sheriffsmUPDATE:

On May 24, 2017 autopsies were performed on both of the deceased. The autopsy results did not reveal any trauma or fatal injuries. The Chelan County Chief Deputy Coroner reported further tests and analysis would need to be completed prior to determining a cause of death. The results for that could take up to 10 weeks. The Chief Deputy Coroner and Chelan County Sheriff’s Office Detectives continue to try to identify the two deceased. Positive identification could take up to two more weeks.

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On May 24, 2017 Sheriff Brian Burnett reports the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the deaths of two individuals found deceased inside a vehicle adjacent to a campsite near mile post 90 on Highway 2, between Leavenworth and Lake Wenatchee.

On May 23, 2017 shortly after 12:30pm a caller reported they located a full sized pickup truck in a heavily brushed area near the Chiwaukum Creek Rock Quarry. The Rock Quarry is located near mile post 90 on Highway 2, west of Leavenworth. The reporting party did not get close enough to the vehicle to determine if anyone was inside.

The first arriving Deputy located the vehicle with the assistance of the reporting party. The Deputy noticed someone had attempted to conceal the vehicle with a blanket, duct tape, and natural vegetation from the area. The Deputy approached the vehicle and located two deceased subjects sitting in the driver’s seat and front passenger seat. The Deputy requested assistance from our Detective Unit and notified the Chelan County Coroner’s Office. The Detective Unit and Chief Deputy Coroner processed the scene, secured both the deceased and the vehicle. The Coroner’s Office is performing autopsies on both the deceased and is working closely with our Detective’s Unit to determine a cause of death.

At this point in the investigation we are not actively pursuing any suspects, nor do we believe there is a risk to public safety related to this incident. Both the Sheriff’s Office and Coroner’s Office are working to identify the bodies and notify next of kin.

Once the autopsies are completed and a cause of death determined there will be more to follow.

sheriffsmSheriff Brian Burnett reports a Cashmere Middle School student was arrested for pointing what appeared to be a black pistol at another student in the hallway of the Middle School.

On April 26, 2017 shortly before 3:00pm the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Deputy responded to Cashmere Middle School for a weapons violation. The investigation determined two students were bothering each other during a class session. One student asked the other student to move to the other side of the classroom. They continued to engage in bothering and annoying each other until the end of the school day. As the two students passed each other in the hallway one “shoulder bumped” the other. The student who delivered the shoulder bump continued to walk and was approximately 10 feet away when he heard the other student call out his name. The victim student alleged when he turned around the suspect student was pointing what he believed to be a black pistol at him. The victim student said he was fearful and ran away as he yelled, “He has a gun”. The suspect student fled down the hallway, went outside, and got onto a bus.

As the incident occurred a nearby teacher heard the yelling and statement about a gun. The teacher ran to the location and was provided the name of the suspect student and that he ran outside. As the teacher pursued he learned the suspect student got onto a bus. The teacher immediately boarded the bus, located the student, and removed the student from the bus. The suspect student immediately told the teacher he did not have a real pistol, but was in possession of an airsoft gun capable of shooting plastic pellets. It was later confirmed the displayed object, which was black in color with an orange tip, was indeed an airsoft gun with plastic pellets.

The suspect student was booked into Chelan County Juvenile Detention Center for harassment – threats to kill and possessing a dangerous weapon on school facilities.

The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office is working in cooperation with the Cashmere School District to investigate this incident and we want to stress the Cashmere School District is taking this incident very seriously.

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.

sheriffsm

***** UPDATE *****

On January 19, 2017 Sheriff Burnett reports the fourth at large Othello robbery suspect turned himself into Adams County Jail. The fourth suspect has been identified as 38 year-old Samuel Draper of Entiat, Washington.

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On January 18, 2017 Sheriff Brian Burnett reports the arrest of three Chelan County residents who were suspects in connection with a home invasion robbery that occurred in Othello, Washington.

On January 2, 2017 a home invasion robbery was reported in Othello. The suspects allegedly threatened the occupants of the home with a firearm and physically assaulted one or more of the occupants.

Adams County Sheriff’s Office investigators identified four suspects, all of whom were from the Chelan & Douglas County area.

One suspect, 29 year-old Zane Grissom, was arrested near Entiat on January 6, 2017 by members of the Columbia River Drug Task Force, Wenatchee Police Department, and the U.S. Marshal’s Service.

Arrest warrants were issued by Adams County Superior Court for the remaining three suspects on January 11, 2017. The same day, the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office received information that two of the remaining suspects, 37 year-old Kevin Bradley and 29 year-old Jennifer Ramsey, had been staying in Leavenworth area motels. Chelan County Sheriff’s Office detectives began investigating Bradley and Ramsey’s whereabouts.

On January 14, detectives received information that Bradley and Ramsey were in Cashmere. Chelan County Sheriff’s Office patrol deputies located both suspects in Cashmere and arrested them without incident. Ramsey also had an outstanding warrant for her arrest issued by the Washington Department of Corrections. The fourth suspect remains at large.

This is a great example of multiple agencies working in collaboration to investigate a crime, aggressively pursue the suspects, and make the arrests without incident.

sheriffsmCHELAN COUNTY- The National Weather Service is forecasting warmer temperatures and possible rain next week – weather conditions that may lead to the formation of hazardous ice jams and flooding along the county’s rivers and streams.

Ice jams are formed as a result of long cold spells that cause portions of rivers and streams to freeze. Fluctuations in temperatures or water levels can break the ice into chunks, which then can jam at obstructions, including bridges or culverts, as they move downstream. Such jams dam water flows, potentially resulting in flooding upstream. If a jam releases suddenly, it then may cause a surge of flooding downstream.

After several weeks of below-freezing temperatures, some areas of Chelan County are expected next week to see temperatures as high as 40 degrees as well as rain showers. Chelan County officials warn residents living close to rivers and streams to have an emergency plan in place in case of potential flooding. In flooding situations, people may become isolated or have to evacuate their homes quickly.

Citizens are asked to consider the following list of dos and don’ts:

DO:

  •    Be prepared before a flood. Have on hand extra food and water as well as an emergency kit that includes a battery-powered radio, flashlight, candles and waterproof matches.
  •    Monitor your property near your home to determine if water accumulations are rising.
  •    If you use a private bridge to access your property, watch for debris and ice buildup at the bridge. If you own a private bridge, you are responsible for the maintenance and repair of that structure.
  •    Have a copy of your flood insurance policy handy (if applicable) in case you need to contact your insurance company.
  •    Call your local officials with any questions or to notify them of any hazards you observe. Chelan County Public Works can be reached at 667-6415. In an emergency situation, call 911.

DON’T:

  •    Do NOT walk or attempt to drive through a flooded area. Water and ice levels may be misleading due to snow accumulations. Follow the rule: Turn Around! Don’t Drown!
  •    Take precautions to protect your home but do NOT try to remove ice from the river or alter river or stream flows. Attempting to alter water flows may inadvertently damage neighboring homes and property downstream.

sheriffsmSheriff Brian Burnett reports that on Friday (12/16/2016) at 10:14am RIVERCOM dispatch received a call reference a vehicle which had just been stolen from a residence in the 3600 block of Ridgeview Blvd in the Sunnyslope area of Chelan County.

The victim stated her nephew - who has been visiting from out of state - suddenly took her silver Jeep Liberty without permission as she was preparing to leave the residence to run errands. The victim’s purse and dog were in the vehicle at the time it was taken. The victim never gave her nephew permission to drive the vehicle and did not know where he would be heading.

Local law enforcement agencies began actively searching for the vehicle. At 10:36am a Department of Transportation employee driving on Highway 97-A observed the stolen Jeep Liberty parked on the shoulder of the highway facing northbound. He notified State Patrol dispatch who relayed the information to RIVERCOM. The WDOT employee then observed the vehicle begin traveling northbound behind him on the highway toward Chelan. North county deputies responded and eventually encountered the vehicle near milepost 222 about six miles north of Entiat.

As the deputies attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver made a u-turn and began traveling back southbound. The driver failed to yield for several miles after the two pursuing deputies had activated lights and sirens. Eventually, the driver pulled to the right shoulder of the highway at the Earthquake Point turnout (milepost 118). Anthony Guentzel (26yoa) of Hibbing, Minnesota then refused to exit the vehicle or cooperate with deputies. While resisting the efforts of deputies attempting to take him into custody, Guentzel was tased. At that point, he was handcuffed and eventually transported to the Chelan County Regional Jail for booking on charges of: Theft of a Motor Vehicle; Attempted Eluding of a Pursuing Police Vehicle; Resisting Arrest; and No Valid Operator’s License.

The victim’s dog and purse were located in the Jeep Liberty. The dog is fine and was released the owner.