Crime

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Teen's 2016 Death Ruled a Homicide

Posted By on Thu, Dec 7, 2017 at 5:46 PM

Jennika Suazo - FACEBOOK
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  • Jennika Suazo
The Eureka Police Department has determined that an 18-year-old girl found dead in December of 2016 died of asphyxia and is investigating the case as a homicide.

On Dec. 9, 2016, medics were summoned to a residence in the 300 block of P Street and arrived to find Jennika Lee Suazo, a student at Zoe Barnum High School, dead.

After the death, detectives began investigating the other 22 people who resided at the P Street residence. Autopsy results returned in June confirmed the cause of death and EPD has proceeded with its homicide investigation. It’s not immediately clear what spurred EPD’s press release (copied below) some five months later.

The department is still waiting on DNA test results.


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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

EPD Investigating Homicide Behind E Street Church

Posted By on Tue, Dec 5, 2017 at 11:07 AM

levaugh.jpg
A 56-year-old man is dead after what detectives believe was a homicide that occurred last night between 11:35 p.m. and 12:45 a.m., and the Eureka Police Department is looking for help with its investigation.

Charles "Chuckie" Levaugh, identified by EPD as a transient, was apparently killed in the alley adjacent to the First Church of the Nazarene, at 2039 E St. EPD is seeking any surveillance video or other information that may help identify a suspect. A cause of death has not been released.


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Monday, December 4, 2017

Name Released in Manila Homicide

Posted By on Mon, Dec 4, 2017 at 10:41 AM

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office - FILE
  • FILE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office has released the name of a 27-year-old man who was apparently shot inside his vehicle in the early hours of Saturday morning. Mathew Thomas Dix's truck was idling in his driveway on the 1700 block of Victor Blvd. in Manila when deputies responded to call for medical aid at 3:16 a.m. on Dec. 2. He was found to be deceased upon arrival and the cause of death was later determined to be from a gunshot wound.

No further information about the ongoing investigation has been made available.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Remembering Sheriff Cox, 35 Years later

Posted By on Wed, Nov 29, 2017 at 10:41 AM

Sheriff Gene Cox - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • Sheriff Gene Cox
He was known as the sheriff who never carried a gun; the man whose laugh you could hear ringing across the building.

Today marks the 35th anniversary of Former Humboldt County Sheriff Gene Cox’s death. Cox was killed in the line of duty in 1982, just four weeks before he was set to retire, the last Humboldt County law enforcement officer to be killed by a suspect.

On that deadly Monday afternoon, Cox stopped by the Ebb Tide RV Park on his way home from work to help his father-in-law, park manager Jack Alton, handle a dispute with a distraught resident. The resident, Clarence Eugene McCutcheon, confronted Cox with a rifle, fatally shooting him. McCutcheon shot and killed two others in the rampage, Alton and former local education official Claire Montgomery. When officers with the Eureka Police Department arrived on scene, McCutcheon again opened fire. He was later fatally wounded in a shootout with Eureka Police officers.

“I was out hunting when my wife called me and told me the news,” Retired HCSO Detective Sergeant Dave Walker said. “It was heartbreaking.”


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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Park Rangers Debunk Tourist Robbery Story

Posted By on Tue, Nov 14, 2017 at 10:38 AM

1200px-us-nationalparkservice-shadedlogo.svg.png
The account of five Spanish tourists claiming to have been robbed in Redwood National Park is untrue, rangers established this week. The tourists previously said they returned to their vehicles from a hike at Lady Bird Johnson Grove on the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 3, to be confronted by several armed men who came out from the bushes, fired three shots into the air and ordered them to lie on the ground. The park service determined this wasn't true.

"It didn't make any sense," said Greg Morse, chief of Visitor Protection for Redwood National and State Parks. "There were a couple of hundred people at LBJ [Lady Bird Johnson Grove] that day, we were doing tours and we didn't hear any shots."

Rangers also searched the area for shell casings and found none. An interview with the landowner whose cannabis farm on Bald Hills Road was robbed on the same day revealed that the tourists were, in fact, at that site and had lied about their location because they did not want to be associated with the cannabis activity. Morse says they were able to confirm this with the tourists through a third party, although they were reluctant to talk.

Morse says there was a miscommunication between his agency and the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office, which sent out the original press release the Monday following the robbery. Calls and emails to the sheriff's office this morning were not returned.

In her press release, Candace Tinkler, spokesperson for Redwood National and State Parks, underscored that "visitors should not be concerned about exploring the wonders of their public lands."

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Men with Rifles, Tactical Gear Rob 35, Make off with Six Vehicles in Three Robberies

Posted By on Mon, Nov 6, 2017 at 12:24 PM

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office - FILE
  • FILE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
2nd UPDATE: The California and National Parks Service has confirmed the tourists were not robbed on National Park land, but rather at the marijuana farm. Click here for the full story.

UPDATE:

Lt. Fridley reports that two of the vehicles, the black Ford Explorer and the white Ford Explorer, have both been found. The black Ford was in the Klamath River, the white Ford was wrecked on Johnson Road.

Previously:

Two robberies on Bald Hills Road that occurred Friday, Nov. 3 appear to be related, says Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Lt. Mike Fridley.  At least three men of indeterminate race and appearance, wearing tactical vests and wielding assault-style rifles robbed both a group of five Spanish tourists and a marijuana farm on Friday afternoon. Their descriptions also fit that of a third robbery on Bair Road that occurred Thursday evening.

Because the Spanish tourists — who were on a hike near Lady Bird Johnson Grove in Redwood National Park — had all of their valuables taken from them, including cell phones and watches, Fridley says it is impossible to know the time of their robbery and which Friday robbery occurred first. What is known is that the tourists were robbed between 2 and 4 p.m. by at least three men, only one of whom was seen. He was described as a white adult male, 30-40 years old, and 5-feet-7-inches to 5-feet-9-inches tall. The men, who were wearing tactical vests with the word SWAT on them, ordered the tourists to lay on the ground, firing off several shots in the air. The tourists were ordered to empty their pockets, and then the robbers took their vehicles, a 1998 white Ford Explorer and a 2001 white Dodge camper van. The robbers then drove away, heading eastbound on Bald Hills Road. Fridley says the tourists were contacted by HCSO deputies at the Arcata Police Department at around 11 p.m. that evening.

"It sounds like they were waiting for them to return," Fridley says of the robbers' modus operandi.

The other Friday robbery occurred farther east on Bald Hills Road, at a reportedly permitted marijuana farm. The landowner contacted the sheriff's office at 3:51 p.m. to say that three men described as Native American were robbing his workers. One of the 30 workers on scene was able to text the landowner during the robbery. These men were also described as wearing SWAT vests and brandishing assault-style rifles. They instructed the workers to lie on the ground then took their personal belongings, 1,000 pounds of marijuana and two vehicles, a white 2001 Chevrolet 2500 four door pickup with matching canopy and a black 1996 Ford Explorer. Fridley could not confirm if the marijuana was processed or still in plant form. The suspects were reportedly armed with AR-15 and AK-47 style rifles. Deputies were dispatched from Hoopa but did not encounter the vehicles, who were again headed eastbound toward Hoopa. Fridley says there are at least two other side routes the robbers could have taken.

The sheriff's office also reported today another robbery, also carried about by men with rifles in "SWAT" type gear, that occurred Nov. 2. In this one, two masked men approached two victims on Baird Road in the Redwood Valley and demanded money and marijuana at gunpoint. When the victims told them they didn't have any, the armed men reported took their shoes and their vehicles — a 1991 Ford F-150 and a 2006 silver Toyota Tundra — and fled the scene, possibly followed by a red Ford truck.

None of the vehicles have been recovered.

Asked why the sheriff's office had not notified the public earlier about the robberies, Fridley said that no one had written a press release over the weekend.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Zoellner Takes First Step Toward Suing Arcata for Handling of Lawson Case

Posted By on Fri, Oct 27, 2017 at 3:58 PM

Kyle Zoellner's mug shot. - ARCATA POLICE DEPARTMENT
  • Arcata Police Department
  • Kyle Zoellner's mug shot.
Kyle Zoellner, a McKinleyville man who remains the sole suspect named in the April stabbing death of Humboldt State University student David Josiah Lawson, has filed an initial claim for money or damages against the city of Arcata. Zoellner was released after a pre-trial hearing in May, with Judge Dale Reinholtsen determining there was insufficient evidence to hold him to stand trial on a murder charge.

The claim, which is included in the agenda packet for the city council's Nov. 1 meeting, names 12 city employees "complicit" in Zoellner's pain and suffering. That suffering, as detailed in the claim, includes lost wages, medical bills, loss of personal property, defamation of character, pain and suffering and emotional distress. As an unlimited civil case, the amount requested from the city could be more than $25,000.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

McKinleyville Man Suspected of Triple Homicide in Nevada Arrested

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 12:56 PM

Scott Baskette - HUMBOLDT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Humboldt County Sheriff's Office
  • Scott Baskette
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a McKinleyville native who is wanted in Nevada for allegedly killing a woman and her parents at two different locations over the weekend.

According to news reports out of Silver Springs, the suspect, Scott Alan Baskette, 48, had been in a long-term relationship with homicide victim Rebecca Driver, 46. When authorities went to notify her parents, Frank and Coral Evans, they were also found dead in their home.

KOLO TV in Nevada reports that Baskette and Driver, a mother of four ages 14 to 25, had ended their 12 year relationship just a few weeks before the homicides. She was found unconscious by her children, but died before officials arrived. Her death was deemed suspicious. The Evans died of gunshot wounds, the station reports.

Nevada authorities contacted the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office to report he might be in the area and a deputy spotted the vehicle Baskette was believed to be driving in the Willow Creek area yesterday just before 5:30 p.m.

After a brief chase down a dirt road, Baskette hit a locked gate and was taken into custody without incident.

The release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office:


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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Humboldt County Man Commits Suicide in Federal Prison

Posted By on Sun, Oct 8, 2017 at 3:59 PM

Mikal Xylon WIlde
  • Mikal Xylon WIlde
Mikal Xylon Wilde, the Humboldt County man serving a life sentence for murdering a migrant worker at his Kneeland marijuana farm, committed suicide in federal prison on Sept. 22, according to the Associated Press. He was 35.

Wilde was convicted on a total of six charges in 2015, including murder in the commission of a narcotics offense and conspiracy for the 2010 murder of Mario Roberto Juarez-Madrid, and later sentenced to serve life in prison plus 35 years. He appealed the convictions but the Ninth Circuit United States Court of Appeals upheld them earlier this year.

According to the Associated Press article, Wilde was found unresponsive in his cell in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Sept. 22 and rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead four days later. The story quotes Vigo County Coroner Susan Amos as saying Wilde apparently hanged himself.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Eureka Names Watson Police Chief

Posted By on Mon, Sep 25, 2017 at 5:31 PM

Pending City Council approval, former Capt. Steve Watson has been named the city's next police chief. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Pending City Council approval, former Capt. Steve Watson has been named the city's next police chief.

The city of Eureka announced this afternoon that it’s looking to drop the "interim" from interim Police Chief Steve Watson’s title.

In a press release, the city announced that City Manager Greg Sparks has offered Watson the position and the former captain has accepted. The hire will now go before the Eureka City Council on Oct. 17 for its approval.


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