Topic: Lewis County
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November 14, 2013 at 12:12 PM
The (Centralia) Chronicle
The Lewis County Coroner’s Office has identified the skeletal remains found near a wrecked vehicle over a cliff off of U.S. Highway 12 near Packwood on Nov. 6. The remains are of Jerry L. Heilman, 50, Tacoma, who who was reported missing last year to the Tacoma Police Department.
The cause of death is blunt force trauma and the manner of death is undetermined, according to the coroner’s office.
Two hikers found the skeletal remains of Heilman by the crashed vehicle on Nov. 6 and immediately notified the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.
Detectives and Packwood Search and Rescue members responded early on the morning of Nov. 7 to the site on U.S. Highway 12 near milepost 143, about 275 feet over an embankment.
The terrain in the area made it dangerous to traverse during the dark, the sheriff’s office said, therefore the investigation and recovery began the next day in daylight.
Responders rappelled 275 feet down the embankment to the vehicle and found nothing that indicated a crime had occurred, according to the sheriff’s office.
The vehicle sustained major damage. The sheriff’s office said it appeared the vehicle had been traveling at highway speed when it left the roadway.
The highway in that area does not have a guard rail.
The car with the skeleton was not the only vehicle found in the White Pass area between Palisades and Rimrock Lake.
Approximately 25 more vehicles, including stolen vehicles, were found, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
October 9, 2013 at 9:40 AM
PACKWOOD, Lewis County (AP) — A Packwood woman was stung by a bee as she was getting into her SUV, and then while trying to get away from the bee she fell to the ground and the car ran over her leg.
Police Sgt. Rob Snaza told The Chronicle her car continued down the street Sunday and hit a parked car.
The 56-year-old woman, Donna L. Rowe-Breidstein, was taken to Morton General Hospital and later airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with leg and ankle injuries.
September 24, 2013 at 10:47 AM
The Associated Press
CENTRALIA — There are three cold case homicides in Lewis County from the 1980s and ‘90s that could be victims of the Green River serial killings.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Dusty Breen told The Chronicle there’s nothing specific to link the deaths of the three women to Gary Ridgway, but they have common elements. The victims disappeared from Pierce and King counties and were transient or involved in prostitution or drugs. Their bodies were dumped near Interstate 5.
Ridgway pleaded guilty to killing 49 women in King County and is serving a life sentence. He has refused to talk to Lewis County detectives.
If convicted of a killing outside King County Ridgway could face the death penalty.
Ridgway recently talked with Seattle station KOMO-TV and said he may have more victims.
September 25, 2012 at 1:30 PM
A body was found at the base of a cliff on the south side of Mount Rainier National Park yesterday, according to park officials.
Rangers were investigating a vehicle that was parked for several days at Ricksecker Point, an overlook on the south side of the park.
A license plate check didn’t turn up anything unsual, but when the car’s registration was checked Sunday night, it led them to the report of a missing person.
A ground search led rangers to the body at the base of the cliff. The person’s injuries were consistent with having fallen from a great height, according to park officials.
The identity of the person has not been released.
The body was taken to the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.
Park officials continue to investigate what happened.
August 30, 2012 at 9:44 PM
Stephanie Schendel / The (Centralia) Chronicle
The state has agreed to pay a $3 million settlement to the families of the victims in the 2010 Lewis County triple-homicide committed by an ex-convict who was supposed to be under strict supervision by the Department of Corrections.
The two men convicted in connection with the shootings, John Allen Booth Jr. and Ryan J. McCarthy, were both recently released convicts whose oversight by the Department of Corrections befire the Aug. 21, 2010, homicides was horribly lax, according to the attorney for the victims’ families.
“After the shootings occurred, there was a lot of attention brought to the fact that they were felons that were supposed to be supervised,” said Nathan Roberts, the Tacoma-based attorney from Connelly Law Offices, who represented the families in the claim for damages.
Roberts described the supervision of Booth and McCarthy as “the worst we’ve ever seen,” explaining that the corrections officer had gone months without checking in with either offender.
“The DOC had not done any of the field checks or drug tests that were required with either offender,” he said.
The Department of Corrections launched its own internal investigation after the homicides, said Chad Lewis, a spokesman for the Department of Corrections. The investigation ended in the firing of the corrections officer, Seth Skipworth, 34, who was based in Tacoma and was responsible for the supervision of Booth and McCarthy.
Upon their release from prison, both Booth and McCarthy were considered to be higher-risk, violent offenders who were likely to reoffend, Roberts said.
“The officer simply was not doing his job,” Roberts said.
Booth was released from prison the December before the Salkum homicides after serving five years of an appeal-reduced seven-year sentence for assault, for bludgeoning a man’s head with a crowbar in Centralia in 2004. Booth has a long history of violent crime in Lewis County dating back to his early teen years.
Booth, a native of Onalaska, Lewis County, was found guilty in 2011 for the murders of David “DJ” West Jr., 16, of Salkum; Tony E. Williams, 50, of Mineral, Lewis County; and David West Sr., 52, of Salkum; in addition to attempted murder for the shooting of Denise R. Salts, now 53, of Randle, which is also in Lewis County. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The murders occurred at the West residence at 101 Wings Way, off Equine Drive in the Salkum area.
McCarthy was sentenced on Sept. 28 to 14 years in prison on convictions of first-degree robbery, residential burglary and first-degree attempted extortion in connection to the murders. He admitted to being at the West residence but maintained he had nothing to do with the shootings.
Roberts said the law firm filed a claim for damages against the state in August of last year. After several months of negotiation about the amount, the settlement offer was accepted last week, he said. While it is a somber moment for the families, it brought some closure to their wounds.
“They are very happy with the settlement,” he said.
While the settlement is not an admission of formal guilt, Roberts said, it serves as an acknowledgement of the missteps taken by the DOC. The money will go to the families of the three victims who died, and to Salts, who pleaded guilty in January to drug paraphernalia possession and was sentenced to 10 days in jail.
Roberts would not disclose what the financial split would be between the families.
“The heinous murders that John Allen Booth Jr. committed caused unbearable heartache for multiple families,” Lewis said in a DOC press-release statement. “We hope these settlements help his victims’ families with their loss. We are also glad that we were able to reach an agreement with the victims’ families to avoid costly litigation.”
August 23, 2012 at 10:40 PM
The husband of murder victim Ronda Reynolds has reached a settlement agreement with a Lewis County school district under which he will leave his job as Toledo Elementary School principal in exchange for $140,000, according to a report in The Chronicle of Centralia.
Ronda Reynolds, a former officer with Washington State Patrol, died from a gunshot wound in the couple’s bedroom in 1998 when she was 33. Her death was originally determined to be a suicide, a ruling her mother, Barbara Thompson, fought for years to have changed. True crime writer Ann Rule wrote a book about the case called “In the Still of the Night.”
Thompson finally got what she wanted in fall 2011, when new Lewis County Coroner Warren McLeod convened an inquest into Ronda Reynolds’ death.
That inquest found that Ronda Reynolds had been murdered and that the responsible parties were her husband, Ron Reynolds, and one of his sons by an previous marriage. However, Lewis County prosecutors decided not to file charges against the men.
Since then, Ron Reynolds has been on paid administrative leave from Toledo Elementary School. The school district maintained it wanted to fire him because of performance issues, The Chronicle reports. Reynolds and his lawyer argued that there was no cause for firing, and that the publicity over Ronda Reynold’s death was behind the effort to remove him from his job.
The settlement will be paid out to Ron Reynolds in monthly installments over three years, The Chronicle reports.
August 15, 2012 at 9:55 AM
Lewis County sheriff’s deputies have rescued an Oklahoma couple who were hurt while hiking near Packwood. The couple, a 58-year-old woman, and a 62-year-old man, are recovering at Morton General Hospital, according to the sheriff’s office.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a married couple who were hurt while hiking near Packwood.
According to the sheriff’s office, the husband contacted the U.S. Forest Service from his satellite phone yesterday to report that they had slipped and fell while hiking through snow. The man said his wife had cut her leg, but the bleeding was controlled, and that he had bruised his hip. The man said they were near Hart Lake and needed help getting out.
The Forest Service contacted sheriff’s deputies, who, in turn, told the man to stay put. A search and rescue team is trying to locate the hikers, but there is some confusion as to where they are. There is not a specific GPS function on the satellite phone, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies plan to fly the department airplane over the area to see if they can find the hikers from the air.
August 13, 2012 at 2:27 PM
The Associated Press
PACKWOOD – The Lewis County sheriff’s office says a camper drowned Saturday in a river just outside Mount Rainier National Park east of Packwood.
The sheriff’s office says he went wading in the Ohanapecosh River and was swept away by the current. He went over a waterfall and was pinned under logs. Kayakers pulled him out, but he was declared dead at Morton General Hospital.
He was identified Monday by the Lewis County coroner’s office as 41-year-old Michael Barrett of Bothell.
March 7, 2012 at 10:38 AM
The Associated Press
ONALASKA, Lewis County – The Lewis County sheriff’s office says a 25-year-old Onalaska man called 911 about 2:45 a.m. Wednesday and said he had just killed his father.
Deputies found a 58-year-old man stabbed to death. He was apparently attacked as he slept in bed.
Deputies arrest 25-year-old man who called police was arrested for investigation of homicide. He was treated at a Seattle hospital for injuries apparently suffered during the attack.
Two other family members in the Onalaska home were unharmed.
January 8, 2012 at 9:30 AM
Weather: The details. Ok, at least it’s not raining this morning. That could happen tomorrow, but for the most part, think clouds with some sun peeking through this week.
Traffic: The map and cams.
The Lewis County Jail: You never know what might pique your interest. The folks in Centralia apparently want to know what’s going on in their county jail. This from the police blotter of The Chronicle:
Inmate population in the main facility as of early this morning: 175 inmates; 139 are men and 36 are women. None is a work-release inmate. Forty-eight are contract bed inmates from outside agencies. None is on electronic home monitoring and none is day-reporting. In the past 24 hours . . . eight people were booked into jail and 28 were released.
Lucky had a job and he did it. The Associated Press:
Airmen at Fairchild Air Force Base (outside Spokane) held a memorial service last week for Lucky the bomb-sniffing dog.
Lucky was deployed five times with the 92nd Security Forces Squadron to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kyrgyzstan and also supported the Secret Service.
The “tac dog,” a Belgian Malinois, died in September of cancer.
Most-read stories on seattletimes.com this morning: (Ask the news producer to do this and put it in the post.)
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The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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