sheriffsmWHISPERING RIDGE -- The Chelan County Sheriff's Office, as a precautionary measure, has advised two property owners in the Whispering Ridge slide area to leave their homes. The recommendation is based on the most current readings from surface monitoring points at the slide area, which continue to show increasing movement in the slope.  Both homes are on Squilchuck Road southwest of Wenatchee, WA.

A geotechnical firm retained by Chelan County has been analyzing data for more than a year from 30 points of reference along the slope. The points were predetermined last year.  Late Friday afternoon the geotechnical firm advised Chelan County that the measuring point data is showing increased movement within the Whispering Ridge slide area.  This increased rate of movement could potentially cause the “toe,” or base of the slide, to inadvertently affect the flow of a tributary creek located within an adjacent canyon to the slide. That creek flows into Squilchuck Creek which is very the near the two residences contacted in the 5000 block of Squilchuck Road.

This information triggered the notification of the two property owners Friday evening.  Those residents and the three other property owners in the 4900 – 5000 blocks of Squilchuck Road had received a general notification of increased slope movement from Chelan County Emergency Management and Chelan County Public Works earlier Friday afternoon.

Surface monitoring point readings taken on March 30th (2017) show the landslide is moving again.  The Whispering Ridge slope movement was first reported in March 2016.  Initial notifications to property owners along the affected area of Whispering Ridge Drive and the five residences located below - on Squilchuck Road - occurred last spring.

The current monitoring point data indicates that movement has increased within the past couple of weeks.  The geotechnical firm has stated that future readings will determine the rate at which the landslide is moving.

Monitoring points also show the roadway at Whispering Ridge Drive is moving at a much slower rate. The roadway remains open only to local traffic and is being monitored closely by Chelan County Public Works and the geotechnical firm to determine if restrictions are needed in the future.

sheriffsmOn March 30, 2017 Sheriff Brian Burnett reports two juvenile males were arrested in connection with a residential burglary and theft from an Eagle Rock residence.

On March 25, 2017 shortly after 11:00am Chelan County Deputies responded to a reported burglary in progress at a residence on Anna Lane in the Eagle Rock development. The victim homeowners returned home from a morning outing and found a vehicle parked in their driveway. They then observed two male juveniles fleeing from their residence. One of the homeowners was able to subdue one suspect and ordered him to lay on the ground until Deputies arrived. The second suspect fled the scene on foot, but returned later and turned himself over to the victim homeowners, and then Deputies when they arrived. It was later determined the suspects were brothers and an acquaintance of a male juvenile who lived at the victim residence.

Through the investigation Deputies learned the suspects entered into the residence by prying off a window screen and opening a sliding window. Once inside the residence the two juvenile suspects ransacked the residence and left it in complete disarray with clothes and other items strewn throughout the residence.

The suspect vehicle parked in the victim’s driveway was secured in preparation for a search warrant. A search warrant was authorized and stolen items located inside included electronics (Xbox game, Surface pro, Asus Laptop, and other electronics), men’s and women’s clothing, alcohol, an Amazon Echo, four bank access debit/credit cards and other items. The replacement value of the stolen items was less than $5000.

The two juveniles were booked into Chelan County Juvenile Justice Center for Residential burglary, Theft 2nd degree, possession of a legend drug without a prescription, malicious mischief 3rd degree, and minor in possession of alcohol.

ssheriffsmSheriff Burnett reports on March 5, 2017 Chelan County Sheriff’s Office Detective made a second arrest related to the 1982 disappearance of Stephen Smith. Sheriff’s Detectives arrested Dawn M. Soles, a 57 year old Leavenworth resident, for 1st degree Murder.

Prior to the July, 1982 disappearance of Mr. Smith, Ms. Soles and Mr. Smith were married. During their marriage they had a child. Ms. Soles and Mr. Smith ultimately divorced prior to Mr. Smith’s disappearance. As a part of their divorce Mr. Smith was granted full custody and Ms. Soles was granted supervised visitation only. Ms. Soles later married Bernard Swaim and they moved to Western Washington. On or just before July 12, 1982 Ms. Soles and Mr. Swaim traveled from Western Washington to Cashmere with a plan and intent to murder Mr. Smith. The investigation showed Ms. Soles and Mr. Swaim planned to get Mr. Smith intoxicated to the point he passed out, and then Mr. Swaim would murder Mr. Smith.

 Utilizing old investigative interviews, creating additional leads, and conducting new interviews the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office Detectives were able to piece together critical evidence to establish probable cause to arrest Bernard Swaim and Dawn Soles for the 1982 murder of Mr. Smith.

The Detectives are still conducting follow up interviews and trying to gather more information related the details of Mr. Smith’s disappearance and locating his remains.

SwaimSheriff Brian Burnett reports on March 3, 2017 detectives arrested 60 year old Bernard Swaim in connection with the 1982 disappearance of Cashmere resident Stephen E. Smith. Bernard Swaim is currently a resident of Sultan, Washington. Mr. Swaim was charged with First Degree Murder.

s smith300On July 18, 1982 30 year old Cashmere resident Stephen E. Smith was reported as a missing person by family members. Mr. Smith was last seen at his home on or about July 12, 1982. Mr. Smith’s car, a 1966 Pontiac Tempest was found abandoned several days after the report of his disappearance, on Dead Man’s Hill road near Dryden, in Chelan County. The initial investigation concluded in 1982 and Mr. Smith has never been located.

In late 2016 Mr. Smith’s disappearance was assigned to detectives for further investigation. Through interviews with multiple people including Mr. Smith’s family members and witnesses, detectives identified Bernard Swaim as a person of interest in Mr. Smith’s disappearance.

If you have any information regarding the disappearance of Stephen E. Smith please call the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office at 509-667-6842 and leave your contact information and a detective will return your call.

You can also go online to our web page, http://www.co.chelan.wa.us/sheriff and use the submit a crime tip tab or message us on Facebook.

sheriffsmOn January 28, 2017 Sheriff Brian Burnett reports at approximately 0900 hours a local Wenatchee resident, while boating on the Columbia River, located a human body in the shallow water near the shoreline adjacent to BNSF Appleyard. The Chelan County Detective Unit, Chelan County Coroner’s Office and Chelan County Marine Patrol Unit responded to recover the deceased.

The Chelan County Coroner’s Office, Chief Deputy Coroner Earl Crowe, identified the body as 32-year old Rudy Hernandez from Monitor. Hernandez’s family was notified by the Sheriff’s Office and Coroner’s Office as soon as the identification was made. On January 29, 2017 an autopsy was performed and the cause of death was ruled a suicide by drowning.

Hernandez was originally reported as missing in November, 2016. The Sheriff’s Office launched a search that included flying the Wenatchee River by helicopter, the Swift Water Rescue team was deployed and checked a portion of the Wenatchee River to the Sleepy Hollow bridge, a ground search along the banks of the river, and Chelan County Detectives wrote search warrants for social media websites trying to gain any information they could on Hernandez.