Posts Tagged ‘news reporter’

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Updated at 5:11 p.m.

FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• Centralia murder defendant Weston G. Miller pleaded guilty yesterday to four firearms charges to “clear up some issues” before his upcoming trial in the death of 43-year-old David Wayne Carson, according to Miller’s attorney. Miller, 30, remains charged with first-degree murder. His trial is scheduled in Lewis County Superior Court for the week of April 15. On March 13 of last year, Miller allegedly used a 9 mm pistol to shoot his house guest, who died at the scene. When detectives searched his home on B Street, they found a silencer, a laser site for a gun, a bullet-proof vest, a Walter 9 mm pistol, a Walter .22 caliber pistol, a Rohm revolver, a MAC-10 semi-automatic and a Winchester model 275 .22 caliber long rifle, according to charging documents. He is prohibited from owning firearms because of conviction two years earlier for  domestic fourth-degree assault. Prosecutors dropped one of the gun charges because police were afraid to test fire one of the guns in order to prove it was functional. In a very brief hearing yesterday afternoon, Miller pleaded guilty to four counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm. The standard sentencing range for the offense is one to three months in jail. Neither attorney nor the judge made any mention of when he would be sentenced.

STOLEN STUFF

• A 59-year-old man from Eatonville contacted the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office yesterday after finding someone had broken into his weekend home (trailer) at the 100 block of Fairview Drive in Ashford since Monday and left with food, a microwave, a heater, a bandsaw and a propane tank.

• A Vader property owner called the sheriff’s office yesterday after she returned from her home in Nevada to discover someone had stolen numerous tools from a shed and items from her house during the past year while she has been away, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. A family member currently lives at the home on the 200 block of Tara Lane, but an acquaintance is suspected of taking the items, according to the sheriff’s office.

• Chehalis police were contacted yesterday morning by a business on Northwest Louisiana Avenue about an employee allegedly stealing thousands of dollars by committing fraudulent refund transactions. The case is under investigation, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

• Centralia police took a report of an attempted vehicle prowl about 7:45 p.m.. yesterday at the 1000 block of North Scheuber Road. Someone damaged a lock to the car’s door but didn’t get inside, according to the Centralia Police Department.

WRECK

• A 17-year-old girl escaped serious injury but totaled her car early this morning when she missed a curve and collided with a concrete bridge barrier west of Chehalis. A deputy dispatched around 4:40 a.m. to the 100 block of Chandler Road learned the Centralia motorist suffered a possible injury from her seatbelt according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. She was cited for speed too fast as well as being behind the wheel between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. in violation of her intermediate license, according to the sheriff’s office.

ONE OF MEDICS FROM ADNA CRASH HEALING FROM CONCUSSION

• Lewis County Fire District 6 Firefighter-Paramedic Matt McCoy was off work for a couple of days after he and an AMR medic were tossed around inside the back of an ambulance during a rollover wreck early Friday morning in Adna. They were caring for a patient when the AMR ambulance left the roadway and rolled down an embankment on Twin Oaks and Cousins roads. District 6 Chief Tim Kinder this morning said McCoy got a slight concussion and also bruises on his lower extremities. He’s due to return back to work in a few days, Kinder said. The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, with the help of the state patrol, is investigating the crash. A spokesperson for AMR said he believed the vehicle hit a soft spot at a curve and that while their two employees suffered minor injuries, the patient  was strapped in tight, so suffered no injuries.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, shoplifting; calls about domestic dispute, misdemeanor assault, suspicious circumstances, found bicycle; report of stolen garbage can … and more.

News brief: Mossyrock hit with a batch of black and white anonymous messages

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013
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Police want to find out who left this message imprinted around town. / Courtesy photo

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Mossyrock Police Chief Jeremy Stamper was hoping to get a closer look today of video footage of the subjects who left numerous instances of graffiti at the middle school, on at least one church and around town over the weekend.

The black and white stencil and spray paint image was repeated on street signs, businesses and the back door of the Mossyrock Assemblies of God Church on Williams Street, according to Stamper.

The block letters accompanied by some sort of coat of arms claim “We are anonymous, we are legion, we do not forgive, we do not forget, expect us,” according to Stamper.

He said he did some research and it appears to be associated with something like Internet hackers. A recent popular documentary may have given someone the idea, he said.

“The school was by far the worst, with 21 spots on windows, doors, well, all over the place for the most part,” Stamper said.

Surveillance images show two people at about 11:30 p.m. on Friday leaving the markings at the school, he said. It was discovered on Saturday morning and a quick review of the video suggests they might be high school-aged, he said.

Stamper said he may not recognize the culprits, but someone will.

“Hopefully we can enhance it,” he said.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

THEFTS

• Centralia police responded just before 10 a.m. yesterday to the laundry business on the 500 block of North Pearl Street where an undisclosed amount of money was stolen during the night. A door was found unsecured, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A woman called Centralia police yesterday from E Street after she got a credit card bill from Victoria’s Secret of more than $400, according to the Centralia Police Department. She hadn’t ordered anything from them, according to police.

• A generator, several hand-held radios and a GPS device were among the items believed to be missing from an airport hangar in Morton, according to a report made to the Morton Police Department on Saturday.

• Someone removed a window from the Morton school bus garage, siphoned diesel from a bus and stole a Gateway laptop computer as well as a red “jump” box used for jump starting the busses, according to a report made to police on Friday morning.

• Police were called to Morton Junior-Senior High School about 9:30 a.m. on Saturday when a siphon hose and a five-gallon can were discovered near two school district vehicles parked near the boiler rooms. No fuel seemed to be missing, according to police.

• Morton police were called about 6:45 p.m. on Friday to a possible burglary to a residence on the 400 block of Oniell Road. Police reported yesterday the case is still under investigation.

• Morton police reported yesterday they arrested 40-year-old Patricia M. Horrace a week ago Monday in connection with a burglary at a home on the 100 block of Westlake Avenue. She was booked into the Lewis County Jail where she is being held on $5000 bail. She has pleaded no guilty.

DRUGS

• Morton police reported yesterday they contacted three girls at Morton Junior-Senior High School on Wednesday morning in connection with possession of a controlled substance. The cases are being referred to Lewis County juvenile prosecutors for charging decisions, according to the Morton Police Department.

• Centralia police arrested a 30-year-old man and 23-year-old woman yesterday each for possession of heroin and methamphetamine. The arrests came after police got back the results of tests of white residue from a pipe and a tarry substance from a tea candle tin, items that were handed over to police who went to visit the couple at their Centralia home last August, according to charging documents. Officers went to the residence looking for other subjects who were suspected of selling stolen property, asked the two if they used drugs and asked if they had any drug-related materials in their home, according to the documents. Carlina F. Anderson and Jeffrey C. Sitton, were booked into the Lewis County Jail and appeared before a judge this afternoon. Neither has any past felonies and were released on signature bonds pending trial.

• A 45-year-old Chehalis woman was arrested by Centralia police yesterday for drugs based on a visit to her residence three weeks ago when police were looking for two of her relatives who had arrest warrants. Those subjects weren’t found, but officers allegedly spotted several hypodermic needle and a digital scale inside, according to charging documents. Rhonda I. Russell “was told if she was honest and cooperative, she would not be arrested and the defendant agreed,” Lewis County prosecutors wrote in charging documents. “In addition the defendant agreed to help law enforcement apprehend additional suspects in the near future. That, apparently, did not occur and the defendant was arrested.” Russell was charged today with possession of methamphetamine. Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer said Russell has no criminal history and asked she be allowed to be released pending trial on a $25,000 signature bond. Judge Richard Brosey asked why she wasn’t arrested earlier this month if police had probable cause then, or conversely, why she was jailed yesterday instead of being summonsed to court with a letter. Meyer indicated that police decided how to handle it.

HAVE YOU SEEN THESE FIREARMS?

• Lewis County Crime Stoppers is looking for tips on the locations of eight guns and 2,000 rounds of ammunition that were stolen in a residential burglary three weeks ago on the 700 block of Chandler Road west of Chehalis. Also taken sometime between 9:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. on March 11 from the home were a 36-inch Peerless flat screen television, a green Dell laptop computer, a black and gray Netbook laptop and a FireSAFE safe, according to Crime Stoppers. The missing ammo were 10 boxes of 9 mm and a 1,000-round box of .22LR, according to Crime Stoppers. The firearms are as follows: Marlin .22 rifle with scope, Ruger .22 rifle with scope, Remington 9mm rifle with scope, 25-20 lever action rifle, Remington 30.06 pump action rifle, Colt .22 antique revolver and a Ruger .22 pistol, serial #21359540. Crime Stoppers pays up to $1,000 for information leading to the clearance of crimes. Anonymous calls can be made to 1-800-748-6422.

AND MORE

• And as usual, other incidents such as arrests for warrants, driving with a suspended license,; responses for domestic disturbances, non-injury collision, stolen bicycle, possibly intoxicated driver, suspicious person; complaint that someone “keyed” a vehicle, noisy neighbors … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, April 1st, 2013

POLICE: CHEHALIS MAN SPRAYS ANOTHER WITH BEAR MACE

• A 24-year-old Centralia man called 911 on Saturday afternoon after he was attacked with bear mace in north Centralia, according to police. Police called about 3:20 p.m. were told he was invited to a residence on the 1300 block of Windsor Avenue and when he arrived, was met outside by someone and as they walked toward the rear of the home someone else jumped out of the bushes and sprayed him. The substance is like pepper spray used on bears, and is much more potent than even the spray police officers use in their work, according to Sgt. Kurt Reichert. Damen Kroll, 23, of Chehalis, was subsequently arrested for fourth-degree assault, and booked in to the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department.

PACKWOOD FIGHT SENDS ONE TO HARBORVIEW

• Deputies were called about 2 a.m. on Saturday to Packwood after a 26-year-old man from Auburn was stabbed, allegedly during a fight with a 25-year-old man from University Place. It happened at a gathering at a home on the 100 block of Terrace Way, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The victim was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he was in stable condition last night, according to detective Sgt. Dusty Breen. It’s unclear if it was done in self defense and is under investigation, according to Breen. Breen declined to say what the alleged implement involved was. The 25-year-old suffered some minor injuries, he said.

CENTRALIA SWORD THREAT LANDS MAN IN JAIL

• A 52-year-old man was arrested on Friday evening after allegedly pushing his ex-girlfriend and threatening to cut her up with a sword, according to the Centralia Police Department. Officers called about 7:30 p.m. to the 1000 block of Long Road in Centralia booked Edward A. Morgan, of Chehalis, into the Lewis County Jail for third-degree assault, according to police.

ONY FIGHT ENDS WITH ARREST

• A 21-year-old Onalaska man was arrested for taking swings at a large group of people who attempted to break up a fight between him and another subject at about 7:50 a.m. on Friday at the 300 block of Carlisle Avenue, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Connor F. Green allegedly refused to identify himself, lied about having a gun and was resistive when deputies tried to detain him. He was booked into the Lewis County Jail, for disorderly conduct, resisting and obstructing, according to the sheriff’s office.

BAD TEXTS AND PHONE CALLS

• Centralia police were contacted about 10:15 p.m. yesterday on West Third Street about a girl receiving sexually explicit text messages from a man. They are investigating.

• A mother called Centralia police on Friday to report her daughter received more than 300 phone calls from a male the daughter has a protection order against, according to the Centralia Police Department. The case is under investigation.

• Chehalis police were called about 7:30 p.m. on Saturday to the 400 block of North Market Boulevard where a man complained he got a harassing text from the grown son of the woman he is dating. He was asked to make a formal report after he sobered up, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

INTOXICATED 20-YEAR-OLD STUMBLES ACROSS DEPUTY

• A 20-year-old Chehalis man found about 2:33 a.m. on Saturday drunk and staggering down the side of the roadway at the 600 block of Forest Napavine Road West south of Chehalis was given a citation and then a ride home. Gregory S. Albright, who said he’d been drinking Bacardi and Jack Daniels, was cited for minor in possession and / or consumption, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

VEHICLE PROWL

• Someone stole the steering wheel (and ignition) to a 1987 Jeep pickup at the 1300 block of North Pearl Street in Centralia, according to a report made to police just before noon yesterday.

BURGLARY AND THEFT

• Centralia police were called about 3:30 p.m. yesterday to the 1800 block of North Pearl Street where they were told a home had been broken into and video games stolen.

• Police took a report yesterday about 1:15 p.m. of a break-in to a basement of a residence on the 600 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia. It’s not clear if anything is missing or how or even if someone got inside, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Chehalis police were called about 9:15 p.m. on Saturday regarding the theft from an enclosed back porch on the 600 block of Southwest Pacific Avenue of two chainsaws, a leaf blower and a weed eater sometime during the day.

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning they identified a possible suspect through security video in the theft of a ski bag with gear valued at more than $1,100 from the White Pass Ski Lodge on the 13000 block of U.S. Highway 12 that occurred last Tuesday. The victim is a 63-year-old Longview man, according to the sheriff’s office.

DRUGS

• A 24-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and heroin when they were allegedly found on her after she was picked up on a warrant at the 1000 block of South Gold Street in Centralia Saturday afternoon. An officer contacted Chantel Latour just after 1 p.m. at the same time as contacting another person with a warrant, according to the Centralia Police Department. Latour and 27-year-old David Lindsay were booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

• A 51-year-old Centralia man was arrested for possession of methamphetamine and a stolen motorcycle on Friday at North Gold and Marion streets in Centralia. Martin W. Gallagher was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

OOPS

• Chehalis police were contacted by security personnel at Wal-Mart about 7 p.m. last night who said they received a call from a woman who said she’d just arrived home and realized she left her toddler in a shopping cart in the parking lot. A spokesperson for the police department said there was no arrest and no report written, so she didn’t know any more details or even if it truly occurred.

AND MORE

• And as usual, arrests for warrants, driving with a suspended license (or allowing a suspended driver behind the wheel of one’s car), misdemeanor domestic assaults; complaints of loud music, loud dog; responses for non-injury collision, misdemeanor thefts, lost purse, runaway child, request for a check on a relative who didn’t take her meds and didn’t come home … and more.

New DNA analysis being conducted on old Maurin murder evidence

Monday, April 1st, 2013
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Ricky A. Riffe consults with his lawyer during a hearing today in Lewis County Superior Court.

Updated at 3:40 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – There was a “drop dead” date for the trial of accused double kidnapper, murderer Ricky A. Riffe to begin, however, testing of recently rediscovered evidence has prompted yet another postponement.

Riffe, 54, was charged last summer in the 1985 abduction and shooting of Ed and Wilhelmina Maurin, an elderly couple who lived in Ethel.

He was in Lewis County Superior Court today when attorneys, and the judge, agreed to delay the trial from May until this coming October.

Defense attorney John Crowley made the request and Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead said he had no objection.

Crowley said that about a week ago, the sheriff’s office discovered hair from the car and also a cigarette butt found in a trash can in the Maurin’s bathroom, and wanted to get the items tested for DNA.

The Maurins weren’t smokers, he said.

Judge Richard Brosey recalled he had previously set a firm deadline, noting some of the victims’ family are concerned they’re not getting any younger. But he agreed to the change in dates.

“If there’s any other evidence that needs to be tested, find it and get it done,” Brosey told prosecutors.

His client is happy to wait for the results, according to Crowley.

“He said, ‘my DNA is not on that cigarette, get it tested’,” Crowley said.

The former Lewis County resident is charged with two counts each of first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree robbery, as well as one count of burglary. He has been held at the Lewis County Jail since his arrest in July at his home in Alaska.

A pre-trial hearing previously scheduled for the last two days of this week was reset for the morning of Sept. 6.

Essentially an after thought, attorneys also asked to postpone the trial date setting in a new case recently filed against Riffe. He was charged earlier this year with two instances of allegedly raping and fondling a young relative almost 30 years ago. Not guilty pleas have been entered in that case.

The murder trial is now scheduled to begin the week of Oct. 7 and last three to  four weeks. Prosecutors now say they have subpoenaed 200 witnesses

•••

For background, read “Maurin homicide: Riffe pleads not guilty, his attorney hints at proof” from Thursday August 23, 2012, here

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Friday, March 29th, 2013

JUST ODD STUFF

• A 35-year-old Centralia man was arrested about 2 p.m. yesterday after he allegedly walked into traffic at West Main Street and Harrison in Centralia and intentionally hit a passing vehicle. Ranier P. Wagner was booked into the Lewis County Jail for disorderly conduct and malicious mischief, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 33-year-old homeless man was arrested yesterday morning after he was allegedly threatening people as he rode his bike in the area of the 1700 block of Cooks Hill Road in Centralia. Terry L. Bryan, who is from Chehalis, appeared to be under the influence of some type of drugs and was booked into the Lewis County for disorderly conduct, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A 49-year-old Centralia woman was arrested for disorderly conduct around noon Wednesday when police discovered she was walking in the middle of the street at North Tower Avenue and East Pine Street in Centralia. Barbara A. Heppe was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to the Centralia Police Department. Heppe was booked for the same thing last week and the week before.

DOMESTIC DISPUTE

• Centralia police arrested a 36-year-old Centralia man about 7 p.m. yesterday after he allegedly physically prevented his wife from leaving their home during an argument. Robert D. Hutcherson was booked into the Lewis County Jail for unlawful imprisonment, but released from jail this afternoon.

DRUGS

• Centralia police arrested two people about 6:20 a.m. today for possession of methamphetamine and fourth-degree domestic assault. Nathaniel S. McDrummond, and Kayla K. Cunha, both 24 and both homeless were booked into the Lewis County Jail after contact with officers at the 1000 block of Eckerson Road, according to the Centralia Police Department.

THEFT

• Centralia police took a report on Tuesday afternoon that someone broke into the Borst home on the 2500 block of Pioneer Way and stole a clock.

• A deputy was called yesterday to vacant residential property on the 100 block of Nikula Road West in Winlock where someone had broken in and left with three folding chairs and a cable box sometime since noon the day before. Damaged were two windows and a mercury vapor light, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

• Centralia police were called to the 500 block of South Tower Avenue on Tuesday afternoon where someone had attempted to break into a shop and likely got an electric shock when they cut a large wire outside, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A utility trailer and tools were reported stolen on Tuesday from the 300 block of N Street in Centralia, according to police.

UPDATE FROM THE COURTHOUSE

• Murder defendant Weston G. Miller is scheduled for a change of plea this coming Wednesday, not for the murder count but for the second-degree unlawful possession of firearms charges which were filed at the same time after his house guest was fatally shot a year ago in his Centralia home. Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Brad Meagher said yesterday it was at the request of Miller and Miller’s attorney and he presumed it was for “strategic” reasons. Miller’s trial for first-degree murder in the death of 43-year-old David Wayne Carson is still on the calendar for the week of April 15. He was initially charged with five counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm but one of those has been dropped by prosecutors. Meagher said a gun has to actually be a functioning firearm but police were afraid to test fire it.

AUTHORITIES POINT TO WALL HEATER IN COUNTY SHOP FIRE

• The fire that destroyed the Lewis County road department shop east of Glenoma on Friday night appears to have originated with a 10-15-year-old Cadet heater. Whether it malfunctioned, there was an electrical issue or perhaps over time dried out the wood behind it isn’t yet known, according to Paulette Young who is the risk and safety administrator for the county. Young described the heater as one that was installed in the wall, set at a certain temperature and generally left turned on. The large metal building and its contents are a total loss, she said. Among the items destroyed were four 12-yard dump trucks, two front-end loaders, other heavy equipment, trucks and smaller tools, according to Young. The new replacement value for the equipment alone would be around $2 million, Lewis County public works director and county engineer Tim Elsea said today. Elsea said a temporary office has been set up on the site, with power getting hooked up to it today. “It’s definitely a tragedy, without a doubt,” Elsea said. “Seeing those guys go through it is very hard.” About nine road department employees begin and end their workdays at the site, where their tools were stored, he said. The heater was originally put in  a room with a well head, but since was used to keep sandbags dry, according to Young. Elsea said he’s asked supervisors to go out and make sure they don’t have those types of heaters installed in any of the other four similar shops around the county. Elsea said he didn’t know when the last time was the county fire marshal inspected the building. They won’t know the final cost of the fire until after they meet with their insurers next week.

AND MORE

• And more, such as arrests for DUIs, shoplifting, trespassing, warrants, misdemeanor assaults; responses for non-injury collisions, burglary alarms, broken window, suspicious people, and concerns about an upset former patient calling Steck Clinics … and more.

Rehabilitated Winlock eagles to return home tomorrow

Friday, March 29th, 2013
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Courtesy photo by West Sound Wildlife Shelter

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The bald eagles poisoned last week as they fed off horse carcasses in Winlock have recovered and are set to be released tomorrow back in the same area they were found.

“It’s mating season, we need to get them back out there,” Lisa Horn, executive director of the West Sound Wildlife Shelter, said today.

The six birds were taken to a center in Olympia and then transferred to the Bainbridge Island wildlife hospital on Sunday where they received around-the-clock care, including an antidote. They were critical, Horn said.

When they arrived, some were vomiting and convulsing, others were unconscious, she said. By Tuesday, four of them had been moved to an outside cage where they were regaining their strength.

Horn said they ingested meat from two horses which had been euthanized four days earlier and left in a field.

The potent drug pentobarbital sodium is used by veterinarians for humane, painless and rapid euthanasia.

Bald eagles are no longer listed as an endangered species, but are protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. They can’t be hunted or harmed and even the use of their feathers and body parts is highly regulated, said Joan Jewett, a spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Fish and Wildlife authorities are investigating the situation, according to Jewett.

“We’re in the early stages,” she said.

A violation of the act is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and $100,000 fine, for each bird, she said.

The (Longview) Daily News reported on Wednesday a seventh eagle rehabilitated in Portland was released back to a Winlock pasture.

One is an adult male, the rest are 2-years-old or younger, with just one of those juveniles being female, according to Horn.

“They are all doing really, really well,” she said.

Horn estimated each day of treatment cost more than $3,000.

West Sound Wildlife Shelter announced today the formation of a fund specifically to care for bald eagles at their clinic, that would also include educational outreach.
•••

For background, read “Read about at least seven bald eagles accidentally poisoned in Winlock …” from Tuesday March 26, 2013, here

Ambulance accident near Adna sends four to hospital

Friday, March 29th, 2013
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Courtesy photo by Zachary Sanchez, Grant’s Towing

Updated at 11:41 a.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – An ambulance on its way to the hospital with a patient wrecked early this morning west of Chehalis.

It was about 3:20 a.m. when the vehicle left the roadway at Twin Oaks and Cousins roads. Four individuals were taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with what a news release described as minor injuries.

Personnel from Lewis County Fire District 6 and American Medical Response were conducting the transport, according to the news release issued by a volunteer from a neighboring fire agency.

It was an AMR ambulance which sustained what was described as major damage.

The Washington State Patrol is investigating, Lt. Laura Hanson of Lewis County Fire District 5 wrote.

District 6 Chief Tim Kinder was unavailable this morning to respond to questions.

A spokesperson for AMR said he believed the vehicle hit a soft spot at a curve.

“It didn’t tip it over, it kind of put it at an angle,” AMR Director of Communications Brant Butte said.

The patient was strapped in tight, so suffered no injuries, Butte said. The crew of two AMR medics escaped with just bumps and bruises, he said.

Butte didn’t know who the fourth individual was, but said sometimes responders from the local fire district jump in for the transport.

He said he didn’t know anything about the patient, other than they were unhurt.

“The thing is, everybody is okay,” Butte said.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office responded about 4:15 a.m. to investigate and said the ambulance rolled down an embankment on the north side of the road and came to rest on its top.

The patient was a male being transported for a medical emergency, Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said.

Whether the 26-year-old driver, from Lacey, is ticketed, remains to be seen, according to Brown. That will be decided after the state patrol’s technical investigation is finished, Brown said.

The sheriff’s office requested the state patrol because it was a company vehicle, it was an ambulance, there was a patient involved and there are potential liabilities, Brown said.

 

Girlfriend of police informant accosted; bystander stabbed

Thursday, March 28th, 2013
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Justin Razor, with scuff marks on his forehead, is charged today for assault, intimidating a witness.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – The fight last night in Centralia that ended with a stabbing was over a snitch, and someone stepping in to defend the informant’s girlfriend against a couple now charged with intimidating a witness, according to authorities.

Justin Razor, 27, and Emily Satcher, 23, went before a judge this afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court. His bail was set at $75,000; hers at $35,000.

Defense attorney Bob Schroeter described Satcher as a straight-A student at Centralia College with no previous run ins with the law, who is only thinly connected by one comment to police to her boyfriend’s issue involving the witness.

Both Satcher and Razor are charged however with first-degree assault and intimidating a witness; either as a principal or as an accomplice.

The stabbing victim, Oscar A. Paguaga, was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with a stab wound to the side of his chest that appeared to have punctured a lung and cuts to his arm and leg, according to charging documents.

According to charging documents, the informant told police he recently received text messages from Razor, threatening to put him in the hospital after breaking his face open, and telling him they know who his girlfriend is and where they hang out.

The informant stated to police he believed the messages were about him recently assisting police as a confidential informant in the arrest of one of Razor’s friends; he is expected to testify as a witness in the case, charging documents state.

Last night’s events outside an apartment building on  the 600 block of North Washington Avenue began when the informant’s girlfriend, Leticia, arrived to visit friends and a black Trailblazer blocked her in, then two people jumped out and yelled that her boyfriend was a snitch, according to charging documents.

She said she knows Razor and Satcher, the documents state.

Charging documents then go on to give the following account:

Paguaga heard the commotion and came out of his apartment to tell the couple to leave.

Police this morning described that Paguaga came to his girlfriend’s aid, but charging documents indicate Leticia is actually the informant’s girlfriend.

Leticia said Razor attacked Paguaga, they fought on the ground and Satcher jumped on top of them.

Leticia and some other women at the scene pulled Satcher off and a man arrived and helped get Razor off Paguaga. That man was bitten by Razor.

Razor and Satcher fled in their vehicle but were subsequently apprehended by law enforcement.

Police have confirmed the text messages came from two phone numbers belonging to Razor and Satcher. Detectives were in the process today of getting search warrants to look through their cell phones and the vehicle.

Police, arriving about 9:30 p.m., questioned witnesses, and reported this morning Paguaga was stabbed by an adult male. Charging documents don’t specify which of the two did it.

Razor and Satcher live together outside Chehalis. Their arraignments are scheduled for next Thursday.

 

News brief: Man stabbed during dispute outside Centralia apartment complex

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Two Chehalis residents are jailed after a fight last night outside a Centralia apartment building in which a man was stabbed.

Police describe the participants as acquaintances who were engaged in an ongoing dispute.

The victim, whose name, age and hometown weren’t immediately available, is hospitalized with a chest wound, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Police responded just before 9:30 p.m. to a dispute involving several people at the 600 block of North Washington Avenue in Centralia.

Officers were told a couple in a Chevrolet Trailblazer were threatening a woman and when the man came to her – his girlfriend’s – aid, he was jumped by the couple in the vehicle, according to police.

The SUV fled the area before police arrived, but was located by Chehalis police, according to Sgt. Stacy Denham.

Justin Razor, 27, and Emily Satcher, 23, were arrested for first-degree assault and booked into the Lewis County Jail.

Gunshot-wounded suspect from failed jewelry store heist arrested this morning

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Police arrested a suspect this morning in last week’s downtown Centralia jewelry store burglary that ended in gunfire when the adult son of the shop owner who lives upstairs woke up and confronted an intruder rifling through a showcase.

Jeremy Salewsky fired one round that police now know struck the burglar in the lower back, according to the Centralia Police Department.

Officers called about 7 a.m. last Wednesday to Salewsky’s Jewelry shop on the 200 block of North Tower Avenue learned that two masked males fled the area, leaving a trail of dropped jewelry and getting into two getaway cars each with a female behind the wheel.

Detective Sgt. Pat Fitzgerald said today they arrested Justin D. McPherson, 29, of Auburn, as he was being released from a Tacoma hospital about 10:30 a.m. today.

“He’s got an extensive criminal background, he’s well known to police in the Renton, Kent, Auburn area,” Fitzgerald said.

Police are still looking for the getaway cars, described as a red newer model Mercedes and a silver newer Toyota Scion FRS – or a Subaru BRZ. Both had tinted windows.

McPherson’s injury was serious, and detectives actually figured out the following day he was at Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tacoma, according to Fitzgerald. They didn’t however, contact him until this morning, Fitzgerald said.

The bullet was a 45 caliber ACP.

Video surveillance images at the hospital showed a woman in a red Mercedes dropping McPherson – with a gunshot wound – off there about 8 a.m. last Wednesday, according to police.

When the woman, his girlfriend, arrived on Friday evening to visit McPherson, police arrested her, police revealed today. Jennifer Nordyke, 30, of Auburn, was booked into the Lewis County Jail for burglary.

Fitzgerald said the offense for Nordyke is the same, whether she entered the building or not. Sort of like as an accomplice, he said.

The break-in occurred about 6:30 a.m., though Jeremy Salewsky called his father first, and then police were notified.

Fitzgerald said he saw no reason for the younger Salewsky to get in any kind of trouble for shooting the intruder, in the back or otherwise. A final decision on that matter would be up to the prosecutor’s office however, he said.

When police investigated, they found someone had entered the store by cutting a hole in the wall of an adjacent empty business. They broke through the back door of the vacant building next door, Fitzgerald said.

“We’re still trying to make that connection, of how they knew about that place,” he said.

Police were told the masked intruder left through the same hole in the wall.

Detectives continue to pursue leads regarding other aspects of the case, Fitzgerald said.

It’s still not clear what if anything is missing from the jewelry store.

“There was a lot of property left in the adjacent building, and a trail outside,” Fitzgerald said.

Nordyke is being held on $35,00 bail. McPherson will likely have a bail hearing tomorrow afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court.

Police are still looking for their other two suspects, and the cars. Fitzgerald is asking anyone with any information to call detectives at 360-330-7680.

•••

For background, read “Breaking news: Centralia jewelry shop burglary interrupted with gunshot” from Wednesday March 20, 2013 at 10:27 a.m., here

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Centralia police say the getaway cars looked like these.

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Montesano courthouse shooting victim tells of looking up at her own gun

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013
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Deputy Polly Davin testifies about the moments on March 9 of last year when she wrestled with a man and was shot.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Deputy Polly Davin told jurors of the moments before and after a man she approached inside the Grays Harbor County Courthouse twisted her duty weapon out of her hand and pointed it at her; she was laying on the floor and he was standing within kicking distance.

“The muzzle of the gun never stopped moving,” Davin said. “From my chest, up to my face.”

“I heard two shots,” she said.

One bullet went through her forearm, the other missed, according to attorneys who addressed a jury of four men and eight women today.

Davin said her assailant then looked around for a few seconds, and walked out the courthouse door.

The case of Steven Daniel Kravetz comes from the day a little more than a year ago that Davin was shot and a judge was stabbed inside the courthouse in Montesano in Grays Harbor County.

Lewis County Superior Court Judge Richard Brosey is presiding, since judges in Grays Harbor recused themselves. A Lewis County jury is hearing the case in Chehalis.

Kravetz, 35, is charged with attempted second-degree murder and first-degree assault.

This afternoon in Lewis County Superior Court, Grays Harbor County Prosecutor H. Steward Menefee in opening statements described how Kravetz had been frustrated, for a long time. He was frustrated with sheriff’s office employees, district court officials, and hospital staff about how he’d been treated.

“Finally he decided he’d had enough,” Menefee said.

Menefee said Kravetz had begun to believe there was a conspiracy, conducted research to identify those involved and finally on March 9 of last year, took a bus from Olympia to the courthouse.

“He decided there must be some documents in the prosecutor’s office to prove the conspiracy,” Menefee said.

Jury selection began this morning; the prosecution began putting on its case late this afternoon.

Centralia defense attorney David Arcuri took only about seven minutes to open, conceding the basic facts about the struggle, the gun and the knife.

Arcuri suggested jurors listen closely to what is presented about what Kravetz was thinking at the time of the incident.

“What the state is not going to be able to prove to you is intent,” Arcuri told jurors.

Jurors heard this afternoon about a court employee spotting a man who seemed to be loitering, seemed to have no official business and appeared as though he didn’t want his face to be seen.

Deputy Davin responded from the sheriff’s office to look for the subject she said was described as dressed professionally in slacks and a blue shirt, and carrying a brief case.

Davin said she entered at the lower level, went upstairs and then had returned to the top of the stairway when she finally saw the subject ahead of her.

She asked what he was up to, asked him for identification, and when she started to put her hand on his elbow, he suddenly turned and attacked her, she said.

The man put his arm around her neck and pulled her close to him, and as she struggled to reach her radio, she put her right arm against her gun, Davin testified.

“I felt him get a sudden surge of energy, is what it felt like to me,” Davin said. “Then he took me to the ground, he threw me to the ground.”

He was on top of her, she was flailing, she said.

Then Grays Harbor Superior Court Judge David L. Edwards appeared, grabbed the man and shoved him away, Menefee had already told jurors.

Davin said as the judge was trying to fight the man off, she saw stabbing motions.

“I was still on he ground, I drew my gun, pointed it in their direction and I said stop,” Davin testified.

The man stopped stabbing the judge, Davin said, but he turned toward her, wrenched the gun from her grip and pointed it.

Her survival instincts took over, and she was kicking at his legs, she said.

“I couldn’t get a good kick in,” Davin said.

Menefee asked her what she was thinking.

“When the shot hit me, I remember it was pretty painful,” she said. “I was immobilized.”

After the gunshots, according to Menefee, the judge believed the deputy was dead and retreated upstairs to hide. Davin said she lay on the floor for awhile, with her Taser, in case the assailant came back.

Davin’s .45 caliber Glock was found when a search was conducted at Kravetz mother’s home in Olympia, according to Menefee. Kravetz had called his mother to come and get him from the courthouse, Menefee said.

Judge Edwards is expected to take the witness stand in the morning.

The trial could last into Tuesday.

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Steven Daniel Kravetz listens to his attorney David Arcuri as the first day of trial comes to a close.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Updated at 5:37 p.m.

POLICE: SUSPECTED DRUG DEALER ARRESTED IN CENTRALIA

• A 30-year-old Centralia man was arrested after multiple officers from Chehalis and Centralia visited a home on the 800 block of South Pearl Street in Centralia yesterday morning to serve a search warrant. Anthony B. Velazquez, who was staying at the home, was found in the bathroom, according to police. There were several other individuals present who were questioned and then released, Chehalis Police Department detective Sg. Gary Wilson said. Wilson said officers found in Velazquez’s room drugs and items that led them to arrest him for possession of drugs with intent to deliver. Among the items found were scales, plastic bags which could be used for packaging, and about 26 grams of suspected methamphetamine along with about one and a half grams of heroin, according to Wilson. Velazquez was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

MEDS AND JEWELRY MISSING

• Patricia M. Horrace, was arrested yesterday by Morton police for allegedly going into her neighbor’s home on Westlake Avenue the day before and taking aspirin, cough syrup and some jewelry. Horrace was booked for second-degree burglary, according to the Morton Police Department.

MORTON STORE BREAK-IN

• A 52-year-old man was arrested on Saturday night for allegedly burglarizing a Morton business, Jan’s Lost and Found. Mark E. Clevenger, of Morton, was booked into the Lewis County Jail, according to police.

JAIL BREAK-IN ATTEMPT MADE

• A deputy was called about 9 p.m. yesterday to the old Vader Jail on the 500 block of A Street where someone apparently tried to break in again. A muddy shoe print was discovered on the outside of a locked door which was kicked in, but they didn’t get inside because of numerous items stacked behind the door, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

VEHICLE THEFT

• Morton police were called Thursday night by a woman who said she found her pickup truck about three blocks away from her home (where it should have been) and its stereo was missing. There were no signs of forced entry to the vehicle, according to police.

YOUTH FOUND TRESPASSING IN VACANT HOUSE

• Police were called about 5:25 p.m. yesterday to the 1700 block of Juneman Street in Centralia after a representative of a bank on a foreclosed home discovered a 12-year-old boy inside, doing unspecified damage. The case is being referred for a possible charge of second-degree burglary, according to the Centralia Police Department.

VANDALISM

• Police took a report of graffiti spray painted on a garage at the 200 block of South Diamond Street in Centralia yesterday morning.

SPECIAL DELIVERY BY POLICE: A BABY

• Centralia police responded to a report of an apparent verbal dispute yesterday but instead found a screaming pregnant woman in labor. As officers were enroute about 12:25 p.m. to the home on West Roanoke at Ahlers Avenue, they were told by the 911 caller his neighbor woman had come outside onto he front lawn and it turned out she was shouting because she was about to give birth, according to police. She was home alone, Sgt. Carl Buster said. The two male officers sped up and when they arrived, tried to stall her until the ambulance showed up, to no avail, according to Buster. The infant’s head had already “crowned” so they helped her to the ground and assisted with the delivery, he said. “One little push, and he was out,” Buster said. Aid then arrived and took the mother and infant to Providence Centralia Hospital. They were doing fine as far as he knew, Fire Capt. Erik Olson said. It’s a boy.

AND MORE

• And more, such as arrests for warrant, violation of no contact order, driving with a suspended license, reports of stolen bicycles, wandering dogs, verbal disputes, disagreement between two businesses about a sandwich sign, a reportedly out of control student at a high school, complaint someone else seems to be using another individual’s account, and, someone who arrived at a house he’d just bought and saw smoke was coming from the chimney and someone was looking out the window, even though nobody should be there  … and more.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Updated

HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS LOST

• A 40-year-old man called Chehalis police yesterday morning when he discovered he’d lost $1,600 cash sometime the afternoon before while he was out and about at various businesses in Chehalis and Centralia. The money was in a bank envelope in his pocket before it disappeared, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

SCISSOR THREAT

• A 29-year-old Onalaska man was arrested for allegedly waving scissors at his mother and threatening to kill her on Friday night at the 100 block of Hogue Road, Zim I. Hall was booked into the Lewis County Jail for felony harassment, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

WARRANT ARRESTS IN WINLOCK

• Officers from three police agencies converged up a residence on the 400 block of Hawkins Road in Winlock at about 11:30 p.m. on Friday to arrest two subjects who were targets of the “South County Task Force” for several weeks, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. Zachery E. Torres and Jessica D. Church, both 23 and from Winlock, were found hiding in a bathroom and both were wanted for unspecified warrants, according to Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown.

MANY BREAK-INS, LITTLE IF ANYTHING STOLEN

• A woman returned home about 6:15 p.m. yesterday to the 2000 block of Jackson Highway in Chehalis to find her door off its hinges, according to police. Nothing seemed to be missing.

• Police were called about 10:25 a.m. on Friday to the 600 block of South Cedar Street where a resident said someone entered his home while he was away and left it in disarray. Nothing appeared to be missing, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police took a report on Saturday morning that someone had broken in to a vacant house on the 900 block of North Washington Avenue. It did not appear anything was taken, according to the Centralia Police Department.

• Centralia police are investigating someone burglarizing an unoccupied home on the 100 block of East Oakview Avenue in Centralia. It was reported on Friday night. Police did not specify what might have been missing.

CAR PROWL

• Someone stole an EBT card from a vehicle on the 1600 block of North Pearl Street in centralia, according to a report made to police on Friday morning.

VANDALISM

• Police were called about 4:20 a.m. on Saturday when a window was broken at a residence on the 1600 block of Windsor Avenue in Centralia. The subject or subjects fled before officers arrived,  according to the Centralia Police Department.

• A man called police about 3:45 p.m. on Saturday regarding someone breaking the window his vehicle at the 1100 block of Northwest Cedar Way in Chehalis.

CHIMNEY FIRE EXTINGUISHED

• Firefighters were called just before 8 p.m. on Saturday to a chimney fire at the 400 block of Southwest Canyon Loop in Winlock. The residents were home when it occurred but nobody was hurt and the damage was minimal, according to Lewis County Fire District 15.

COUNTY SHOP FIRE UNDER INVESTIGATION

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reports this morning it is assisting with the investigation into the fire that burned the Kiona Road County Shop at the 8900 block of U.S. Highway 12 on Friday evening. Firefighters from Glenoma and five neighboring districts extinguished the blaze that was reported about 6:15 p.m. and destroyed the building and various equipment. A passerby had advised seeing a fire in one of the shop bays and that it appeared a piece of equipment was ablaze, according to the sheriff’s office.

WRECK

• A 23-year-old Randle woman was reportedly uninjured when she drove around a curve, lost control of her car and traveled down an embankment on Friday morning on Cispus Road near Randle. A deputy responding about 9:30 a.m. to the area near mile market 5 noted it had been snowing, with slush and snow on the road. The 2001 Subaru Outback sustained major damage, according to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office. The car was impounded and the driver cited for speeds too fast for conditions, according to the sheriff’s office.

AND MORE …

• And more, such as arrests for warrants, driving with suspended licenses; reports of stolen bicycles, suspected fights, light fixtures stolen from a rental home by former tenants, a $250 carburetor vanishing from an estate sale, someone  driving in the parking lot at K-Mart with a subject on their hood and a vehicle that seemed to have been stolen while its owner was shopping at the Lewis County Mall but was just temporarily misplaced … and more.

News brief: Trial starts tomorrow in Chehalis for Montesano courthouse attack case

Monday, March 25th, 2013

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

The trial for the man accused of attacking a judge and a deputy at the courthouse in Montesano last March is set for this week in Lewis County Superior Court.

Judge Richard Brosey will preside. Centralia defense attorney David Arcuri is representing Steven Daniel Kravetz.

Proceedings begin tomorrow morning and are expected to last at least until the end of this week.

The (Aberdeen) Daily World reports Arcuri will argue his 35-year-old client has diminished capacity.

News brief: County roads shop in Glenoma burns

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013
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The county shop off U.S. Highway 12 near Kiona Creek smolders. / Courtesy photo by Bill Serrahn

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

Firefighters from six agencies battled a blaze last night that swept through a Lewis County road department shop in Glenoma.

Nobody was injured but the building was destroyed, according to Lewis County Fire District 18 Chief Ed Lowe.

“It’s going to be a total loss,” Lowe said.

Lowe was at the scene this morning with fire investigators looking into the cause.

“Two here now and more coming,” he said.

Crews called around 6:15 p.m. to the structure off U.S. Highway near near Bowen Road were joined by firefighters from Mossyrock, Morton, Mineral and Packwood, Lowe said. They were out there until after midnight, he said.

He estimated the metal-sided shop was about 150 feet by 30 feet.

“They lost some of their trucks, equipment, snow plows and such,” he said.

Koralynn Fister: Dead toddler’s mother pleads innocent to putting little one in harm’s way

Friday, March 22nd, 2013
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Becky M. Heupel prepares to leave the courtroom after bail was settled with a $10,000 signature bond today.

Updated at 8:18 p.m.

By Sharyn  L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Almost a year after losing her 2-year-old daughter to torturous sexual abuse of a new live-in boyfriend, Becky M. Heupel today faced a judge, charged with failing to protect the little girl.

Heupel, 31, admitted to police, according to prosecutors, that if she had witnessed injuries on someone else’s child that she saw on her own daughter, she would have called the police.

The Centralia woman pleaded not guilty this afternoon to second-degree criminal mistreatment in Lewis County Superior Court. It’s a class C felony.

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Koralynn Fister

Koralynn Fister died last May 24 of head injuries and drowning; the boyfriend James Reeder said he found her face down in the bathtub when he stepped out to get a towel.

Flanked by two women in the Chehalis courtroom described by Koralynn’s father as Heupel’s advocates, the mother did her best to avoid news cameras, and said very little during the brief hearing.

Heupel, who is partially deaf, used a hearing device provided by courtroom staff.

“I think it’s bogus,” her father Terry Heupel said of the criminal charge. “She ended up with a bad fellow she trusted. She was like a mother hen to those kids.”

Becky Heupel has a 4-year-old daughter who was put into foster care by the state when Koralynn died.

Heupel’s step-mother, sister, grandmother and other apparent supporters were among those who attended the proceedings. David Fister, father of Koralynn, was present as well.

Fister said he preferred not to comment, wishing to stay out of the spotlight.

Koralynn would have turned 3 years old two weeks ago, the toddler’s grandfather said.

“For her birthday, instead of gearing up up for a celebration, we went to the cemetery,” Terry Heupel said. “That was hard.”

Charges were filed two weeks ago, and Heupel was summonsed by mail to appear for today’s hearing.

Prosecutors allege the mother recklessly created an imminent and substantial risk of death or great bodily harm through her inaction.

When interviewed by Centralia police this past January, Heupel confirmed she wanted a relationship with Reeder and ignored warnings from others about the relationship, as well as signs she saw herself, such as controlling behavior and signs of abuse to the child, according to prosecutors.

Her attorney, Paul Strophy, said he was only hired this week and didn’t have enough information yet to make any statements outside the courtroom.

“It’s premature to make any comments on the case,” Strophy said.

Charging documents for Heupel repeat in a fair amount of detail the injuries, new and old, that medical personnel discovered on the little girl’s body. When he charged Reeder last May, Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer called it the the worst case of child abuse and neglect he’d seen in his career.

The charging documents do not specify what signs of abuse prosecutors allege Heupel saw on her daughter.

Lewis County Senior Deputy Prosecutor Will Halstead earlier this month told a judge nobody else really knew what was happening to Koralynn other than Reeder as he had isolated the child; he’d change her diapers and give her baths.

Among the injuries noted were palm-sized pieces of skin missing from her buttocks, consistent with rubbing over time, according to Halstead.

Prosecutors allege that the day before Koralynn died, her aunt noticed an injury on the toddler’s behind and told Heupel she needed to have it looked at.

Charging documents state that Heupel told police she met Reeder online and he moved into the home off  West Oakview Avenue about 10 weeks before Koralynn’s death.

She admitted to police she had issues setting boundaries in relationships, according to charging documents.

About one month before the death, Reeder suggested parenting duties should be divided up, and as a result he spent a significant amount of time alone with the toddler, documents state. When Heupel would leave, he’d insist she take the older daughter, Meyer wrote.

Heupel and her 4-year-old left the house about 12:30 p.m. the day Koralynn died, less than three hours before Reeder carried the naked and unbreathing child to neighbors across the street asking them to call 911.

Meyer contends the mother chose to ignore the risks so her relationship with Reeder could continue.

Meyer requested, and Judge James Lawler agreed, today that Heupel remain out of jail pending trial on a $10,000 signature bond.

The judge also ordered she have no contact with children, except for the two hour once a visit allowed by Child Protective Services with her remaining daughter.

A trial was set for the week of June 10
•••

For background, read “Centralia man gets maximum prison term for sexual abuse, death of toddler” from Wednesday March 6, 2013, here

Bookkeeper accused of theft of thousands of dollars from Morton business

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Updated

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – A bookkeeper from Raintree Nursery in the Morton area is charged with stealing more than $12,000 from her employer.

Debora S. Barnett, 55, was fired after suspicious transactions on the business credit account were reported to the owners and subsequently to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.

Barnett made a first appearance before a judge yesterday in Lewis County Superior Court. She is not in custody. Criminal charges were filed earlier this month.

She is charged with one count of first-degree theft.

The owners of the nursery, Maida Richman and Samuel Benowitz, told a deputy in June 2011 they were contacted by a representative of Merchant Card Services, who said the company was alarmed by unusual activity they found, according to charging documents.

Merchant Card Services is the credit card company Raintree used to make refunds to customers.

Raintree is well-known for its mail order business of fruit trees and other edible vines, bushes and plants. It is located on the 300 block of Butts Road west of Morton.

According to charging documents, the owners were told that 18 times between October 2010 and May 2011, refunds went from Raintree, via Merchant Card Services, to a TwinStar Credit Union account which had never made purchases from the nursery. The TwinStar account belonged to Barnett, according to the documents.

The allegations go on to give the following account: The Merchant Card Services representative said she called the nursery several times about it and spoke with Barnett.

When confronted by her bosses, Barnett said there must be some mistake and vowed to investigate. Prosecutor Eric Eisenberg writes that Barnett was hostile, combative and showed no remorse about the situation.

Benowitz fired her and said if she discovered a mistake, she could come back to work and he would apologize.

When contacted by a deputy, Barnett said she was aware of unusually high amounts of money coming into her account, but did not ask any questions about it; and spent it.

“Barnett had no explanation for why the deposits were made to her account, why she spent it or what she spent it on,” Eisenberg wrote.

The sheriff’s office was notified of the discrepancies in June 2011, the day after Raintree was contacted by its credit card service. Barnett was fired and then interviewed by the sheriff’s office that same month but the results of an examination of a computer didn’t come back to local authorities until this past October, according to Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.

The Washington State Patrol’s crime lab took 11 months to analyze the computer, Meyer said. Charges were filed on March 5 of this year.

Defense attorney Bob Schroeter told a judge yesterday afternoon that Barnett lives in Morton, where she collects about $1,400 a month of unemployment checks, as well as food stamps.

The charges against her include so-called aggravating circumstances of using a position of trust, involving a high degree of sophistication and displaying an egregious lack of remorse.

Barnett’s arraignment is scheduled for March 28.

Sharyn’s Sirens: Daily police and fire roundup

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

THEFT OF TV

• Centralia police were called about 3 p.m. yesterday to the 1200 block of Harrison Avenue about a shoplift involving a flat screen television.

CAR PROWL

• An officer was called yesterday regarding an overnight vehicle prowl at Southwest First Street in Chehalis. A black attache case was stolen from an unlocked vehicle, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

OOPS

• Police were called about 10:20 p.m. yesterday by a woman who said she accidentally put her bank deposit in to the mail slot at the Chehalis Post Office. Detective Sgt. Gay Wilson said when that sort of thing occurs, all an officer can do is advise people to contact postal staff in the morning.

VEHICLE VERSUS PEDESTRIAN

• Chehalis police were called about 4:45 p.m. yesterday to Providence Centralia Hospital about a teenage patient who had been reportedly hit by a truck earlier in the day. Further details were not readily available.

INMATE ARRESTED FOR BREAKING GUARD’S FINGER

• The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office reported this morning that a jail corrections officer’s finger was broken when he was kicked in the hand by an inmate. Chief Civil Deputy Stacy Brown said staff was trying to move the 25-year-old woman to a medical observation cell but she got upset, was uncooperative and refused to follow directions. It happened on Tuesday evening at the Lewis County Jail, according to the sheriff’s office. Felicia Lane, who appeared before a judge yesterday seven and half months pregnant on a charge of possession of methamphetamine, was re-booked for second-degree assault, according to Brown. A deputy prosecutor yesterday attempting to get her held on high bail told a judge Lane assaulted a number of corrections officers, but Brown indicates only one victim.

AND MORE …

• And more, such as arrest for warrant; responses for multiple non-injury collisions; complaints about neighbors cats, neighbor’s trash; calls about suspicious circumstances such as a woman who said her car was stolen in January and yesterday saw a customer at a local nail salon with what looked like her missing purse and keychain; another woman who thinks someone is repeatedly stealing her car during the night … and more.

Chehalis police point to forged checks in high school senior class fund

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Updated at 11:25 a.m.

By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter

CHEHALIS – Police have asked prosecutors to charge a 43-year-old Chehalis man with multiple counts of forgery and theft in connection with W.F. West High School’s senior class fund.

Detectives have been investigating a complaint from students’ parents the account had less money in it than they thought there ought to be, according to the Chehalis Police Department.

The fund comes from a tradition of parents collectively starting fundraising during their children’s freshman year to pay for graduation-related activities. The school is not involved in the account.

Detective Sgt. Gary Wilson this morning issued a news release stating police discovered the husband of a woman in charge of the money signed 14 checks from the account totaling $8,200. The wife replaced the money back into the account after she learned of the losses, according to Wilson.

An independent audit will be conducted, according to Wilson.

Wilson states that Robert N. Downs Jr., a Chehalis resident, wrote checks from the account between last June and September in amounts ranging from $275 to $950. He wrote them out to himself and signed his wife’s name, WIlson said.

Police are asking the Lewis County Prosecutors Office to consider 14 counts of forgery and 14 counts of theft, according to Wilson.

Tonya Burk, a Chehalis woman whose son is a senior, said parents were surprised a few months ago to learn there was less than $8,000 saved up, when they thought it would be closer to $16,000.

Burk said she conducted an audit which she turned over to police. She said the account wasn’t set up with a requirement of having two signers for withdrawals, which she called a mistake.

Parents began more aggressively fundraising in January, and now have more than $14,000, according to Burk.

Police said their investigation began Jan. 22. The account was closed and a new account opened, according to Wilson.

•••

For background read “High school senior class fund in Chehalis under scrutiny” from Tuesday March 19, 2013 at 9:45 p.m., here