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Siskiyou Sheriff’s Sergeant & Deputy Recover Stolen Trailer & Modular Home Valued at $38,000

Sheriff Jon Lopey, Siskiyou Sheriff's report

May 8, 2017

 

On May 6th and 7th, 2017 the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) investigated a possible stolen trailer and modular home that was allegedly located in vicinity of Dangel Lane and Quartz Valley Road in the unincorporated area of Scott Valley.  The vehicle and modular home were located and it was determined the trailer and modular home were stolen from Red Bluff, CA on May 5, 2017.  On May 7, 2017, a deputy and sergeant responded to recover and investigate the theft of the modular home, valued at $38,000.00.  The trailer and modular home were located in a driveway in the 12000 block of Dangel Lane in vicinity of Quartz Valley Road.  While the SCSO Deputy and Sergeant were investigating the theft, which was previously confirmed by running the vehicle identification number, a suspect was identified.  Mr. Chance T. Henson, 41, of Fort Jones was found to have a vehicle matching the description of the pick-up observed towing the stolen trailer and modular home from the Red Bluff location to Scott Valley.  Additional evidence was also secured at two locations.  The suspect’s explanation for how he acquired the trailer and modular home, which he claimed he purchased from another party, could not be reasonably substantiated.  During the investigation, a small quantity of heroin and paraphernalia were also located.

Mr. Henson was arrested for possession of stolen property, vehicle theft, possession of a controlled substance (heroin), and possession of drug paraphernalia (hypodermic and syringe).  He was transported to and booked at the Siskiyou County Jail in Yreka.  According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “We are fortunate this vehicle trailer and modular home, valued at $38,000.00, were recovered.  We are also thankful a suspicious citizen reported their initial observations, which led to the investigation and recovery of the valuable property and arrest of a suspect for serious auto-theft, possession of stolen property, and drug offenses.  Anyone with any information about this incident is urged to contact the SCSO’s 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.”

 

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Sheriff’s Office Identifies Body Recovered in Happy Camp Area

Sheriff Jon Lopey, Siskiyou Sheriff's report

May 5, 2017

Link with Missing Happy Camp Man Confirmed

 

On May 5, 2017 at about 10:00 a.m., the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office’s (SCSO) Chief Deputy Coroner positively identified the body recovered on May 4, 2017 in the Klamath River as that of a missing Happy Camp man, Mr. Benjamin Arthur Camarena, 42 years-of-age.  On May 4, 2017 at about 2:05 p.m. members of the SCSO’s Dive Team located Mr. Camarena’s body in the Klamath River about two miles east of Wingate, in the Happy Camp area. SCSO Dive and Search and Rescue (SAR) members removed the body from the river and the body was transported to Yreka.  The case is being investigated as a possible homicide, but the official determination of a cause and manner of death are pending an autopsy and further investigation.  The autopsy will be conducted next week.

The SCSO has been searching for a body last seen in the Klamath River at the Indian Creek Access point since Friday, April 14, 2017.  On Friday, April 14, 2017, at about 6:34 p.m. SCSO received a citizen’s report of a possible dead body floating in Indian Creek in the Happy Camp area.  A search by SCSO and California Highway Patrol (CHP) units failed to locate the body as it entered the Klamath River access point.  The Klamath River and other tributaries have been flowing rapidly and have been muddy due to recent snow run-off and intermittent rains and water levels are seasonally high.  An exhaustive search of the area has been conducted by SCSO SAR, SCSO Posse, SCSO Dive Team, SCSO Water Safety Unit, CHP Northern Division Air Operations fixed-wing and rotary wing aircraft, and, extensive assistance and support has been received by Karuk, Hoopa, and Yurok tribal emergency response and various volunteer resources.  The U.S. Coast Guard, California Army National Guard, and California Office of Emergency Services also assisted with the search and recovery efforts since April 14th.

In recent days, the SCSO’s SAR Team, SCSO Water Safety Unit, SCSO Dive Team, SCSO Posse members, SCSO Major Crimes Unit, and SCSO field units and other SCSO personnel conducted a large-scale search effort supported by numerous local, state, federal, and tribal organizations and volunteers.  The CHP made several fly-overs of the area with fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft in an effort to locate the body.  CHP Air Operations units are assigned to the CHP’s Northern Division in Redding.

Shortly after the initial search for the suspected dead body was started, relatives of Mr. Camarena reported him missing. He was last seen in vicinity of Indian Creek in the Happy Camp area at about the time the body in the river was reported to law enforcement authorities on April 14th.

SCSO detective units have made a number of trips to Happy Camp to gather information and to interview more people who may know what Mr. Camarena was doing in the hours and moments before his disappearance. SCSO investigators have classified his disappearance as “suspicious” and until the investigation dictates otherwise, the case will be continue to be handled as a possible homicide.

According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “On behalf of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to extend our sincere condolences, thoughts, and prayers to the family and friends of Mr. Camarena in the aftermath of his tragic death.  I would also like to thank the Camarena family and friends for being so helpful and supportive during this on-going search effort.  I would like to again thank all of the federal, state, and local agencies, volunteers, and tribal members from the Karuk, Yurok, and Hoopa Tribes whose assistance and support truly went ‘above and beyond’ during this search operation.  This case is still being investigated and we have more work to do to find out what happened to Mr. Camarena.  Anyone with any information about Mr. Camarena’s case is urged to contact the SCSO’s 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.”

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Sheriff’s Office Identifies Dead Body Found in Mt. Shasta Area

Sheriff Jon Lopey, Siskiyou Sheriff's report

May 5, 2017

 

Cause and Manner of Death Still Under Investigation

 

Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) investigators have identified the body found deceased in the Mt. Shasta area on May 4, 2017 as Ms. Kelli Renee Lefevre, 47, of Mt. Shasta.  On May 4, 2017, at about 10:58 a.m., a SCSO deputy discovered Ms. Lefevre deceased in her home in the 500 block of Big Canyon Drive, in the unincorporated area of Mt. Shasta.  Although there were no immediate signs of a struggle or foul play, the case is being handled as a possible homicide.  Detectives from the SCSO’s Major Crimes Unit responded to the scene and have continued an investigation into the case during the last two days.  An autopsy has been performed but the cause and manner of death in the case is still pending further investigation and the analysis of post-mortem tests.

According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “On behalf of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, I’d like to extend our thoughts, prayers, and condolences to Ms. Lefevre, her family, and friends in the aftermath of her untimely death.  Anyone with any information about this incident is urged to contact the SCSO’s 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.”

 

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Sheriff’s Office Recovers Body from Klamath River in Happy Camp Area

Sheriff Jon Lopey, Siskiyou Sheriff's report

Link with Missing Happy Camp Man Under Investigation

 

On May 4, 2017 at about 2:05 p.m. the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) Search and Rescue (SAR) Coordinator, Deputy Mike Burns, reported that he located the body of a deceased adult in the Klamath River about two miles upriver (east of) Wingate, in the Happy Camp area.  The body has not been identified and it unknown if it is the body of a man last seen floating in the Klamath River on April 14th.  The SCSO has been searching for a body last seen in the Klamath River at the Indian Creek Access point since Friday, April 14, 2017.  On Friday, April 14, 2017, at about 6:34 p.m. SCSO received a citizen’s report of a possible dead body floating in Indian Creek in the Happy Camp area.  A SCSO deputy arrived at the 2nd Avenue Bridge and observed what appeared to be the body of a heavy-set male adult floating in the river in swift-moving water.  A search by SCSO and California Highway Patrol (CHP) units failed to locate the body as it entered the Klamath River access point.  The Klamath River and other tributaries have been flowing rapidly and are muddy due to recent snow run-off and intermittent rains and water levels are very high.  An exhaustive search of the area has been conducted by SCSO SAR, Posse, CHP Northern Division Air Operations fixed-wing and rotary wing aircraft, and, extensive assistance and support has been received by Karuk, Hoopa, and Yurok tribal emergency response and various volunteer resources.  The U.S. Coast Guard, California Army National Guard, and California Office of Emergency Services also assisted with the search and recovery efforts implemented since April 14th.

In recent days, the SCSO’s Search and Rescue (SAR) team, SCSO Water Safety Unit, SCSO Dive Team, SCSO Posse members, SCSO Major Crimes Unit, and SCSO field units and other SCSO personnel have supported the on-going search effort.  A SCSO boat, Dive Team, and SAR leader have recovered the body from the river and it is being transported to Yreka.  The body recovery is being handled by investigators as a possible homicide.  The CHP has also made recent fly-overs of the area with fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft in an effort to locate the body.

Shortly after the initial search for the suspected dead body was started, relatives of a Happy Camp man reported him missing.  At this time, it is unknown if the body recovered from the Klamath River by SCSO Dive and SAR personnel is that of Mr. Benjamin Arthur Camarena, 42, of Happy Camp.  He was last seen in the Indian Creek area in the Happy Camp area at about the time the body in the river was reported on April 14th.

SCSO detective units have made a number of trips to Happy Camp to gather information and to interview more people who may have known what Mr. Camarena was doing in the hours and moments before his disappearance. SCSO investigators have classified his disappearance as “suspicious” and have not ruled out any investigative conclusions surrounding his absence from the local community, and the case is being handled as a possible homicide.

According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “I am saddened that we have recovered the body of a deceased adult in the Klamath River but the recovery of the decedent should afford us the opportunity to determine whether or not the body is that of Mr. Camarena and we will have the opportunity to determine the cause and manner of death of the adult we have found, which, should provide important answers for this agency and the decedent’s family and friends.  I know family and friends of Mr. Camarena are very concerned and we share those concerns as well.  We will do all we can to positively identify the body found and provide answers to the family members of the decedent as soon as possible.  An autopsy will be performed within the next few days to help investigators determine the cause and manner of death in this case.  I am grateful that the SCSO specialized and field units; SCSO volunteers such and the SAR and Posse, CHP, U.S. Coast Guard, California Army National Guard, U.S. Forest Service, Karuk, Yurok, and Hoopa Tribal emergency response personnel, family members, and volunteers have been willing to assist with this important 20-day search operation.  Anyone with any information about the dead body or anyone with information about Mr. Camarena’s disappearance is urged to contact the SCSO’s 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.”

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Sheriff’s Office Deputy Arrests Wanted “Armed & Dangerous” Suspect

Sheriff Jon Lopey, Siskiyou Sheriff's report

SISKIYOU COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE NEWS UPDATE

 

April 22, 2017

A Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) arrested a dangerous felon on April 22, 2017 in the town of Dorris.  The suspected, Mr. Bailey Henry, 19, has been wanted after he was involved in a potentially deadly shooting in a Sacramento mall on March 8, 2017.  On Friday, April 21, 2017, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) received information from Sacramento Police Department (SPD) about a suspect wanted in a potentially deadly shooting involving multiple shots fired in the Arden Fair Mall.  The shooting resulted in the wounding of one man in the arm and another innocent bystander was injured by shattered glass and debris on March 8th.  According to SPD detectives, the man was suspected to be hiding in Siskiyou County.  The SCSO Major Crimes Unit began an investigation and SPD and SCSO detectives linked the suspect to a Dorris home.  A Major Crimes Unit “Be on the Lookout – Armed and Dangerous” bulletin was disseminated to all Siskiyou County and regional law enforcement officers.  On Saturday, April 22, 2017, at about 12:47 p.m., Deputy Gary Pannell was on patrol in the Dorris area when he observed a man matching the fugitive’s description in the vicinity of  3rd Street and Oregon Street in the City of Dorris.  Deputy Pannell soon discovered that the man was indeed the wanted suspect and took him into custody without incident.

According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “This suspect was wanted in a major shooting case that involved a potentially deadly shooting in one of the busiest malls in Sacramento.  The arrest of a Tennessee fugitive on Thursday, April 20th by the SCSO’s Special Response Team and the arrest of a dangerous fugitive like Mr. Henry on April 22nd again illustrates the fact that all peace officers in Siskiyou County and elsewhere face dangers every day on the job and no shift can be considered routine. Thus far during 2017, 39 line-of-duty deaths of peace officers have occurred in the United States, a +15 percent increase over this time during 2016.  It is also apparent that some dangerous fugitives seek rural areas within which to hide, thinking themselves safe from scrutiny, which was proven wrong this week on two occasions, thanks to  alert, professional, and brave peace officers.  Deputy Pannell’s actions were courageous and his arrest of the suspect was a good piece of police work.”

Anyone with any information about the suspect, Mr. Bailey Henry, his associates, or activities since his arrival in Siskiyou County is urged to contact the SCSO’s Major Crimes Unit by calling SCSO’s 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.

 

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Sheriff’s Office Search for Suspected Dead Body in Klamath River Update

Sheriff Jon Lopey, Siskiyou Sheriff's report

SISKIYOU COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE NEWS UPDATE

 

April 22, 2017

Link With Missing Happy Camp Man Seems More Likely but Unconfirmed

 

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) continues searching for a body last seen floating in the Klamath River on April 14th.  The SCSO has been searching for a body last seen in the Klamath River at the Indian Creek Access point since Friday, April 14th and no sign of the body has been found.  On Friday, April 14, 2017, at about 6:34 p.m. SCSO received a citizen’s report of a possible dead body floating in Indian Creek in the Happy Camp area.  A SCSO deputy arrived at the 2nd Avenue Bridge and observed what appeared to be the body of a heavy-set male adult floating in the river in swift-moving water.  A search by SCSO and California Highway Patrol (CHP) units failed to locate the body as it entered the Klamath River access point.  The Klamath River and other tributaries have been flowing rapidly and are muddy due to recent snow run-off and intermittent rains and water levels are very high.

On Saturday, April 15, 2017, in the early morning hours, a search by SCSO field and specialized units was initiated in the Klamath River area at a point where the body was last seen.  A fixed-wing aircraft from the CHP’s Northern Division conducted an aerial search of the area with negative results.  The SCSO’s Search and Rescue (SAR) team, SCSO Water Safety Unit, SCSO Dive Team, and other SCSO personnel responded and supported the search effort.  On Sunday, April 16th, a CHP helicopter searched the immediate area with negative results.  As of Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 7:00 p.m., there has been no sign of the body detected by search personnel.  A SCSO boat crew and SAR leader previously searched an area several miles downstream from the Happy Camp area with negative results.  Search conditions have been hazardous, the water levels remain high, and the water is moving swiftly along the Klamath River.  Muddy water is also adversely affecting search efforts; however, water levels have gone down during this week’s search operation an estimated one foot.

Shortly after the search for the suspected dead body was initiated, relatives of a Happy Camp man reported him missing.  At this time, it is unknown for certain if he is the man observed in the water by citizens and law enforcement personnel but he has not been located since his disappearance and it is more likely, but again, not substantiated, that he may be the man observed floating in the river.  Mr. Benjamin Arthur Camarena, 42, of Happy Camp, was last seen riding his horse on Indian Creek Road in the Happy Camp area at about the time the body in the river was reported.  The horse was later found without its rider, reported to be Mr. Camarena.

On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, SCSO leaders contacted the California Office of Emergency Services (OES) and additional aerial support was obtained from the U.S. Coast Guard, which conducted an overflight of the river from the coast eastward to the Happy Camp area.  During the week up to Friday, April 21st, the CHP and California Army National Guard have used air assets to search the Klamath River.  Unfortunately, the body was not located.  SCSO also coordinated support from the Humboldt, Del Norte County Sheriffs’ Offices, and Yurok and Hoopa public safety officials and they were asked to conduct searches and be on the lookout for the body along the Klamath River traversing their respective jurisdictions.  Karuk Tribal authorities in Happy Camp acquired the services of Hoopa and Yurok law enforcement and fire rescue personnel and they responded to Happy Camp on the Wednesday to assist with the search.

They brought watercraft and ground search personnel, which were integrated into the search efforts underway by the SCSO field, water safety, Dive Team, SAR, and Posse personnel.  Additionally, another Water Safety Unit and Dive Team crew were dispatched to the Klamath River to conduct additional sweeps of the Klamath River in hopes that the body could be located. SCSO detective units also again responded to Happy Camp to gather information and to interview more people who may know what Mr. Camarena was doing in the hours and moments before his disappearance. SCSO investigators have classified his disappearance suspicious and have not ruled out any investigative conclusions surrounding his absence from the local community.  On Friday, April 21st, a SCSO Water Safety boat captain traversed 6.25 miles of the river during an exhaustive search.  Karuk, Yurok, and Hoopa Tribal officials and members continued assisting with the search effort. Additional assets will be deployed over the weekend and next week if the body is not found.

According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “I am again saddened that we have not recovered the body we suspect to be in the Klamath River but we will continue a diligent effort to accomplish this vital mission.    It is important that we recover the body we suspect to be in the river as soon as possible.  I know family and friends of Mr. Camarena are very concerned and we share those concerns as well.  I am grateful that the CHP, SCSO specialized and field units; SCSO Volunteers such and the Posse and SAR, U.S. Coast Guard, California Army National Guard, Karuk, Yurok, and Hoopa Tribal emergency response and volunteers have been willing to assist with this important search operation.  A CHP helicopter has also been requested for a search within the next few days and we continue to surge forward with our search efforts.  While the fate of Mr. Camarena cannot be confirmed, the investigation is exploring every conceivable reason for his disappearance.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his many family members and friends as this search and investigation continues.  Anyone with any information about the suspected dead body or anyone with information about Mr. Camarena’s whereabouts or his activities prior to his disappearance is urged to contact the SCSO’s 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.”

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Interstate Kidnapping Suspect Apprehended: Teenage Victim Safe

Sheriff Jon Lopey, Siskiyou Sheriff's report

SISKIYOU COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE REPORT

 

April 20, 2017

 

On Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at about 9:00 p.m., the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) received a tip that a vehicle matching the description of Tennessee Kidnap suspect Mr. Tad Cummins, 50, was observed in the Cecilville area of Siskiyou County.  Cecilville is a small rural community located in a mountainous area of the county about 68 miles southwest of the county seat, Yreka.  According to reports, a male adult and a young female were staying in a cabin off of Eddy Gulch Road in Cecilville.  Deputies responded to the scene and verified that the vehicle, a 2015 Nissan Rogue, silver in color, matched the description broadcast nationwide via an Amber Alert dated March 13, 2017.  The original broadcast indicated the kidnap suspect; Mr. Cummins was possibly armed with two firearms, which prompted a tactical response by the Department’s Special Response Team (SRT).

The SCSO SRT responded to the scene, established a perimeter around the cabin believed to be occupied by Mr. Cummins and his juvenile female victim and elected to wait until morning to arrest the suspect when he exited the cabin.  A citizen who befriended the suspect and victim assisted SRT members at the scene.  On Thursday, April 20, 2017, shortly after 9:30 a.m., Mr. Cummins exited the cabin and was taken into custody by SCSO SRT members without incident.  The female victim exited the cabin and was walking behind Cummins.  She was detained at the scene for her protection and to facilitate further investigation and victim services.  Two loaded handguns were recovered in the cabin along with various personal items belonging to both Mr. Cummins and his female victim.

The victim appeared to be in good health and Mr. Cummins was cooperative with law enforcement authorities at the scene.  Mr. Cummins was transported to the Siskiyou County Jail in Yreka and booked on a Maury County, TN fugitive arrest warrant for aggravated kidnapping.  Contact has been initiated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Tennessee Bureau of Investigations (TBI) investigators.  Memphis FBI and TBI investigators are en route to Siskiyou County to continue their on-going investigation.  The kidnapping victim has been transferred to FBI Agents assigned to the Redding, CA office.  She will undergo a forensic interview and as a crime victim, receive the care that she needs at this time.  Mr. Cummins will be arraigned on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.  Mr. Cummins also faces local charges for kidnapping and possession of stolen property.  These and other charges are pending review by Siskiyou County District Attorney, Kirk Andrus.

According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “I would like to commend the citizens that played a role in bringing Mr. Cummins’ activities to our attention, which led to a response by members of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office.  I am proud of the men and women of this Department that played a role in this potentially dangerous surveillance and arrest, especially the Special Response Team responsible for the safe and successful resolution of this 6-week ordeal.  The SRT worked in freezing weather conditions but resolved this mission without anyone getting hurt, which was a good day for our Department, the female victim, and her family.  Like any major crime perpetrated against a young teenager, this case is a difficult one and will plague the victim, her family, friends, and the law enforcement officers and agents involved in the case for years to come.  On behalf of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to offer our thoughts and prayers to the victim, her family, friends, and the all involved law enforcement officers and other members of the justice system as this investigation continues to achieve justice for all concerned.”

Anyone with any information about the activities of Mr. Cummins or his victim is urged to contact the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.

 

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Missing Teen Elizabeth Thomas, subject of Tennessee Amber Alert, is rescued in Cecilville, California

Sheriff Jon Lopey, Siskiyou Sheriff's report

50-Year-Old Suspect Tad Cummins Apprehended, Awaiting Extradition to Tennessee

April 20, 2017

NASHVILLE – Acting on a tip received by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation late last night, authorities in Siskiyou County, California have rescued Elizabeth Thomas and arrested Tad Cummins, after locating the pair at a commune in Cecilville early this morning.

Thomas, 15, was the subject of a Tennessee AMBER Alert issued on March 14th, after having been kidnapped a day earlier by Tad Cummins, a former teacher at her school in Maury County, Tennessee. On March 17th, the TBI added the 50-year-old to the state’s ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list.

This morning, authorities from Siskiyou County located the Nissan Rogue in which the pair were traveling and later located the pair. Cummins surrendered without incident. Thomas was subsequently recovered by law enforcement officers. At the time of this release, efforts to reunite her with her family remained ongoing.

“Our Intelligence Analysts and Agents have worked tirelessly since issuing this AMBER Alert to process more than 1,500 leads from all 50 states,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “What happened in California this morning, however, proves it only takes one person to lead to a successful end. We are extremely thankful the hard work of all partners in this search has paid off. We’re also grateful for the public’s support and vigilance throughout this search effort.”

The TBI has been assisted in this search by a variety of law enforcement agencies across the country, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Maury County Sheriff’s Department, and the Office of 22nd District Attorney General Brent Cooper.

At the time of this release, Cummins, 50, remained in the custody of the Siskiyou County (CA) Sheriff’s Department without bond, awaiting extradition to Tennessee to face charges of Sexual Contact with a Minor and Aggravated Kidnapping. A currently booking photograph was not immediately available for release.

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Siskiyou County Peace Officers of the Year Honored at Annual Dinner

Sheriff Jon Lopey, Siskiyou Sheriff's report

Report from Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office

April 13, 2017

               On April 8, 2017, the annual 2016 Peace Officer Appreciation Dinner was conducted at the Mt. Shasta Community Center.  The South County Elks Lodge #2333 hosted the event and the meal was prepared by Elks’ volunteers after it was cooked by Mr. David Tyler.  Every year the dinner is held and hosted by either the North County Elks, Yreka Lodge #1980, or South County Elks (Lodge #2333), to honor the law enforcement community and its peace officers and support persons of the year.  Exalted Ruler Mr. Craig Fisher and Elks’ Lodge #1980 representative Mr. Joe Schettino were present for the event. The festivities were supervised by past Exalted Ruler Mr. Norm Dettman of Lodge #2333.

              Ms. Erin Ryan, representing Congressman Doug LaMalfa’s office, was on-hand to award the recipients congressional certificates.  Mr. Bruce Ross, jointly representing Senator Ted Gaines and Assemblyman Brian Dahle, was also present and awarded joint-senate and assembly certificates to the honored peace officers.  Supervisor Ray Haupt, Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors, District 5, was also at the event and helped present the awards to the recipients.  Chaplain Andy Grossman, a long-time Chaplain for the Weed Police Department with prior service with the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) provided the invocation and benediction.  Sheriff Jon Lopey, SCSO, officiated as emcee for the event, which drew about 150 participants from a number of local and state law enforcement agencies.

              The following award recipients were honored by their department administrators:  The Yreka CHP Area Office honored Sergeant Tim Lawson, a 29-year veteran of the CHP as its officer of the year.  He was cited for his exceptional leadership contributions to his Area and various community activities, including youth and hunting programs.  Motor Carrier Specialist I Joann Kaufmann, a 32-year veteran of the CHP, received the Yreka CHP’s “Support Person of the Year” award for her major contributions to commercial vehicle safety, including contributing to a 100% workload inspection record never achieved by the CHP’s Biennial Inspection of Terminal Program.  The awards were presented by Yreka CHP Area Commander Mark Loveless and Joann’s Supervisor, Motor Carrier Program Manager Mr. Dave Porter.

              The Mt. Shasta CHP’s Officer of the Year was Officer Jonathan White.  A 14-year veteran of the CHP, Officer White was commended for his superior investigative skills, hard work, apprehension of a homicide suspect, his superb actions as a range officer and he was cited for numerous youth sports events he attends as a parent and coach.

              The CHP’s Dunsmuir Grade Inspection Facility (DGIF)’s Officer of the Year was Eric Hohmeister.  He served previously in the Bay Area as a training officer, protective services team unit, which provided security for various world leaders and the President of the United States, and he served on the division Special Response Team.  Officer Hohmeister was cited for his professionalism as a commercial enforcement officer and he serves as a training officer, ranger officer, advanced officer safety officer instructor and he is a member of the Northern Division Special Response Team.  DGIF Commercial Vehicle Inspection Specialist (CVIS) Dave Chandler was awarded the “DGIF Support Person of the Year Award.”  CVIS Chandler was commended for his five years of exemplary service at DGIF as a commercial vehicle inspector.  He serves as the shop steward and is considered a hard worker, dedicated professional, “team player,” and expert at both federal and California motor vehicle safety requirements.  Both recipients received their awards from their commander, Lieutenant Brent Giordano.

              The Siskiyou Unified Major Investigation Team (SUMIT) selected as their Agent of the Year Alcohol Beverage Control Agent Brett Letendre.  Agent Letendre was cited for his professionalism, leadership, interpersonal skills, superior investigative acumen and for his superior efforts to train new agents.  SUMIT, with his assistance, seized 93 pounds of methamphetamine, 2.24 pounds heroin, 168 pounds of marijuana, 12,912 prescription pills, 2.55 pounds of cocaine, and 19 firearms during 2016.  SUMIT Commander Special Supervising Agent Ryan Maki presented the award.  Also in attendance were two high-ranking members of California Alcohol Beverage Control, Division Chief Chris Albrecht and Supervising Agent in Charge Matt Seck.

              The Yreka Police Department (YPD) Officer of the Year Award recipient was Detective Travis Cooke.          Detective Cooke is a 10-year YPD veteran and recently successfully investigated a murder, which resulted in a warrant being issued for the main suspect within a 24-hour period.  He is assigned part-time to SUMIT and is considered a dedicated, hard-working, expert investigator and law enforcement professional of the highest order.  YPD awarded its “YPD Support Person of the Year” to Animal Control Officer Dusty Wilson.  He was commended for his development of positive work relationships with non-profit organizations, his efficiency, passion, and professionalism as an Animal Control Officer and he recently achieved a 100% compliance rate for canine licensing in the city.  He has also worked tirelessly to assist with other ordinance violations, assists with enforcement, and clean up of homeless camps in the area.  He takes his job seriously and has been a courteous, relentless, and dedicated member of the YPD team.  Chief Brian Bowles, Chief of Police, was personally on-hand to present the awards to his co-workers.

              The Mt. Shasta Police Department (MSPD) awarded the “MSPD Police Officer of the Year” to Officer Frank Goulart.  Officer Goulart, a former LAPD officer and long-time member of the MSPD, was cited for his long and distinguished career.  He was commended for handling a murder investigation from start to finish.  He was cited for his professionalism, expert investigative skills, and tenacity in solving the case.  On November 16, 2016, Officer Goulart, while attending court in Yreka, helped to identify and apprehend an armed suspect carrying a rifle near a shopping center.  He detained four total suspects and held them until YPD officers could arrive.  Officer Goulart was characterized as the very best the law enforcement community has to offer.  Chief of Police Parish Cross was on-hand to present the award.

              The Lake Shastina Police Department (LSPD) designated Officer Rusty Owns as its “LSPD Police Officer of the Year.”  Officer Owens worked for a year with virtually no time off when LSPD was short of personnel and he filled in as the leader of the department.  He was cited for his exceptional dedication, tenacity, professionalism and selfless service to the citizens of Lake Shastina.

              The Siskiyou County Probation Department (SCPD) awarded its “Supervising Juvenile Correctional Officer of the Year” to Joe Burkus.  He was cited for his professionalism as a leader at the Charlie Byrd Youth Corrections Center (CBYCC).  His work ethic, optimistic attitude, and consistency were cited as his strengths as a CBYCC leader.  The “CBYCC Juvenile Correctional Officer of the Year” was awarded to Kreg Celaya.  He was cited for his two years’ service, work ethic, professionalism, and he graduated at the top of his class while attending Correctional Officer CORE training, where he received a Leadership Award by the Santa Clara Probation Department.  SCPD’s “Deputy Probation Officer of the Year” was awarded to Brian Murphy.  He was cited for his exemplary performance as a Supervision and Juvenile Drug Court Program Officer.  He was cited for his energy, passion, dedication, and excellent work ethic and his ability to balance rehabilitation with community safety.  SCPD’s “Support Person of the Year” went to Joy Pragg, Legal Secretary.  She was cited for her 11 years of service with the Juvenile Unit.  She is patient, reliable, handles a heavy workload, and is professional and hard working.  She gets along with others and is a “problem-solver.”  SCPD’s “Deputy Probation Officer of the Year” was awarded to Tiana Chandon.  She is a 10-year veteran of SCPD and works in the Juvenile Unit.  She is a firearm’s instructor and handles a caseload of sex offenders and Post Release Community Supervision inmates.  She is positive, approachable, and has been a leader in her unit since her assignment.  SCPD’s “Support Person of the Year” was also awarded to Sonia Cantrell, Administrative Support Assistant.  She is a 6-year employee and was cited for her versatility in supporting adult and juvenile corrections’ needs; she offers her assistance and support to others and is a true professional and she is courteous to everyone.

              The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) awarded a special “Sheriff’s Award Medal” to Water Safety Deputy Grant “Skip” Tuttle.  Deputy Tuttle, now retired served for over 30 years with the CHP before working as a Park Ranger and later, Water Safety Deputy with the Department.  He served for 14 years with the Department and amassed nearly 50 years of total law enforcement experience.  He started his career with the Yolo County Sheriff’s Office.  Deputy Tuttle was commended for his years of life-saving service to countless citizens and others he contacted during his long and distinguished career.

              SCSO’s “Correctional Deputy of the Year” was awarded to Corporal Jennifer Zanni.  Corporal Zanni was cited for her exemplary work as a correctional deputy and she serves as an investigator in the Background Investigations Unit.  Deputy Zanni is known for her professionalism, leadership, superior job performance, and mentorship of young correctional deputies.  SCSO’s “Correctional Support Person of the Year, was awarded to Carie Daugherty, Fiscal Technician.  She was cited for her efficiency, multi-tasking abilities, responsibility for a large inmate welfare account, procurement duties, and her diligence has helped to prevent and curtail illegal smuggling into the jail.  She was cited for her outstanding performance, work ethic, positive attitude, and leadership.

              SCSO’s “Deputy of the Year” was awarded to Deputy John Zook.  Deputy Zook was commended for his exemplary performance as a field deputy, field training officer, leader, mentor, and he was cited for having one of the highest drug arrest totals on the entire department.  He is a mentor to younger deputies and has been commended by the district attorney’s office for his excellent investigations and courtroom testimony.  His character, bravery, dedication, dependability, and professionalism are legendary on the department.  SCSO’s “Major Crimes’ Unit Support Person of the Year” was awarded to Forensic Technician Bonnie Mortenson.  She was commended for processing numerous major crimes scenes, including murders and officer-involved shooting scenes. She attends numerous autopsies and is known as one of finest forensic technicians in the region.

              Chief Chaplain Keith Bradley, unable to attend the event, was awarded a “Sheriff’s Courage-in-Action Award.”  Chief Chaplain Bradley is the exemplary leader of 10 departmental chaplains and despite a debilitating illness he is fighting, he has consistently been available for special departmental events and he still serves his community as a pastor and his co-worker whenever needed.  He is an inspiration to all member of the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office.

              Sheriff Lopey thanked all members of the law enforcement community, the Elks, Siskiyou Veterans Leadership Council, Marine Corps League, and the McCloud, Fort Jones, and Yreka American Legion Posts, and distinguished guests for making the event so successful.  He commended the award recipients and their family members for their support throughout the year, which made their contributions to the law enforcement profession possible.  A moment of silence was also held for peace officers killed in the line of duty during 2016.  Sheriff Lopey cited during a brief speech that during 2016 nationwide, 144 peace officers were killed in the line of duty, including 64 firearm-related assaults, a 56% increase over 2015.  He also cited the excellent interagency working relationships enjoyed by all federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies from throughout the county, which makes Siskiyou County such a special place to work as a law enforcement professional.

 

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Siskiyou County Sheriff Office is searching for suspected body in Klamath River

Sheriff Jon Lopey, Siskiyou Sheriff's report

SISKIYOU COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE NEWS UPDATE

April 15, 2017

Unknown if Search is Linked to Missing Happy Camp Man

 

On Friday, April 14, 2017, at about 6:34 p.m. the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) received a citizen’s report of a possible dead body floating in Indian Creek in the Happy Camp area.  A SCSO deputy arrived at the 2nd Avenue Bridge and observed what appeared to be the body of a heavy-set male adult floating in the river in swift-moving water.

The body was then observed at SR 96 and was last seen in vicinity of the Klamath River at the Indian Creek River Access point.  A search by SCSO and California Highway Patrol (CHP) units failed to locate the body as it entered the Klamath River access point.  The Klamath River and other tributaries have been flowing rapidly and are muddy due to recent snow run-off and intermittent rains and water levels are very high.

On Saturday, April 15, 2017, in the early morning hours, a search by SCSO field and specialized units was initiated in the Klamath River area at a point where the body was last seen.  A fixed-wing aircraft from the CHP’s Northern Division conducted an aerial search of the area with negative results.  The SCSO’s Search and Rescue (SAR) team, SCSO Water Safety Unit, SCSO Dive Team, and other SCSO personnel responded and supported the search effort.  As of 7:00 p.m. on Saturday (April 15), search teams have detected no sign of the body.  A SCSO boat crew and SAR leader searched an area several miles downstream from the Happy Camp area with negative results.

Search conditions have been hazardous, the water levels remain high, and the water is moving swiftly along the Klamath River.  Muddy water is also adversely affecting search efforts.

Shortly after the search for the suspected dead body was initiated, relatives of a Happy Camp man reported him missing.  At this time, it is unknown for certain if he is the man observed in the water by citizens and law enforcement personnel.

Mr. Benjamin Arthur Camarena, 42, of Happy Camp, was last seen riding his horse on Indian Creek Road in the Happy Camp area at about the time the body in the river was reported.  The horse reportedly returned without the rider, reported to be Mr. Camarena.

According to Sheriff Jon Lopey, “There has been an extensive search conducted by our personnel and allied agencies from the local area under difficult and hazardous conditions.  We will do all we can to find the body suspected to be deceased in the Klamath River.  The CHP has been very helpful and we will request additional aircraft on Sunday if the search does not end successfully on Saturday.  A CHP helicopter may be available on Sunday, which could help us recover the body suspected to be still in the Klamath River.

“It is too early to determine if the suspected dead body is that of the missing man, Mr. Camarena, and we are doing all we can to investigate his disappearance.  We allocated additional field and investigative resources to the Happy Camp area as well to investigate his disappearance and find out if people who saw him or associated with him prior to his disappearance can shed any light on his actions prior to his disappearance.

“Anyone with any information about the suspected dead body or anyone with information about Mr. Camarena’s whereabouts or his activities prior to his disappearance is urged to contact the SCSO’s 24-hour Dispatch Center at (530) 841-2900.”

 

 

 

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