indoor pool of a Centralia motel was 55-year-old Theresa M. Kemper, according to the Lewis County coroner.

Police, firefighters and medics responding to a reported accidental drowning just after noon time on Thursday at the King Oscar Motel were unable to resuscitate her.

Centralia Police Department detective Patricia Finch said the victim had been living at the motel for about a week, that she and her sister had moved there from the Winlock area.

Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod described Kemper as a Centralia resident.

Finch said the death didn’t appear to be suspicious.

The cause and manner of her death, however, won’t be confirmed by the coroner until he receives the results of toxicology tests.
•••

For background, read “Centralia police: Woman drowns at motel pool” from Friday January 8, 2016, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, January 8th, 2016
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•••

Updated at 1:38 p.m.

AUTO THEFT FROM GARAGE

• Centralia police were called just before 7 a.m. today about a car stolen from inside its garage on the 2100 block of North Pearl Street. The blue 2015 Subaru Outback was taken sometime over the past evening, according to the Centralia Police Department. It has a license plate reading AWN 3125, according to police.

INTERCEPTED DELIVERY

• An officer in the area of the 900 block of F Street in Centralia at about noon yesterday found a FedEx packaging bag lying on the sidewalk. It had been torn open, its contents removed, according to the Centralia Police Department. The victim was not home at the time and a message was left with them, according to police.

• Centralia police were called to the 900 block of E Street about 5:35 p.m. yesterday regarding the theft of mail.

THEFT FROM GARAGE

• Centralia police were called about 12:40 p.m. yesterday to the 200 block of Aurora Street where someone had gone inside an unlocked garage and stolen a bicycle.

CAR PROWL INSIDE GARAGE

• Someone went inside an open garage on the 900 block of E Street in Centralia, got inside an unlocked vehicle and stole a valet key and a diagnostic tool, according to a report made to police about 9:25 a.m. yesterday.

CAR PROWL WHILE MOTOR RUNNING

• Police were called to the 1000 block of West Plum Street in Centralia about 8:30 a.m. yesterday after a woman said she started her car to warm it up and 10 minutes later went back outside and found the car turned off and the key missing.

CAR PROWL

• A GPS device and some paperwork were stolen from a vehicle at the 600 block of K Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 10:50 p.m. yesterday.

• Centralia police took a report yesterday of an unknown person prowling a vehicle at the 2200 block of Eureka Avenue sometime since the previous evening and stealing some “minor” items.

• Police were called to the 900 block of F Street yesterday to take a report that sometime since the previous evening, someone got inside an unlocked vehicle and stole women’s makeup.

• Centralia police were called just before 8 a.m. yesterday regarding a car prowl at the 300 block of East Oakview Avenue. Taken from the unlocked vehicle was an iPod and earphones, according to the Centralia Police Department.

BUCKET OF WEED AND OTHER DRUGS

• Centralia police were called about 10:40 a.m. yesterday when BNSF railroad law enforcement had detained a 41-year-old man for trespassing on the tracks near Locust Street and Railroad Avenue, a local person who was also reportedly carrying a large, clear plastic bucket full of marijuana. Jason W. Dix was arrested for felony possession of marijuana and when searched, officers found suspected methamphetamine, according to the Centralia Police Department. Dix was booked into the Lewis County Jail for two drug offenses, according to police.

• A 20-year-old Centralia woman was arrested after an off-duty officer saw her allegedly shooing up drugs inside a vehicle at the 100 block of Southwest Interstate Avenue in Chehalis at about 11:30 p.m. yesterday. Jodee A. Beckwith was booked into the Lewis County Jail for possession of heroin, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• A 27-year-old Centralia man arrested yesterday morning for an outstanding warrant at the 500 block of South Market Boulevard was subsequently arrested also for a violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act as paraphernalia and a brown substance were allegedly found on him, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Joshua G. Dagris was contacted about 8:30 a.m. and then booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

VANDALISM

• Police were called just before 2 p.m. yesterday when a tire was found flat, with slits in it, at Southwest Fifth Street near Market Boulevard in Chehalis.

• Police were called about 11:50 a.m. yesterday regarding vehicle tires found flat at the 100 block of Virginia Drive in Centralia.

LOST AND FOUND

• A driver’s license and other ID cards with no wallet accompanying them were turned into police yesterday after being found laying on the side of the road at the 200 block of Southwest 16th Street in Chehalis. They belong to a 25-year-old Centralia man who can contact the Chehalis Police Department to retrieve them, according to police.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, hit and run, protection order violation, driving with suspended license; responses for alarm, disturbance, harassment, civil issues, suicide threat, runaway sighting, misdemeanor theft, homeless person camping in a window well, homeless person’s bed found on a porch … and more.

Centralia police: Woman drowns at motel pool

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Updated at 8:43 a.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Police, firefighters and medics responded yesterday to a reported accidental drowning of a woman at the indoor pool of a Centralia motel.

Responders called at 12:22 p.m. to the 1000 block of Eckerson Road attempted to resuscitate the female however they were not successful, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Detective Patricia Finch said staff at the King Oscar motel observing the pool area on video surveillance, saw the woman was not moving very much and went to investigate. It appeared she was alone in the pool, Finch said.

“As of right now, nothing appears to be suspicious,” Finch said.

Her name was not released, but Finch said she had been staying at the motel about a week, with family.

The coroner’s office responded and took custody of the victim pending notification of next of kin, according to police.

News brief: Randle wreck with semi sends pair to hospital

Friday, January 8th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two people were injured yesterday when their sport utility vehicle was hit by a semi truck on U.S. Highway 12 in Randle.

Troopers called about 3:21 p.m. report the 1996 Chevrolet Suburban was eastbound and slowing to turn left onto Kindle Road when the 2003 Volvo tractor behind them failed to slow down and rear-ended them.

Andrew F. Spears, 30, of Onalaska, was transported to Morton General Hospital, as was his passenger, Bobby J. Lynch, 30, also of Onalaska, according to the Washington State Patrol. Both had been wearing seat belts, according to the state patrol.

The truck driver, Paul W. Neilson, 57, from Mossyrock, was reportedly unhurt.

His truck was damaged, but able to be driven away from the scene. The Suburban was described as totaled.

The wreck is blamed on driver inattention, and Neilson was to be issued a citation for second-degree negligent driving, according to the investigating trooper.

Guilty pleas for child assault brings prison time for Centralia resident

Thursday, January 7th, 2016
2016.0106.victoria.cheney.sentence8194

Victoria A. Cheney faces a judge for sentencing in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The Centralia woman who threw her grown daughter under the bus during an investigation into the assaults of two toddlers admitted yesterday to her own guilt in the case.

Victoria A. Cheney was sentenced to just shy of four years in prison, and struggled throughout her court hearing to hold back tears.

Her voice broke so much during a brief statement she made to the judge, it was unintelligible.

The victims, ages 2 and 3 at the time, were staying at the Cheney’s rural Centralia home. They are the children of Cheney’s daughter’s then-boyfriend.

Their father called police in July when he picked them up and found  bruises and swelling on much of their bodies, according to authorities.

The little one’s black eye was so bad, the eye was almost completely closed, Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead told the judge.

Cheney, 44, was arrested in September, and one of the charges came because she previously had given a very detailed statement to law enforcement of how it was 22-year-old Chandra M. Munsey – her daughter – who hurt the children, according to Halstead.

Munsey was arrested, jailed and charged in the case shortly after it happened, but  prosecutors dismissed the charges after numerous interviews confirmed her alibi, and subsequently charged her mother instead.

Cheney’s husband was among those sitting in the benches behind her in Lewis County Superior Court. Her daughter was not.

Halstead told the judge they now know the boys’ injuries were caused by a spoon.

Both he and Cheney’s lawyer recommended she be sentenced to 47 months, calling it a compromise plea deal.

Defense attorney Shane O’Rourke made a fairly lengthy argument, in an attempt to persuade the judge to not to give her more time.

“As for the injuries, they’re bad, and we’re not going to dance around that,” O’Rourke said.

But there were no broken bones, he said.

“This was a case with enormous risks for her,” he said. “And I would agree there were going to be significant challenges for the state to prove its case.”

Cheney pleaded guilty to second-degree assault of a child, third-degree assault of a child and attempted malicious prosecution. Witness tampering charges were dropped.

When Judge James Lawler pronounced the sentence, he said there were reasons to go higher, but he would respect the process of the plea negotiations.

Both Halstead and O’Rourke told Lawler chemical dependency was likely an issue that contributed, so the judge also required Cheney get evaluated and follow advised treatment.

He ordered her to have no contact with the victims and he ordered her to pay the fines and fees recommended by Halstead.

“I hope when you’re done, you spend the rest of your life making up for this,” Lawler told Cheney. “So nothing like this can ever happen again.”

The two boys remain in foster care, according to Halstead.
•••

For background, read “Centralia woman arrested for the child assaults she blamed on her grown daughter” from Thursday September 17, 2015, here

Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, January 7th, 2016
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•••

Updated

STOLEN FIREARM

• Chehalis police were called about 11:15 p.m. yesterday to a home on the 500 block of Northwest New York Avenue following the discovery that a handgun was stolen. It went missing in recent days and police are investigating, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

INTERCEPTED DELIVERIES

• Police were called just after noon yesterday to a residence at the 800 block of West First Street in Centralia to take a report of the ongoing thefts of packages being delivered there. This case is still under investigation, according to the Centralia Police Department.

JEWELRY MISSING

• Officers took a report of a theft of rings from the 600 block of Centralia College Boulevard yesterday. This case is still under investigation, according to to the Centralia Police Department.

CAR PROWL

• Officers responding to an approximately 5 p.m. call to the 2000 block of Borst Avenue in Centralia yesterday for an attempted vehicle prowl arrested an individual. Officers arrived and  located the suspect who reportedly refused to cooperate and tried to leave, according to the Centralia Police Department. Police say James V. Mitchell, 24, was subdued, arrested for resisting arrest and obstructing a law enforcement officer and then booked into the Lewis County Jail.

• Centralia police were called just after 6 p.m. yesterday to the 2300 block of Eureka Avenue in Centralia where someone had entered an unlocked vehicle and removed a gift bag.

• Someone prowled a vehicle at the 600 block of West Maple Street in Centralia and stole sunglasses, gloves, and, an air freshener, according to a report made to the Centralia Police Department at about 9 o’clock yesterday morning.

• Centralia police were called about 8:30 a.m. yesterday regarding a vehicle prowl at the 200 block of West Oakview Avenue in Centralia. Taken was some change, according to the Centralia Police Department.

FRAUD

• An officer was contacted by a Chehalis resident yesterday who said he got a letter regarding his application opening an account, but he hadn’t made such an application. A report was taken and the victim will need to contact his bank, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

DRUGS AND THEFT

• A 37-year-old man stopped while driving out of Gee Cee’s Truck Stop was subsequently found to allegedly be fleeing the scene of the fuel theft the deputy was responding to yesterday morning. The deputy found a gas can, a siphon hose and then also a syringe on the front passenger seat loaded with suspected methamphetamine, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Ty J. Pinard, 37 and described as transient, was arrested for third-degree theft, reckless driving and a violation of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, according to the sheriff’s office. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

ON THE ROAD

• A Chehalis man pulled over for suspected impaired driving apparently inadvertently put his vehicle in reverse instead of park, nearly running into the patrol car parked behind him and then allegedly tried to hand the deputy a $100 bill. He was arrested following the approximately 2:30 a.m. incident today, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The two were stopped at Chamber of Commerce Way and State Street and the deputy had asked Joshua L. Hayworth to put his car in park while he looked for his license, registration and proof of insurance, Chief Deputy Stacy Brown said. After the driver got his car stopped within 6-inches of the patrol car’s bumper, the deputy asked again and that’s when the motorist tried to handover cash, according to Brown. Hayworth, 23, had a Washington driver’s license but he also had a Missouri license that was suspended, Brown said. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail for driving under the influence and for the suspended license, Brown said.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants; responses for alarm, hit and run, landlord-tenant dispute, collision on city street … and more.

News brief: Yew Street house searched for drugs, couple booked

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Drug detectives yesterday arrested two individuals – following a two-month long investigation – at their Centralia home, next door to a child daycare facility.

Officers served a search warrant at the 700 block of Yew Street and also arrested three others with outstanding warrants, according to police.

Methamphetamine and other drug related items were located in the residence, according to a news release distributed by the Centralia Police Department.

The Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team which conducted the investigation is made up of officers from the Centralia Police Department, the Chehalis Police Department and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Arrested for delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance were Steve Williams, 57, and Beth Williams, 52, according to Sgt. Brian Warren.

While detectives were searching, a 26-year-old who arrived at the home was taken into custody for a warrant, and allegedly became combative, trying to kick and bite officers, according to police. The woman, Alisha A. Holmes, was arrested for third-degree assault and booked into the Lewis County Jail, police report.

The news release indicates an un-named individual woking with police has made multiple purchases of methamphetamine from the couple during the investigation.

News brief: JNET scoops up pounds of drugs, looking for more

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The local multi-jurisdictional team of drug detectives seized more than 60 pounds of drugs in its first year of operation, not including marijuana or illegal pills, according to its just released year-end report.

The Joint Narcotics Enforcement Team is made up of officers from the Centralia Police Department, the Chehalis Police Department and the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Chehalis Police Chief Glenn Schaffer this morning shared the 2015 statistics, showing the group served more than 60 search warrants and made 139 felony drug arrests last year.

“Sheriff Rob Snaza, Chief Carl Nielsen, and Chief Glenn Schaffer all agree that what JNET has been able to accomplish has been truly impressive, and we look forward to continuing to pool our resources and work together to combat drugs and drug related crimes that negatively affect our communities,” he stated in news release.

Other numbers from the report include:

• 27 other drug-related arrests
• 74 outstanding arrest warrants cleared
• 117 guns confiscated
• 141 pounds of marijuana confiscated
• 1,022 marijuana plants seized
• Almost 9,000 illegal narcotic pills seized

The 61 pounds of drugs scooped up by JNET were comprised of more than 42 pounds of methamphetamine, over five pounds of cocaine and 14 pounds of heroin, according to Schaffer.

The three agency leaders vow to continue to investigate cases that range from low level dealers, to upper level suppliers and couriers county-wide.