Crime

Friday, March 20, 2020

DA Warns About Price Gouging Amid COVID-19 Shelter in Place

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2020 at 4:00 PM

Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming. - SUBMITTED PHOTO
  • Submitted photo
  • Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming.
While no cases have been reported in Humboldt County, District Attorney Maggie Fleming issued a warning today against price gouging in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak that has the state sheltering in place.

It is illegal to raise prices on needed products, such as food, medical supplies, gasoline and building materials, by more than 10 percent in the wake of an emergency. Penalties include up to one year in jail and a $10,000 fine, as well as possible civil actions.

“My perception is the people and businesses of Humboldt County are doing a great job of helping each other and making extra efforts to cooperate during these challenging times,” Fleming said in the release. “I’m pleased to report we have not received any reports of price gouging.”

Residents are asked to report any possible incidents to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office at 707-441-3014 or by email at Districtattorney@co.humboldt.ca.us.

Read the full District Attorney’s Office release below:


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Monday, February 24, 2020

Sheriff's Office IDs Man Killed in Southern Humboldt

Posted By on Mon, Feb 24, 2020 at 4:26 PM

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The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has identified the man whose body was found on a property in the Ettersburg area on Feb. 18 as Southern Humboldt resident Jason Todd Garrett.

According to a release, the 33 year old died of a gunshot wound.

A suspect in Garrett’s shooting, Ryan Anthony Tanner, 32, was taken into custody after a daylong search on Feb. 17 that included a CHP helicopter and SWAT team members.

The sheriff’s office had responded to Tanner’s property after it “received information regarding a possible homicide” at a property on Crooked Prairie Road.

“This case is still under investigation,” a release states. “Further information will be released when available and appropriate.”

Read the full HCSO release below:


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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Lawson Report: Lack of Training, Crime Scene Management Hindered Investigation

Posted By on Thu, Feb 20, 2020 at 3:30 PM

David Josiah Lawson - SUBMITTED
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  • David Josiah Lawson
A long-delayed National Police Foundation report released today commended the initial officers’ response to the fatal stabbing of Humboldt State University student David “Josiah” Lawson nearly three years ago but found a systemic failure by the police department’s then leadership to provide adequate training on crime scene management and command skills, which severely hindered the ensuing investigation.

The 65-page review’s executive summary states that the NPF’s assessment team “found that APD officers responded quickly and professionally to a highly chaotic scene — an event that would have been challenging for any agency of any size and sophistication. APD first responders focused their attention on providing lifesaving measures at the highly-charged scene.”

But it found the city “had not provided the appropriate level of organizational leadership, planning, and training to respond to, and investigate, this type of a complicated and chaotic homicide scene.”

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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Human Remains Found at Suspected SoHum Homicide Scene

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 12:27 PM

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The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office found human remains while searching a Southern Humboldt property Feb. 18 and is working to identify the individual, according to a press release.

Ryan Anthony Tanner, 32, was arrested on suspicion of homicide a day earlier after a daylong search that included a CHP helicopter and SWAT team members.

Sheriff’s office detectives and investigators had responded after receiving "information regarding a possible homicide” at a property on Crooked Prairie Road.

“Due to information indicating Tanner to be armed and dangerous, a SWAT operation was conducted to carry out the service of the warrant,” a previous release states.

An autopsy on the remains has been scheduled for Feb. 22 and the coroner’s office is “working to confirm the identity and gender of the decedent.”

The case remains under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.

Read the full HCSO release below:
On Feb. 18, 2020, Humboldt County Sheriff’s crime scene investigators continued their investigation of a property on Crooked Prairie Road associated with a reported homicide.
While on scene, investigators located and recovered human remains.

The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office is working to confirm the identity and gender of the decedent. An autopsy has been scheduled for Saturday, February 22. A cause of death determination is pending an autopsy.

This case is still under investigation. Further information will be released when available and appropriate.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

UPDATE: Mother of Teen Arrested in Fatal Shooting, House Fire 'Accidental'

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 10:10 PM

The scene on Union Street. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • The scene on Union Street.
SECOND UPDATE:

The Eureka Police Department and Humboldt Bay Fire are reporting that an early morning fire at the Union Street home where a teenager was reportedly shot by his mother last night during a domestic disturbance was “accidental" with EPD stating in a release that it was "unrelated to the manslaughter.”

EPD is not releasing the name of the teen at this time. An autopsy is scheduled for later this week.

A cat and pet mice died in the fire started by "combustibles too close to a floor furnace," which caused $30,000 in damage, according to Humboldt Bay Fire. No one was home at the time.

UPDATE:

Eureka Police Chief Steve Watson has confirmed that the mother of the victim in last night’s fatal shooting was arrested. He tweeted this morning, “EPD has a suspect in custody from last night’s shooting homicide — the victim’s mother, Pamela Faye Millsap, age 38. She was arrested and booked on a manslaughter charge. A press release will be forthcoming soon.”

A first report from the scene last night relayed by a dispatcher said that the caller was afraid the son was going to strike his mother. This was followed soon after by the report of a gunshot.

Officers were on the scene quickly where they found the 17 year old with a gunshot wound. Lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful.

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The Eureka Police Department tonight is investigating the fatal shooting of a young man after responding to an incident in the 2200 block of Union Street around 7:25 p.m.

Eureka Police Chief Steve Watson tweeted, “I can confirm EPD is investigating an apparent homicide that occurred in a residence on the 2200 block of Union Street around 7:30 PM tonight. Officers were dispatched to a domestic disturbance there. While officers were still en route, a caller reported a shot had been fired.”

He added, “Upon arrival, officers found a severely injured male, around age 17, inside with an apparent gunshot wound. Officers began life-saving efforts and the male was transported to a local hospital where he was later pronounced deceased. No suspects are believed to be outstanding.”

In addition, he tweeted, “This is an active investigation in its preliminary stages. Investigators are on scene and will be working through the night. We will release more information once we know more and can responsibly do so.”

Read the full EPD release below:
On February 18, 2020, at about 7:22 p.m., officers with the Eureka Police Department were dispatched to a residence at the 2200 block of Union Street for the report of a family disturbance. While officers were responding, it was reported that a male had been shot.

Officers arrived on scene and located a 17-year-old male suffering from a gunshot wound. Officers performed lifesaving efforts until Humboldt Bay Fire and City Ambulance arrived. The male was transported by ambulance to the hospital where he ultimately succumbed to his injury.

Based on the investigation, Detectives with the Eureka Police Department have arrested the victim’s mother Pamela Faye Millsap (38 of Eureka) for involuntary manslaughter. Millsap was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.

An autopsy is scheduled for later this week. The juvenile victim’s name is being withheld at this time. This is an active investigation and additional details will be released as appropriate. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Corrie Watson at (707) 441-4032.

*On February 19, 2020, at about 6:40 a.m., Humboldt Bay Fire responded to a structure fire at the same residence on the 2200 block of Union Street. Based on the initial investigation it appears the fire was accidental and unrelated to the manslaughter.

Read the release from Humboldt Bay Fire:
On 2/19/2020 at 6:39 A.M. Humboldt Bay Fire was dispatched to a reported structure fire at 2200 Union Street. The first arriving units found light smoke coming from the attic and eaves of a single-family residence. Fire crews made entry in to the residence and found a fire in the living room area with heavy smoke throughout rest the structure. Crews simultaneously attacked the fire, ventilated the structure and performed a search to locate any possible victims.

Fire crews were slowed by hoarding conditions and a second alarm was requested for additional manpower. Fire crews had the fire under control within about ten minutes. Nobody was home at the time of the fire, although a family cat and pet mice perished in the incident.
Damage to the residence is estimated to be $30,000.

Humboldt Bay Fire contacted the Eureka Police Department to advise them of the fire as it had been the scene of a law enforcement incident the previous night. The Eureka Police Department had released the scene earlier in the evening and the fire was unrelated to those events. Humboldt Bay Fire investigators determined the fire to be accidental.

It was caused by combustibles too close to a floor furnace.

Humboldt Bay Fire would like to remind people to keep combustibles away from operating heating appliances. There were no injuries to firefighters at the incident.
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SWAT Operation Nabs Homicide Suspect in SoHum

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 10:26 AM

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After a daylong search that included a CHP helicopter and SWAT team members, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office arrested a man suspected of homicide in the Ettersburg area around 7:15 p.m. Feb. 17.

According to a release, Ryan Anthony Tanner, 32, was taken into custody without incident. The sheriff’s office states detectives and investigators responded to the scene at 11:30 a.m. after it “received information regarding a possible homicide” at a property on Crooked Prairie Road.


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Monday, February 17, 2020

HSU Investigating Allegations of Faculty Member Soliciting Students

Posted By on Mon, Feb 17, 2020 at 2:27 PM

Humboldt State University - FILE
  • File
  • Humboldt State University
Humboldt State University stated in a press release today that it has “expanded” an investigating into allegations that a member of its faculty “may have” solicited students for paid sex.

Providing few details, the release states the university has “taken precautionary steps in order to protect students from harm” since receiving the “anonymous reports” last Thursday and “significant progress has been made since the allegations first surfaced.”

“Because this investigation involves University personnel, the information the University will be able to share about outcomes will vary,” the HSU release states. “Findings and actions involving personnel matters are highly confidential.”

HSU is asking anyone with information to contact the university’s Title IX Office and/or the University Police Department and provided a list of campus support systems for anyone in need.

Please read the full HSU release below:


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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

With Foundation Report Still Outstanding, Another Justice for Josiah Vigil Planned for Today

Posted By on Wed, Jan 15, 2020 at 3:40 PM

Despite continuous inquiries from news outlets and community members at city council meetings, the city of Arcata still has't received the $30,000 National Police Foundation review of the city's emergency response to David Josiah Lawson’s fatal stabbing on April 15, 2017, and officials still “don’t have a firm timeline” of when the report will reach their desks.

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rcata City Manager Karen Diemer said the foundation is working on fact checking and “final crafting of the language of the report,” adding that the foundation calls the city every other week to confirm specific information.

“I have trust in the police foundation’s accuracy of the report,” Diemer said. "My assessment is that [the foundation] is doing one more pass through [the report], and I do expect the report this year, hopefully in the first half rather than the second.”

In the early morning of April 15, 2017, Lawson was fatally stabbed at an off-campus party after multiple fights broke out over a lost cell phone. A suspect, Kyle Zoellner, of McKinleyville, was arrested at the scene and charged with the Lawson’s murder. However, a Humboldt County Superior Court judge later dismissed the charges saying there was insufficient evidence to hold Zoellner to stand trial. Last March, a criminal grand jury assembled to review evidence in the case decided not to indict Zoellner or anyone else anyone in Lawson’s killing, sending the case was back at the Arcata Police Department for further investigation.

In a Sept. 10, 2018 memo detailing what the city hoped to get out of the National Police Foundation review, then-Mayor Sofia Pereira and Diemer stated the nonprofit will "review the police department's response to make recommendations for improving major criminal events, including response to, and investigation of, catastrophic, multiple-victim and/or multiple-witness incidents in the future.”

Diemer also said that she expects the report to look analytically at what the city can do better in its emergency responses and how it can follow the best protocols moving forward.

“This was a case of lessons learned,” she said, anticipating some of the contents of the report. “We’re expecting it to be critical in regard to the city’s response of that night.”

In the meantime, the Justice for Josiah committee continues to hold monthly vigils observing the anniversary of Lawson’s death and to remind the community his killing remains unsolved. The 33rd such vigil will be held at Arcata City Hall today at 5:30 p.m..

Charmaine Lawson, Lawson’s mother, continues to visit Humboldt County regularly, vowing to find both justice for her son and answers as to what went wrong the night he was killed.

“Happy Justice Year to all!” reads a Justice for Josiah Facebook post. “I will not stop coming to Humboldt County until justice is served for my son.”
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Monday, December 16, 2019

EPD Investigation: Fatal Hit-and-Run on Broadway

Posted By on Mon, Dec 16, 2019 at 11:30 AM

FILE
  • FILE
The Eureka Police Department is looking for the driver of at least one vehicle that is believed to have fatally struck a woman crossing Broadway just south of 14th Street after 8 p.m. on Sunday and left the scene without stopping.

According to EPD, witnesses said Ashley Madonia, 36, was hit while she walked outside of the crosswalk. Officers who arrived began life-saving efforts, which were continued by Humboldt Bay Fire and City Ambulance personnel. She was transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The vehicles believed to be involved were described as a white, newer model lifted Chevrolet Silverado and a gray or silver mid-2000s model four-door sedan.

EPD said Madonia’s family has been notified.

The investigation into her death is active and EPD is asking anyone with information to contact Senior Detective Amber Cosetti at acosetti@ci.eureka.ca.gov or (707) 441-4315.

Read the EPD release below:


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Monday, December 9, 2019

Three Years After Jennika Lee Suazo Was Found Dead, Her Family Awaits Justice

Posted By on Mon, Dec 9, 2019 at 1:29 PM

Three years ago today, 18-year-old Jennika Lee Suazo was found dead in her home on P Street in Eureka. She was last seen on Dec. 8, 2016. After her cause of death was determined to be asphyxia, the Eureka Police Department began investigating her death as a homicide.
Jennika Suazo - FACEBOOK
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  • Jennika Suazo
Her mother, Jennie Lee Seipp, said that how hard it is to wait for news of movement in solving her daughter’s death. “It’s coming on [three] years of her horrible passing … still no news from E.P.D. or Department of Justice.”

Eureka Police spokesperson Brittany Powell said Saturday, “We are working with the Department of Justice on forensic and DNA evidence. Once all of the evidence has been evaluated and all results are received, we will follow up with any new leads and present the report to the District Attorney’s Office for review and recommendations.”

Powell said solving Suazo’s homicide has required thorough police work.

“The Eureka Police Department is working diligently to resolve this investigation and bring Jennika’s killer to justice,” she said in a prepared statement. “Working through investigations where there were no eyewitnesses or other immediate identifying suspect information are time-consuming and require a level of thoroughness above and beyond most investigations to ensure a case can be filed and prosecuted in front of a jury.”

The EPD asks anyone with information to contact Senior Detective Cosetti at acosetti@ci.eureka.ca.gov.
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