Suspect in Rancho Sequoia Homicide in Custody

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 9:03 a.m. /  Crime

Lt. Steve Knight of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that Matthew Aaron Brown suspect in Friday’s shooting in Rancho Sequoia and in last night’s shooting has been taken into custody.

Brown has been named as a suspect in the death of Neil Decker late Friday night.

Last night, scanner activity indicated that there had been more shootings in the Rancho Sequoia subdivision. Knight declined to give details about how Brown was involved in last night’s shooting but promised a press release later today.

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UPDATE. 10:17 a.m.: As promised, HCSO press release follows:

On 07-21-2014, at approximately 9:49 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a resident in the Rancho Sequoia area of Humboldt County who reported there had been a shooting and someone was shot. Two Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were in the Rancho Sequoia area at the time, looking for murder suspect Matthew Aaron Brown, 30 years old, who was wanted for the 07-18-2014 shooting homicide of Neil Decker, age 49. The deputies heard several shots at the same time the citizen reported the shots, and were on scene within minutes. The deputies were informed by the citizen that murder suspect Matthew Brown was in the area where the shots had been fired. The deputies were also informed that local residents had gone looking for Brown, and that one of the residents was believed to be shot and had major injuries. Medical personnel were called to the scene, along with additional law enforcement from the California Highway Patrol and Fortuna Police department. Medical personnel staged in the area awaiting law enforcement personnel to secure the scene for their safety.

The deputies located a deceased person in the roadway.  Due to an armed murder suspect being in the area, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team was called to the scene.

The SWAT team arrived at approximately 5:00 a.m., 07-22-2014, and located murder suspect Matthew Arron Brown at approximately 6:00 a.m. Brown was arrested and is currently enroute to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.  Humboldt County Sheriff’s Detectives are being assisted by Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office Investigators, Eureka Police Detectives and California Department of Justice .

A Humboldt County Superior Court Search Warrant has been obtained and investigators have begun searching the property.  The area is still an active crime scene and it is unknown if there are any other victims.

Additional information will be released as it becomes available; investigators are still in the process of determining what happened. This is the fourth homicide in the Rancho Sequoia area in the last 24 months.

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



(UPDATING) Another Shooting in Rancho Sequoia Area

Andrew Goff / Monday, July 21 @ 11:20 p.m. /

UPDATE, 7/22: The following is ten minutes of condensed scanner audio that began at about 12:15 a.m. Note that “1144” is the code for “deceased person.”


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Original post: Late Monday night scanner traffic indicates another shooting in the Rancho Sequoia area about 10 miles east of Garberville.

The edited audio below begins at around 9:51 p.m. with a dispatcher reporting two possible gunshot victims and a suspect outstanding. Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies respond to the area and speak to a man who leads them to a vehicle thought to have been occupied by a victim. The vehicle contained large amounts of blood. Deputies continue to search for one of the victims.

We’ll update as we know more.




Two Makes It True? ‘Creepy’ Orange Lights Seen From the Samoa Peninsula

Kym Kemp / Monday, July 21 @ 5:43 p.m. / Two Makes it True

Two Makes It True, right? For this oddball category LoCO has to have two reports and, by George, we have a doozy.

Two people reported seeing orange lights in the skies over the Samoa peninsula last night around 9:30 p.m. The two, unknown to each other, reported the same sight from different places on the peninsula.

The first person wrote to LoCO that she saw “[s]everal slow moving orange lights. Too slow to be planes or meteors, etc.”

The second person wrote about the situation on her Facebook page. (This was noted by this reporter who reached out to question her) She later described the event this way— “The objects came low like [they took] off from the south Jetty area.”  She said there were “two sets of six or so about ten minutes apart. Saw the first two & immediately thought what the [hell] is that… then more sometimes forming triangular patterns before disappearing into high altitude.”

She went on to write, “The take off point had to be close by. [T]hey were low & bright at first… My only rationale was they took off from a ship @ sea or the coast guard station. I’m used to choppers & planes but this looked very different. Called my family out in the yard to watch the second set.. it was wierd. I’m not a ufo enthusiasts or anything, but [it] creeped me out…  

So, Humboldt, any ideas on what these orange lights could be?

Sanchez Escapee Captured/ Three Others Arrested

Kym Kemp / Monday, July 21 @ 2:57 p.m. /  Crime

Ronald Sanchez.

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Press Release:

On 07-19-2014, at approximately 9:15 a.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call regarding three suspects observed trying to break into a neighbor’s cabin in the Burr Valley area. The citizen told the dispatcher there were two males and a female involved, and they were in a black BMW. The citizen believed one of the suspects may be Ronald Snider Sanchez, 26 years old, who was wanted on an escape from custody charge, and violation of parole. Sheriff’s dispatch ran a DMV registration check and determined the black BMW was registered to Sanchez.

As the deputies were responding, the citizens in the area began calling neighbors and alerting them as to what was occurring. Another citizen called 911, and reported he heard the suspects may have been at his cabin trying to break in. At approximately 10:30 a.m., the Sheriff’s Office received a third 911 call, with the caller advising a citizen had the suspects’ black 2001 BMW blocked in with vehicles and stopped. A neighbor was now holding the suspects at gunpoint.

Deputies responded and met with the citizens at approximately 12:00 noon. When the deputies interviewed the witnesses, they told the deputies they had been warned by other neighbors about a black BMW driving in the area acting suspicious. When a 48 year old female witness saw the BMW near the Four Corners area of Burr Valley Road, she watched it. She saw the BMW drive to her neighbor’s cabin which was not occupied. She watched the two male occupants of the BMW, one being Sanchez, exit the BMW, cover their heads with Hoodies and walk towards the cabin. When they saw she was watching them from a hill top nearby, they immediately left the area. As they were driving down Buck Mountain Road, she called the Sheriff’s Office and notified other neighbors, including the unoccupied cabin owner who resides in McKinleyville. She followed the BMW until she and another neighbor met up with it in the roadway and blocked it in with their cars. The other neighbor, a 30 year old male, then brandished a firearm at the suspects and told them he was holding them until law enforcement arrived.

The citizens told the deputy one of the suspects fled after being held at gunpoint for about twenty minutes. The suspect who fled told the citizen with the gun, he was Ronald Sanchez, and was wanted by law enforcement. He told the citizen would have to shoot him in the back if he was going to hold him any longer, because Sanchez did not want to return to jail. Sanchez ran off on foot.

Deputies determined the cabin the suspects approached was not broken into; however the same cabin had been burglarized in the recent past. The cabin owner showed up at the scene and told the deputies he wanted to pursue trespassing charges against the two suspects that were detained by his neighbors. Deputies arrested Mallory Tatum Lagace, 27 years old and Damen Rey Carlson, 19 years old, both from Eureka. They were both transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where they were booked and released on their own recognizance.

Mallory Tatum Lagace

 Damen Rey Carlson

Deputies checked the area for Sanchez, but could not locate him.

On 07-21-2014, at approximately 11:30 a.m., the United States Marshals Service , California Department of Corrections and Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies located and arrested Ronald Sanchez at 2505 Garland Street, Eureka. He was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked on arrest warrants. He is being held without bail.

On 07-21-2014, at approximately 1:45 p.m., the United States Marshals Service, California Department of Corrections and Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies drove to the 3300 block of E Street, Eureka and arrested Ronald Sanchez, Sr. 55 years old, on an outstanding arrest warrant for brandishing a weapon and terrorist threats. He was booked into the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $30,000.00.

Ronald Sanchez, Sr.

Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

[Victim Named] Suspect Named in Friday’s Homicide/ Extra Deputies Assigned to Southern Humboldt Today

Kym Kemp / Monday, July 21 @ 9:42 a.m. /  Crime

UPDATE 1:33 p.m.: Humboldt Co. Sheriff’s Office Press Release:

The victim in the homicide has been identified as Neil Eugene Decker age 49 from Alderpoint. The suspect has been identified as Matthew Aaron Brown age 30. Brown is described as a white, male adult, 5’-11” in height, weight 200 pounds, with a shaved head and blue eyes. 

The homicide occurred in the 2000 block of Rancho Sequoia near Alderpoint. The victim and suspect were acquainted with each other. They got into a verbal argument over personal property on Friday night before the shooting. Shortly after the argument the suspect shot the victim in the chest with a shotgun. The suspect then fled the area on a green motorcycle. 

The Sheriff’s Office has issued an alert to other local law enforcement agencies to arrest Brown for homicide. The Sheriff’s Office considers Brown to be armed and dangerous. The Sheriff’s Office is advising the public is they see Matthew Brown to call 9-1-1 and do not approach him. 

This homicide is the third homicide in the Rancho Sequoia area of Alderpoint in the last 24 months. 

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


UPDATE 1:40 p.m.: Lt. Wayne Hanson of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that Matthew Aaron Brown age 30 is a suspect in Friday’s homicide. The shooting which took place in the Rancho Sequoia area of Southern Humboldt is the third in two years for the small area. 

According to Hanson, Matthew Aaron Brown is a white male born in 1984 (approximately 30 years old.) He is 5’ 11” and weighs approximately 200 pounds. He has blue eyes and blond hair (currently very short—see photo right.) He has tattoos on his neck, arm and leg. As well as a swastika on his chest.

The suspect is considered armed and dangerous. “Don’t approach if you see him,” Hanson warned. “Dial 911… There will be extra deputies assigned to Southern Humboldt today.”

According to Hanson, the victim and the suspect in Friday’s homicide argued over property. The suspect allegedly shot the victim in front of witnesses around 10:50 p.m.

Two Humboldt County Sheriff’s officers were dispatched which, according to Hanson, was half the force currently on duty (see more about this below.) The Mendocino Sheriff assisted in the response sending two cars—one with a sergeant and one with two deputies. The officers were close because of the Northern Lights Festival in the Piercy area. The California Highway Patrol also responded. Department of Justice evidence people were out early Saturday morning collecting evidence. The Coroner’s Office took possession of the body.

Hanson said a double unit was sent from Eureka Code 3. “We only had four deputies on for the whole county.” Hanson went on to explain that fully staffed, they would have 93 positions this includes sheriff and lieutenants, under-sheriffs, bailiffs, and detectives, etc. He explained, “We have 13 frozen positions and 6 people out due to injuries so we are down 20% of our force.”

Hanson said that in the past they would cover the situation with overtime but, he said, “Our overtime budget was cut. It is a bad state of affairs. We are not happy about our staffing levels. It puts our officers, their morale, [and] citizen’s safety at risk.

A press release with more information should be out later today. 

Note: an early addition included the 100 correctional officers.

Road Work in Southern Humboldt Today

Kym Kemp / Monday, July 21 @ 6:27 a.m. /  News

Marty Messenger of Humboldt County Roads announced today

…Humboldt County Roads is repairing Briceland-Thorne Rd. 1/4 mile west of Seely Creek. We will start @ 9:30am & hopefully be finished by noon.

We are then going to Alderpoint Rd. 1/2 mile west of Toby Ranch Rd. There will be controlled traffic, expect minor delays.

Resident Dies in Arcata Fire [Photos of the Fire Added]

Kym Kemp / Sunday, July 20 @ 4:56 p.m. /  Fire!

Smoke rises from site of tragic fire on West End Road. [Photo from Arcata Fire]

Arcata Fire Protection District Press Release:

Arcata Fire Protection District personnel responded to the 9000 block of West End Road, this morning at 11:54 am after receiving a report of a vehicle on fire in the garage of a residence with an occupant trapped. The first arriving engine reported a well involved structure with heavy smoke and fire in the rear of the residence. The firefighters of the first arriving engine made entry through the front door and began an aggressive search of the interior for the unaccounted for occupant. Due to heavy smoke and fire the search team was forced out of the building. At that time, Battalion Chief; Dave White ordered a defensive attack from the exterior of the building to knock down the fire. After about 45 minutes to an hour the fire was knocked down and the fire crews resumed their search for the resident who they were sadly unable to rescue. Chief White explains, “We had issues with knocking down the fire due to lack of water, there are no hydrants in this area and we had to shuttle water tenders from other agencies.”

Arcata Fire Protection District had a total of three engines, 1 water tender, 1 rescue unit, and 1 Battalion Chief on scene. Other agencies that assisted were Blue Lake Volunteer Fire District with 1 engine, 1 water tender, and 1 Company Officer, Fieldbrook Volunteer Fire District with 1 water tender and 1 engine. Humboldt Bay Fire with 1 engine and 1 Battalion Chief, Samoa Volunteer Fire District with 1 Engine, and Cal Fire who provided a hand crew to assist with overhaul and vegetation. The California Highway Patrol and the Humboldt County Coroner’s office assisted with logistics.

Damage to contents and the structure are estimated at about $300,000 to $400,000.

Fire Prevention Specialist Jenny Williamson reports, “This is a tragic incident that resulted in a loss of a life. We hope others will reflect on this incident and review their own fire safety measures to ensure that they protect their families and homes. Make sure your smoke alarms work, you have a fire escape plan with a meeting place and you practice fire safety throughout the year. If you want information on things to do to make sure your home is fire safe please contact your local fire department.”


For more information about the Arcata Fire Protection District visit or follow us on

Photos of the incident provided courtesy of Amy Long, Arcata Fire Protection District Photographer: