Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

News brief: Pair mugged overnight in Centralia

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two 20-year-old men reported they were robbed by masked and gun-wielding subjects as they were walking in north Centralia overnight, according to police.

Officers called just before 2 a.m. to an area along the railroad tracks beneath the Sixth Street viaduct were told a pair of males in their late teens to early 20s approached them on foot from behind, police Sgt. Kurt Reichert said.

Both subjects were wearing blue bandanas over their faces, covering everything but their eyes, police were told. One had a gun.

He fired it one to four times into the brush, Reichert said.

A wallet, money, a knife and other personal items were stolen, Reichert said.

The victims are from Chehalis and Toledo, according to Reichert. He didn’t know for sure why they walking near the train tracks.

A search with a police dog failed to locate any suspects, he said.

Breaking news: Mother’s boyfriend held for investigation of rape, murder of Centralia child

Friday, May 25th, 2012

James M. Reeder is escorted out of court and back down to the jail.

Updated at 11:37 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Prosecutors told a judge this afternoon they believe a Centralia toddler was raped and tortured before she died.

James M. Reeder, 25, appeared before a judge in Lewis County Superior Court this afternoon. He is the mother’s live-in boyfriend.

Reeder was not charged, but was ordered held on probable cause for murder, child rape and assault.

Koralynn Fister, 2, was pronounced dead at Providence Centralia Hospital yesterday after Reeder carried her to a house across the street and said he found her face down in the bathtub after he stepped out to get a towel. He was arrested last night.


Koralynn Fister

Defense attorney Bob Schroeter said his client absolutely and positively denies the allegations and has no history of any felony.

The judge ordered the Centralia resident held on $5 million bail.

Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer requested a 72-hour hold on Reeder to allow more time for investigation and a final charging decision.

The filed declaration of probable cause describes significant bruising, cuts, abrasions and other wounds found on the child’s body, some in more advanced stages of healing than others.

Among the injuries noted were palm-sized pieces of skin missing from her buttocks, caused according to forensic evaluation, by traumatic injuries inflicted upon the child.

The declaration also mentions missing skin on the top and bottom of a toe, but offers no specific explanation for how any wounds were inflicted.

The pathologist’s examination found four distinct areas of head trauma, according to the declaration. Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod said earlier today Koralynn died from that and drowning.

Prosecutor Meyer indicated in his filing he believed probable cause existed for at least two counts of rape and assault.

Meyer’s declaration says none of the injuries were noted in a well-child exam conducted in early April and that Reeder has been living with the mother and her two daughters for about 10 weeks.

The prosecutor wrote that Reeder persuaded the mother about a month ago  to divide up parenting duties and would insist when the mother left, she take the oldest daughter with her, leaving him time alone with the toddler.

A passage in the declaration includes Reeder telling police the bath began shortly after the mother and older child left the residence at about 12:30 p.m., and neighbors reporting it was around 3:15 p.m. when Reeder was beating on their door, holding the girl and yelling for help.

The fire department was called at 3:09 p.m.

The neighbors said Reeder did CPR on their porch until aid arrived. A witness indicated the child was cold to the touch, according to the declaration.

Centralia Police Department Officer Gary Byrnes noticed the smell of burnt marijuana inside the house, the declaration states.

When Prosecutor Meyer asked for high bail, he said Reeder was a danger to others, even the mother.

“I won’t go into graphic detail, but suffice it to say, that in my career this is the worst case of child abuse and neglect that I have seen,” Meyer said.

Defense attorney Schroeter asked for reasonable bail, pointed out to the judge a row of Reeder’s family members sitting in the back of the courtroom.

“Nobody is more distraught about this situation than Mr. Reeder,” Schroeter said.

“All indications are one person took positive action on behalf of this child,” he said. “And that is Mr. Reeder.”

Judge Richard Brosey granted prosecutor’s request to return Reeder to the courtroom on Tuesday afternoon.

Police today continued searching the house off of West Oakview Avenue.

The 4-year-old half sister has been taken into temporary protective custody.

The state Department of Social and Health Services Children’s Administration issued a statement saying they have no record of history involving the child, nor any previous allegations of abuse or neglect against the mother, Becky Heupel or her boyfriend.


Scroll down to read previous stories, if you are on the home page of Lewis County

Centralia toddler death: Sibling taken into protective custody

Friday, May 25th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The 4-year-old half sister of the toddler who died yesterday in Centralia has been taken into protective custody, as police continue their investigation into the death.

Two-year-old Koralynn Fister was taken to the hospital yesterday afternoon after her mother’s boyfriend carried the naked and unbreathing child across the street, saying he found her under water in the bathtub.

He had been caring for her at her home, according to police.

The Centralia Police Department last night arrested the boyfriend, James M. Reeder, 25, for first-degree murder.

An autopsy this morning concluded the child died from drowning and blunt head trauma, according to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office. Coroner Warren McLeod has listed the manner death as homicide.

Centralia police detective Sgt. Pat Fitzgerald said the sibling was taken from the hospital by Child Protective Services last night, when the mother went to the police department to be interviewed about Koralynn’s death.

“We’re not at the point where we know whether the other child is in danger,” Fitzgerald said today about why that was done.

They conducted an informational interview with the mother, and detectives are basically working on if she had any culpability, he said.

The state Department of Social and Health Services Children’s Administration issued a statement saying they have no record of of history with the mother, Becky Heupel or her boyfriend.

The mother is not a suspect, Fitzgerald said.

Detectives are back at the home off of West Oakview Avenue today, recovering evidence and searching the house, according to Fitzgerald.

Among the items they are looking for is an object that might have been used on the toddler’s head, he said.

This afternoon, they have no idea what that might have been, he said.

Police said Reeder told them he was bathing the child, left to get a towel and returned to find the toddler face down in the bath tub.

Across the street neighbors said they opened their door to loud knocking around 3 p.m. to find the boyfriend trying to conduct CPR on their porch.

The child exhibited some injuries, recent and otherwise, that caused officers some concern, according to police.

Fitzgerald said the arrest was made in part because of inconsistent statements from Reeder.

Reeder told them the girl hit her head on the tub, he said.

“We have a version she fell back into the tub and struck her head,” he said. “That’s one version.”

Reeder is scheduled to go before a judge at 4 p.m. today in Lewis County Superior Court.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Updated at 12:11 p.m.


• A police pursuit out of Centralia yesterday morning ended just north of the Scatter Creek Rest Area in south Thurston County and the driver subsequently tracked by a police dog was found hiding in a tree. It started with a call about car prowlers seen in the parking lot behind business on the 700 block of Harrison Avenue just after 8 a.m., according to police. A Centralia officer spotted the suspect vehicle northbound on Interstate 5 near the county line but the tan Chevrolet Blazer continued, until it left the freeway traveling through a grassy area, coming to a stop at a fence several hundred feet away, Officer Buddy Croy said.  Two occupants fled on foot on foot, but Officer Corey Butcher caught the woman right away, according to police. A Thurston County K9 found the driver within about about an hour up a tree in the area, Croy said. Cordis E. McBride, 27, was arrested for eluding a police vehicle. He was also booked for a  felony warrant for second-degree theft, out of Jefferson County. Tessie R. Taylor, 21, was arrested for a warrant for drug possession. Both are from Port Hadlock. Both were booked into the Lewis County Jail.


• Detectives yesterday following up a previous burglary at Senn Road east of Chehalis arrested Jeff C. Plancich, 33, of Chehalis. Plancich said he was attempting to help his neighbor get back stolen property, but deputies concluded he was involved in the theft, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. He was booked for unlawful possession of firearms and burglary. Three stolen firearms were recovered, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.


• Police took a report about 11 a.m. yesterday at Centralia High School on Eshom Road about an attempt to steal a school vehicle. Surveillance cameras captured an image of a suspect, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A golf bag and clubs were reported stolen from a garage on the 500 block of Hamilton Avenue in Centralia yesterday morning.


• Three people were arrested yesterday on Loop Road east of Centralia when several deputies and police officers met to pick up an individual wanted on a warrant just before 12:30 p.m. They were looking for a 37-year-old Centralia man, John T. Malantich Jr., wanted by Department of Corrections officers, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. They arrested a woman in a single-wide trailer who yelled at them and suggested she hadn’t seen him since earlier that morning, according to Chief Civil Deputy Brown. Then, after a 64-year-old man came running at a deputy and shoved him in the shoulder, they arrested him, Brown said. Mark A. Griffith, 64, was arrested for third-degree assault and after he threatened to track down and kill the deputy when he got out of jail, he was also arrested for felony harassment, according to Brown. As a deputy was cuffing Griffith, the wanted man rushed up behind the deputy, refused orders to get on the ground, so a Taser was used on him, she said. The wanted man was booked for his warrant and resisting arrest. Virginia Nall, 47, was booked for third-degree rendering criminal assistance.


• Chehalis police were called about 3:30 p.m. yesterday to Penny Playground by a grandmother who said there was a woman there throwing things around and seemed to be “whacked out on drugs.” The 37-year-old woman had been shadow boxing and talking to a lamp pole, believing the post was part of a car accident her mother had been in, Sgt. Gwen Carrell said. Carrell said. She was apparently suffering some type of psychosis, according to Carrell. An officer took the woman to Providence Centralia Hospital, so a mental health professional could evaluate her and try to get her some help, Carrell said. The sergeant said officers in Chehalis get called about once a week for individuals with mental health issues, sometimes even for the same person several times in a week. “It can be very scary to other people,” she said. It happens more in Chehalis than any other city she has worked in, Carrell said, perhaps because in the past here so very many people used to use methamphetamine.

Update: Centralia police investigating death of toddler, arrest one

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Police Chief Bob Berg and Cmdr. Dave Ross watch over the house as they wait for a search warrant.

Update at 9:53 p.m.: Police just announced they arrested James M. Reeder, 25, of Centralia, for first-degree murder.

Detective Sgt. Pat Fitzgerald said the arrest was made in part because of inconsistent statements and information they got from other sources, he said.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CENTRALIA – Centralia police are investigating the death of two-and-a-half year old girl.

The mother’s boyfriend said he was bathing the child, left to get a towel and returned to find the toddler face down in the bath tub according to the Centralia Police Department.

The child exhibited some injuries, recent and otherwise, that caused officers some concern, according to police.

Aid and police called about 3 p.m. to a neighborhood called Hunter’s Walk off of West Oakview Avenue found the man performing CPR on the child. She was not breathing, police said.

She was taken by ambulance to Providence Centralia Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Detectives responded as a matter of routine, in the death of a child, according to police. No arrests have been made as of early this evening.

Yellow police tape blocks off the modular home. The crime scene investigation van is parked in front, while officers wait for a search warrant to go inside and investigate further.

Police Chief Bob Berg said they weren’t prepared to say if it was an accident or intentional.

“It’s death investigation,” Berg said.

Across the street neighbors Ray and Mary Stiltner said they were startled by loud knocking and opened their front door to see the unclothed child laying on their porch with a man.

“He was trying to do CPR on her,” Ray Stiltner said. “His attempts on that continued until they came.”

“He wasn’t doing it very well, I don’t think he knew how,” Mary Stiltner said. “It was very traumatic.”

She called 911.

Mary Stiltner said the man told them the little girl had been in the tub, he was gone for a few seconds and when he returned, she was under water.

Next door neighbors Scott and Cindy North said the woman had moved in about six months earlier.

Cindy North said she wasn’t sure who the man was, as the woman had a different boyfriend until recently.

“I didn’t hear anything, but a lot of times we’d hear the baby crying over there, like it needed attention,” Scott North said.

While neighbors said they saw the man taken away in a patrol car, detective Sgt. Pat Fitzgerald said he went voluntarily to be interviewed at the police department.

The mother of the child is being interviewed there as well tonight, Fitzgerald said.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, May 24th, 2012


• Police were called about 12:45 p.m. yesterday to a wreck in which a pickup truck landed upside down in a creek in the north end of Centralia. It happened near North Gold Street and Roswell Road; it was a blue Chevrolet, according to the Centralia Police Department. A witness told an officer the driver fled the scene and appeared to be uninjured, according to police.


• Centralia police took a report of a laptop computer stolen from the 1600 block of Windsor Avenue. An officer was called about the theft about 4 p.m. yesterday, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Somebody made off with a pair of 10-foot long, heavy duty metal attachments for a fork lift during the night from a business on Northwest State Avenue in Chehalis. Police were called to Arvids just before noon yesterday about the theft. Sgt. Gwen Carrell said they are called “rams” and used to pick up rolls of carpet. They could have been stolen for their scrap metal value, she said. From what she was told, it would take several people to lift on of them, Carrell said. They are valued at $900 each.


• A driver who lost control of his pickup and ran over a railroad crossing sign about 11 a.m. yesterday in Centralia was checked for driving under the influence of prescription drugs, according to police. It happened at Woodland Avenue and Alder Street. Nobody was injured and the driver was released, but the results of the tests are pending, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• About a dozen people were evacuated from a handful of homes in Chehalis yesterday when firefighters responded to a “significant” gas leak.  Police were also called to the area of Southwest Ninth Street and Pacific Avenue to the report a city worker hit  natural gas line. Fire Capt. Rob Gebhart said crews cordoned off the area and stood by to wait for the gas company to make repairs. The fire department got a bus to put the people in because it was raining, Gebhart said.


• Nobody was injured but bales of hay were spilled on the freeway when a pickup truck hauling a trailer jack-knifed on northbound Interstate 5 near the Maytown interchange yesterday afternoon, according to the Washington State Patrol.  Aid was called about 5 p.m. but were cancelled because no one was hurt, Rochester area Fire Chief Robert Scott said. The roadway was cleared and all lanes were reopened by about 6:20 p.m., the state Department of Transportation reported.

Conviction vacated for trashing of Mossyrock house

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Updated 9:28 a.m. on Thursday May 24, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

An appeals court has tossed out a felony conviction of a family practice doctor’s wife, saying the evidence was insufficient to prove Janna Wooten committed first-degree malicious mischief.

Wooten and her husband Dr. David Wooten were charged in 2008, after Dennis Kohl instigated a sheriff’s office investigation, saying the Wootens were his tenants and they trashed his house on Hadaller Road near Mossyrock before they moved out.

The decision filed yesterday by the state of Washington Court of Appeals Division II states that Lewis County prosecutors failed to show an unfinished remodeling project resulted in any damage to the property interest of another.

Kohl found the home with most of the sheetrock removed, only one functional bathroom and filled with garbage, according to three-judge panel.

Prosecutor’s arguments and theory were based on a misunderstanding of real property law, according to the decision.

The appeals court judges wrote that Kohl claimed the Wootens were  leasing with an option to buy and prosecutors agreed, despite evidence provided at trial that showed otherwise.

The Wootens were both put on trial but the decision only relates to the wife’s case, according to the three-judge panel.

The couple moved way from Lewis County after state health officials reinstated the doctor’s license with strict conditions that prevented him from prescribing narcotics and restricted his dealings with female patients. His practice was in Chehalis.

Centralia attorney Peter Tiller  filed the appeal for Janna Wooten. Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Sara Beigh argued for the state.

The unpublished opinion states David Wooten’s medical practice purchased the home before Janna Wooten married him.

He and his business partner Robert Miller signed a real estate contract and a residential purchase and sales agreement but were never given a deed and the seller Kohl never recorded either document, according to the opinion.

The judges wrote that after Kohl sold the house to Wooten Primary Care, Kohl borrowed $325,000 against house from an unidentified lender without telling the Wootens, then stopped making payments on the loan he took out.

Kohl continued collecting payments from the Wootens until December 2007.

The Wooten’s were evicted by Kohl’s lender.

There was no evidence in the record the unfinished remodeling project resulted in a loss to anyone, other than the Wootens, according to the appeals court.

Beigh from the prosecutor’s office said David Wooten appealed his conviction as well, but an opinion has not yet been issued in his case.

“I would expect that decision anytime, but you never can tell,” she said.

Once she receives paperwork from the appeals court, Beigh expects to summon Janna Wooten into Lewis County Superior Court and dismiss the case.

If she doesn’t show up, Beigh said, she will probably just dismiss it anyhow and not pursue it further.


See State of Washington, Respondent V Janna L. Wooten, here

News brief: Top cops for road safety named

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The Lewis County DUI Enforcement Officer of the Year awards were announced this weekend, with Trooper Ray Sills and Deputy Kevin Anderson taking top honors.

Anderson made 21 arrests for driving under the influence last year, more than any sheriff’s deputy or city police officer in the county, according to organizer Melody Nelson.

Sills was the state trooper who took the most impaired drivers off the road, arresting 38 individuals, she said.

The awards were bestowed on Friday night, during an annual banquet coordinated by the DUI Traffic Safety Task Force. It was held at Bethel Church in Napavine.

The Traffic Safety Officer of the Year in the category of city police agencies and the sheriff’s office went to Centralia Police Department Officer Neil Hoium.

Trooper Doug Pardue won the award in the state patrol category.

The awards were presented by Sheriff Steve Mansfield.

Rochester woman accused of stabbing mother, convicted previously of knife assault

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Sunday morning wasn’t the first time 23-year-old Amanda Bassell was accused of taking a knife to a family member’s neck.


Amanda Lee Bassell

While the sheriff’s office said she’d recently been released from prison for felony eluding and then assaulting a prison guard, a closer look at her criminal history shows it was a conviction for such an act that got the Centralia area resident put away less than three years ago.

Bassell is being held on $500,000 bail in the Thurston County Jail, following her arrest for allegedly stabbing her sleeping mother in the throat at their Rochester home.

A judge found probable cause to hold her for attempted second-degree murder. Thurston County Deputy Prosecutor Craig Juris said he has until 5 p.m. tomorrow to file the charge.

Her mother Ruth Daarud, 42, is said to be in stable condition, following surgery on Sunday at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia.

Bassell had accumulated four felony convictions in less than two years – for theft, eluding and one drug charge – before the summer day in 2009 that landed her in prison.

Court documents give the following account of July 22, 2009:

Bassell was pulled over about 3:15 a.m. in Centralia because she was driving a car without its headlights turned on.

She smiled at the officer when he told her to quit trying to restart the car, then popped the clutch, hammered the gas pedal and blew through a stop sign, traveling an estimated 50 mph as she crossed Pear Street.

The car was found later abandoned at exit 88 off Interstate 5.

Her uncle later told police she showed up in Rochester and begged him to give her a ride to Centralia so she could cash a check. As they were driving on Harrison Avenue, she saw someone she knew and told him to stop.

When he didn’t, she became enraged and held what appeared to be a steak knife to his throat, saying “I’m gonna cut you mother f*****.”

He grabbed her arm, but then she climbed head first from the back seat out the passenger window of a two-door Chevrolet Blazer. It was moving.

Police at the time said he had a slight cut on his forearm that didn’t need medical attention.

That evening, Centralia police were called to a home on B Street where they were told Bassell had been hanging around and wouldn’t leave. Officers found her sleeping in a children’s wading pool in the backyard.

She struggled. By the time she arrived at the jail, in the back of a patrol car, she had freed herself from the handcuff and locked the door.

Lewis County prosecutors asked psychologists from Western State Hospital to evaluate to determine if she was mentally stable.

A psychologist noted Bassell’s risk to others was above average but her presentation of a psychiatric disorder was not credible.

Bassell pleaded guilty in September 2009 to eluding in Lewis County Superior Court. For that, she was sentenced to just over two months.

She was also convicted of third-degree assault, making a so-called Alford plea, stating she did not remember the facts surrounding the accusation, but agreed the state could provide sufficient evidence of her guilt.

She was sentenced to 17 months in prison.

The report from Western State Hospital also offers details of Bassell’s life, some of which were self-reported by the young woman, who was described as “not a reliable historian.”

Bassell said she got good grades until as a high school student she enrolled in Running Start and began smoking methamphetamine.

She got married in April 2007. Information from the jail given to the psychologists noted she was associated with the Surenos gang.

Among her “impairments” listed by mental health specialists were alcohol and drug dependence and personality disorder.

“The defendant failed to move forward to an adequate adjustment to adulthood,” one of the psychologists wrote.

While incarcerated, she assaulted a guard, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office. Court records show she pleaded guilty to third-degree assault in the summer of 2010.

She was released from prison on May 11, and was staying at her parent’s Rochester home until Sunday morning.

For background, read “Breaking news: Rochester stabbing suspect found hiding in abandoned house” from Sunday May 20, 2012 at 7:55 p.m., here

News brief: Cause of rural Chehalis house fire under investigation

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The cause of the Friday afternoon blaze that gutted a rural Chehalis house isn’t yet known.

Fire Investigator Adam Myer said he’s taken samples from the scene for analysis and the sheriff’s office is conducting interviews.


Larkspur Road home

“It was a large fire, with complete destruction of the residence in the middle of the day,” Myer said. “And rapidly growing.”

Firefighters were called about 3:30 p.m. for a possible brush fire seen from the area of Pleasant Valley and Brown Road East, southwest of Chehalis. When they arrived, the roof had already collapsed and crews from Lewis County Fire Districts 6, 5 and 15 battled the blaze from the exterior only.

Nobody was home at the time, but the couple who lives there lost a cat, a dog, and everything inside, Myer said. Some items in the attached garage were spared.

The single-story house sat at the end of long, sparsely populated private drive, Larkspur Road.

Between the two of them, they have three school-age children who lived there as well, according to Myer.

He gathered samples of items such as wood and dirt to be examined more closely for possible accelerants, Myer said.

He said it could take as long as three weeks to get the results back from the Washington State Crime Lab.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012


• Centralia police were called just after 1:30 p.m. yesterday about the theft of a firearm from an apartment on the 300 block of North Tower Avenue. Officers are investigating. It is a .357 pistol, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Police called to a grocery store on the 500 block of South Tower Avenue in Centralia yesterday afternoon about a theft got the goods and surveillance video, but no shoplifter. A female had snuck some food items and CDs in a blue bag, but when security personnel contacted her, she dropped the bag and left in her car, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Chehalis police took reports yesterday of two car prowls that occurred the night before in the parking lot of a church on the 2100 block of Jackson Highway. It happened some time after 7 p.m. during a meeting there, according to the victims. Taken from one of the vehicles was an in-dash player, an electric shaver, tools, a first-aid kit and other items, according to police.


• Chehalis police were called about 1:30 p.m. yesterday to the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center when a smoking device was discovered on a 16-year-old boy brought in. An officer confiscated the pipe, according to Chehalis Police Department.


• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported yesterday they arrested a 22-year-old rural Chehalis woman for lying and saying her husband gave her a bloody nose. Deputies called about 9 p.m. on Sunday to the 400 block of Brown Road East were told the couple were arguing about their finances, according to the sheriff’s office. Ashleigh Reddick reportedly phoned her mother wanting her to come pick her up, and begged her to call the cops because her husband hit her, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown. A deputy found no injury and Reddick allegedly confessed there was no assault; she just thought her mom would get their quicker if there was, according to Brown. Reddick was arrested for false reporting and booked into the Lewis County Jail, Brown said.


• Chehalis police were called for the second time in three days to a home on Southeast 12th Street and Washington Avenue when a woman said her 93-year-old neighbor was up in a tree. On Friday when it happened, the woman said it was out of the ordinary, according to police. The man told an officer he was pruning and the neighbor should mind her own business, according to the Chehalis Police Department. A department spokesperson said there was no report from yesterday evening’s call, so it wasn’t clear what transpired.

Rapist convicted in Lewis County faces indefinite lockup after prison term

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Mark T. Robinson faces Judge Richard Brosey in Lewis County Superior Court.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A 45-year-old man released after a 12-year prison term for a violent rape found himself in the Lewis County Jail as lawyers attempt to keep him locked up even after he’s served his full sentence.

Mark T. Robinson was a truck driver who picked up an 18-year-old girl at a Spokane truck stop who wanted a ride to Toledo, according to court documents.

Along the way, he pulled over, held a knife to her neck and told her she would pay for her ride whether she liked it or not, court papers state.

Afterward, when they made a bathroom stop, Robinson dragged her across a road, held her by her neck over the edge of a cliff and made her promise on the lives of her family not to report it, according to the documents.

The teen, who was left with bruises, swelling and bites, jumped out of the big rig at an exit on Interstate 5 near Toledo when she saw her boyfriend’s mother driving by and asked to go to the hospital, the documents state.

Robinson was convicted three months later in September 2000 in Lewis County Superior Court of  first-degree rape and second-degree kidnapping.

He reportedly confessed to raping dozens of prostitutes in Pierce and King counties during the previous four to five years.

Robinson is among a small number of individuals convicted of sex crimes in Washington state where after their criminal sentence is completed, authorities attempt to retain them in custody for treatment until they are no longer dangerous, according to Senior Counsel Malcom Ross, at the Office of the Attorney General of Washington.

The process comes from the Community Protection Act of 1990, the first of its kind in the nation, according to Ross.

Ross filed the sexually violent predator petition for Robinson’s civil commitment in Lewis County Superior Court on May 10.

When Robinson appeared last week before Judge Richard Brosey, shackled and wearing red and white striped jail garb, the judge order him to be held at the McNeil Island Special Commitment Center, pending a trial in December to determine if the former Olympia area man qualifies for the detention.

Robinson was represented by Centralia attorney J.O. Enbody.

Documents in his court file describe an evaluation conducted a year ago at the request of the state Department of Corrections End of Sentence Review Committee.

A psychologist concluded Robinson suffers from sexual sadism and anti-social personality disorder.

Robinson told C. Mark Patterson Ph.D.. he was born and raised in a farming area near Olympia, and moved out of the family home at age 27.

He said he was bullied for being in special education classes and dropped out of school in the 12th grade.

He said in an interview with a detective, according to court papers, he got a thrill out of raping, but he confessed because he “wanted it over” and wanted help.

One of the incidents was corroborated by prostitute who said he raped her at knife point in a truck near the Tacoma Tide flats, according to the documents.

Robinson was also convicted of patronizing a prostitute in 1998.

The psychologist’s opinion was Robinson is likely to commit acts of sexual violence if not confined.

The planned December trial is civil, not criminal, according to Ross.

The state Attorney General’s Office typically handles these types of cases, in the county where the criminal conviction occurred.

The attorney, who has been handling such cases for the past decade, said such a petition is filed for approximately 1 percent of offenders who are released from prison in Washington.

He estimated the facility at McNeil Island houses about 300 individuals, about two hundred of which are actually committed and the others awaiting the outcome of their case.

In order for Robinson to be civilly committed, Ross will have to prove he suffers from a mental or personality disorder which makes him likely to engage in predatory acts of sexual violence if not locked up.

Among the next steps, is finding the victim, he said. He wasn’t sure where she is from, but said she was on her way to visit the father of her child in Winlock when she was raped.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Updated at 7:17 p.m.


• Chehalis police were called just after noon time yesterday to the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center where a 17-year-old inmate allegedly kicked a guard in the head. Staff members were trying to put the teen in handcuffs and a restraining chair because he was not complying with the rules, according to the Chehalis Police Department. Police will be asking prosecutors to consider a charge of custodial assault, according to officer Linda Bailey. His name was not released because he is a juvenile.


• Deputies yesterday arrested two Vader teenagers for second-degree burglary in connection with a break-in to a shop in March on the 100 block of Annonen Road near Vader. Among the items stolen were six bottles of red wine and a reciprocating saw, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Eighteen-year-old Nathan E. Nelson was booked into the Lewis County Jail and the 17-year-old suspect was taken to the Lewis County Juvenile Detention Center, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning they took a report of three radiators stolen from Davis Lake Road near Morton. They and a five gallon gas container were stolen on Thursday, according to the sheriff’s office.


• A 51-year-old Centralia an was arrested for illegal possession of a prescription drug following contact with police about 11:30 p.m. at the 400 block of Yew Street in Centralia. James V. Meyers was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. Meyers’ case is also being referred for a possible charge of driving with a suspended license, according to police.


• A 22-year-old Mossyrock man was arrested for driving under the influence after he put his vehicle in a ditch early Saturday morning at Centralia-Alpha and Oppelt roads east of Chehalis, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy responding about 4:20 a.m. booked Daniel W. Monk into the Lewis County Jail, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.


• A 57-year-old man alleges a Centralia police officer tased him while he was handcuffed when he was arrested late last month on his rental property. William Lee Thomas, of Centralia, filed a $15,000 claim for damages with the city saying two officers attacked him when they responded to a dispute, damaging his glasses and a “sentimental belt” as well as injuring his eye, face, wrist and leg. The claim is among the agenda items for the Centralia City Council to consider tomorrow evening. Thomas wrote that police began yelling at him when they arrived and Officer (Angie) Humphreys (sp) attempted to assault him with a large fingernail and was joined in the attack by Officer “Bunker”. Officers earlier this month described the encounter as an approximately 6:15 p.m. call on April 30 to the 1000 block of North Tower Avenue about a dispute, in which Thomas was irate and grabbed a female officer’s arm and slammed it into a gate. He then swung at another officer but missed, according to the Centralia Police Department. Thomas was booked into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault and was released on an unsecured bond. Thomas further wrote police “tampered with a witness that seen the assault.” Further details were not readily available this evening.

News brief: Port Orchard pair hurt in motorcycle crash south of Winlock

Monday, May 21st, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two people were injured yesterday when a motorcycle wrecked on Interstate 5 near Vader.

Aid and troopers called about 4:50 p.m. to the scene just north of the Gee Cee’s interchange found the passenger tossed up against the center barrier and the driver in the middle of the northbound lanes.

Traffic in both directions was shut down while a helicopter landed on the freeway to transport 40-year-old Jodi L. Miracle of Port Orchard to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, according to responders. She sustained head and neck injuries, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The driver, Donald M. Marshall, 47, also from Port Orchard, was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital, according to the state patrol. He was treated for lung and shoulder injuries and transferred to an unspecified hospital.

The state patrol said weather conditions caused the driver to lose control of the motorcycle.

His 2007 Yamaha XVS13 came to rest under the barrier on the right shoulder, according to the investigating trooper.

Breaking news: Rochester stabbing suspect found hiding in abandoned house

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Thurston County sheriff's deputies gather outside the vacant house where Amanda Bassell was found hiding.

Updated at 8:22 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

ROCHESTER – Deputies this evening arrested the 23-year-old woman wanted for allegedly stabbing her mother early this morning in Rochester.

Amanda Lee Bassell was hiding in an abandoned house on Guava Street and 193rd Avenue Southwest.

She was barefoot, soaking wet and exhausted when she was found, according to Thurston County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Greg Elwin.

She was taken away to be booked for attempted first-degree murder.

At least five deputies and a K-9 searched the neighborhood around the home at the 18700 block of Elderberry Street Southwest, where Bassell had been staying with her parents.

They tracked her all day.

They thought she was on foot, possibly hunkered down in the brush somewhere or hiding in an abandoned building, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

“She’s been making phone calls trying to get help, and nobody wants to help her,” sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin said shortly after 6 p.m.

They found indications someone had crawled under a fence, which led to a vacant house just a few blocks away, a place known for attracting transients, Elwin said.

A K-9 deputy looked inside, saw wet foot prints, and Bassell ran out from the basement, he said. Two detectives caught her running across a field just after 7 p.m.

Bassell allegedly took a kitchen knife to her sleeping mother’s neck just before 4:30 a.m. today, stabbing her numerous times. The mother awoke and fended off the attack. Bassell fled before deputies arrived, according to the sheriff’s office.

Bassell was released from prison just before Mother’s Day, where she spent almost four years, much of it in solitary confinement, according to her cousin.

“She’s kinda messed up in the head, she’s paranoid,” her cousin Krystin Martinez said.

Martinez, who also lives in Rochester, said Bassell came to a barbecue at her house the day she got out and seemed alright, except for one odd thing she said.

“She told me pregnant with three babies from Jesus and she’s named all of them,” Martinez said. “That’s the only thing I noticed that wasn’t normal.”

Martinez said her cousin had married an individual associated with the LVL gang. The sheriff’s office earlier had said Bassell had strong ties to Lewis County and was believed to have gang affiliations.

Ruth Daarud, 42, was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital where she underwent surgery. She was moved to another hospital today, because her daughter called her, according to Martinez.

Martinez said her aunt came out of surgery this afternoon and was stable, but might have some continuing problems.

“She’s going to make it, but it’s worse than they thought,” Martinez said.

Elwin said Bassell was incarcerated for an eluding case out of Lewis County, and assaulted a guard while she was in prison.


Thurston County Sheriff's Office Deputy Rod Ditrich and his K-9 partner Rex leave a brushy area off Elderberry Street Southwest in Rochester.



Sheriff's deputies were called to Amanda Lee Bassell's parent's home early this morning.


For this morning’s news story and background, scroll down or click here

Breaking news: Woman sought after early morning stabbing in Rochester

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Updated at 10:50 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Authorities are searching for a 23-year-old woman, suspected of stabbing her sleeping mother in Rochester this morning.


Amanda Lee Bassell

The 42-year-old victim has been taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia and is in stable condition, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies were called around 4:30 a.m. to the 18700 block of Elderberry Street Southwest, according to the sheriff’s office.

They are looking for the daughter, Amanda Lee Bassell, described as 5-feet 4-inches tall and weighing about 130 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Bassell is wanted for attempted murder.

Sheriff’s Lt. Greg Elwin says Bassell has strong ties to Lewis County and is believed to have gang affiliations.

Elwin said the victim awoke to being assaulted and was stabbed in and around her neck numerous times.

She was able to fend off her attacker and flee the bedroom, only to collapse in another part of the house, according to Elwin. The father was asleep in another room and awoke to his wife screaming for help, he said.

He said a smaller-type kitchen knife was used.

They have no idea what prompted it, he said.

“The mother was completely asleep and woke to being attacked,” Elwin said. “There was no precipitating events. It’s a complete mystery at this point.”

The suspect fled the scene before law enforcement arrived, according to Elwin.

Bassell was recently released from prison, for cases involving eluding in Lewis County and assaulting a guard while incarcerated, according to Elwin. She was then just recently in the Lewis County Jail and released, he said.

She had been staying with her parents the past week or so, he said.

The mother is currently undergoing surgery, he said.

The sheriff’s office says Bassell, who also goes by the last name Daarud, should be considered “assaultive” and not approached if spotted. They ask that anyone who knows her whereabouts to call 911 or the sheriff’s office at 360-704-2740.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Sunday, May 20th, 2012


• A 29-year-old Centralia man was arrested after he broke the windshield of a car with a pool cue case last night, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers called about 10:20 p.m. to the 200 block of North Tower Avenue learned Randy A. Durham was intoxicated and standing in the street when a car stopped for him. Durham jumped on the hood of the vehicle and broke the windshield, Sgt. Kurt Reichert said. He was apparently uninjured. Durham was booked into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree malicious mischief, according to police.


• An Onalaska man was arrested after he pulled a hunting knife during a fight with his brother on the 100 block of North Diamond Street in Centralia on Friday afternoon. Police called just after 2 p.m. found Keith D. Williams, 47, sitting on a porch and booked him into the Lewis County Jail for second-degree assault, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 26-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of heroin and stolen property when he was picked up on warrants about 9:30 a.m. Friday on the 200 block of Floral Street in Centralia, according to police. Bryan G. Mako was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• A 25-year-old Centralia man was arrested for obstructing a public servant about 2:20 a.m. today at the 300 block of North Tower Avenue in Centralia. Antony P. Gonzalez was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.


• Two rifles in a green case were stolen after someone accidentally left them in the lot at the park and ride on Mellen Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police about 6 p.m. on Friday.


• Centralia police took a report of a broken plate glass window at a business on the 300 block of North Tower Avenue at about 12:45 a.m. today.

News brief: Emergency dispatchers to put spotlight on missing children

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Lewis County 911 Communications is inviting the public to join them tomorrow as they focus on improving what they and parents can do in cases of missing kids.

The county department plans to become certified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, with dispatchers undergoing training to promote swift and decisive responses in the critical early stages of incidents, according to an announcement.

A spokesperson for the local 911 center Laura Hanson says personnel will have educational materials available tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. when the Board of Lewis County Commissioners proclaims May 25 National Missing Children’s Day in Lewis County. That takes place on the second floor of the Historic Courthouse in Main Street in Chehalis.

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is a private organization created in 1984 in part to help police provide a nationwide resource center and clearinghouse with information about missing children.

Among those on Washington state’s missing children list are Kayla Croft-Payne, who was 18 and living outside Chehalis when she was reported missing on May 5, 2010 and Lindsey Baum, 10, who was last seen June 26, 2009, when she left a friend’s house in McCleary to walk home and never arrived.

News brief: Lewis County museum theft trial postponed

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The trial for the former museum director accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the organization’s accounts is expected to last as long as five days, but won’t start next week as planned.


Deborah Sue Knapp

Debbie Knapp, 52, remains free on an unsecured bond, following her arrest in December.

She has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges of theft in connection with an investigation that the Lewis County Historical Museum’s endowment fund of more than $460,000 was drained.

Lewis County Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead said attorneys are still examining years of financial records.

“There’s so much stuff, everybody needs more time,” Halstead said yesterday.

Knapp’s defense is listed as “general denial” on court documents.

She is represented by Chehalis attorney Ken Johnson.

Prosecutors allege Knapp routinely issued herself extra pay through payroll draws and used the museum debit card for personal expenses.

Prosecutors have said they expect further charges when an audit of the financial records is completed.

This week in Lewis County Superior Court, attorneys and a judge rescheduled Knapp’s trial for the week of October 15.

In November, when museum members learned the non-profit organization was in the red and the endowment fund was empty, four officers on the 13-member board were replaced, the accounts were closed and the museum was shut down temporarily. It has since reopened.

For background, see “Prosecutor: Former museum director gave herself thousands of dollars in fraudulent payroll draws” from Friday December 30, 2011, here