Darling Uses a Pitchfork During Attack says HCSO

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 4:05 p.m. /  Crime

Humboldt Co. Sheriff’s Dept. Press Release:

On 04-19-2014, at approximately 1:45 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call of a stabbing that occurred in the 400 block of Phillipsville Loop Road, Phillipsville. When deputies arrived on scene they met with the 66 year old male victim, who was bleeding from stab wounds to his arm and scratch marks on his face. The victim declined medical attention.

The victim told the investigating deputy he got into an argument with Paula Sue Darling, 45 years old, whom he had a dating relationship with. During the argument, Darling grabbed an ax and he kicked it out of her hand. Darling then grabbed a nearby pitchfork and started swinging it at the victim, then stabbed at his torso with it. The victim put his arm up to protect himself and she stabbed him in the left forearm.

The victim showed the deputy where the altercation occurred, along with the ax and the pitchfork that was used in the crime.

Deputies checked the area for Darling but could not locate her. A be-on-the–lookout to all area law enforcement was issued for Darling, who is wanted for assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence.

Paula Sue Darling is described as a white, female, 45 years old, 5’5” tall, 145 lbs, strawberry blond hair, blue eyes.

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.

[UPDATED] Breaking News: Reports of a Suicidal Subject Jumping off 101 Bridge South of Benbow

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 2:38 p.m. /  News

Emergency vehicles arrive at the scene just south of Benbow. [Photo provided by Shanda Centeno]

According to scanner traffic, a male subject jumped off a Hwy 101 bridge near Benbow into the Eel River by Fish Creek Canyon Road. Emergency services have arrived to assist.   

UPDATE 3:30 p.m.: According to Lt. Steve Knight of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office, the subject was taken to a hospital.

From past experience, because of privacy concerns on these types of situations, there will be minimal information released.

Accident Near Redcrest Last Night/Passenger Airlifted Out of the Area

Kym Kemp / Yesterday @ 10:14 a.m. /  News

Garberville CHP Press Release:

On April 21, 2014, at approximately 2311 hours, a 2008 GMC Yukon driven by 26 year old Courtney Patterson, of Rio Dell, CA, was traveling northbound on US-101, north of Redcrest.  28 year old Rad Kellar, of Rio Dell, CA, was the right rear passenger and 23 year old Megan Massimo, of Prescott, AZ, was the right front passenger.  For reasons still under investigation, the GMC ran off the east roadway edge of US-101 where it collided with a tree. 

The driver and right rear passenger sustained minor injuries and were not transported.  The right front passenger sustained major injuries and was transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna, where she was to be airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.  The driver and both passengers were determined to have been wearing their seatbelts at the time of the collision and the airbags of the GMC did deploy. 

This collision remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.  Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the cause of this collision.

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the accident as having occurred on the Avenue.

Southern Humboldt Homicide Story Clarified by HCSO

Kym Kemp / Monday, April 21 @ 3:30 p.m. /  Crime

According to Lt. Wayne Hanson of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, somewhere between Wednesday night and Thursday morning of last week, Zachary Jacob Chapman, age 36, is believed to have died as a result of a gunshot wound. His body was dumped in or near the Eel River near Tooby Park and a trailer in the Connick Creek area west of Garberville was set on fire in an attempt to cover up the crime.

Benjamin Jasper Carter, age 33, is a suspect in Chapman’s homicide. His wife, Melinda Elaine Carter, age 41, (see photo right) was arrested at the Brass Rail in Redway on Friday for assisting in the cleanup after the homicide including moving the victim’s vehicle (among other charges. See press release below.)  The vehicle was subsequently found still running beside the road. Another woman was briefly detained but not arrested.

The trailer fire is being investigated for evidence by the Humboldt County Arson Task Force and the California Department of Justice.

A CHP helicopter searched along the Eel River on Saturday attempting to locate the body of Chapman but, according to Hanson, “unfortunately, a citizen found [it]” in the water near the riverbank. The Coroner’s office will do an autopsy later this week.

The Sheriff’s Department received credible information that the GMC pickup used by the suspect Benjamin Carter could be found in the Twin Trees area south of Garberville. On Saturday, they searched a property there but did not locate it. Eventually, the Fortuna Police Department found the truck near School and Boone Streets in Fortuna.

If the suspect, Benjamin Carter (see photo right) is seen, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public to immediately call 911 and stay away as he may be armed and is considered dangerous.  If anyone has information on this homicide they are encouraged to call Investigator Cheryl Franco at 707-268-3644 or the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251.  


 Humboldt County Sheriff’s Dept. Press Release:

On 04-18-2014 at about 10:30pm, Humboldt County Sheriff Office Detectives arrested Melinda Elaine Carter age 41 for conspiracy and accessory to a homicide, auto theft and arson. Melinda Carter was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility in Eureka where her bail was set at $750,000 dollars. Detectives located Melinda Carter in a motel room at the Brass Rail Motel in Redway where they had served a search warrant related to the homicide investigation. Melinda Carter is the wife of the suspect, Benjamin Jasper Carter age 33, who has not been arrested yet in connection of the homicide. 

On 04-19-2014 at about 12:30pm, a citizen dialed 9-1-1 after locating a deceased male body just off Kimtu Road, Garberville. The body was in the water near the river bank. Sheriff’s Office Detectives, who were in the area immediately responded to the scene. Sheriff’s Offices Detectives assisted by the California Department of Justice processed the crime scene. The Humboldt County Coroner Office responded to the scene to take possession of the body. 

The male victim was identified by the Coroner’s Office as Zackery Jacob Chapman age 36 from Redway. Chapman appears to have died from the result of a gunshot wound. An Autopsy is scheduled for later this week. 

On 04-19-2014 the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office along with Humboldt County Arson Task Force and the California Department of Justice processed the homicide scene, which was located on a piece of property off Conic Creek, Garberville. A trailer on the property had been burned down after the homicide in an attempt to conceal evidence where the homicide occurred. 

The Sheriff’s Office is advising the public if they see the suspect Benjamin Jasper Carter to immediately contact law enforcement and do not approach Carter, who is considered armed and dangerous. They are being advised to dial 9-1-1. 

If anyone has information on this homicide they are encouraged to call Investigator Cheryl Franco at 707-268-3644 or the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251.  

Willits Woman Abducted at Gunpoint Escapes/Abductor Shoots Himself When Cornered

Kym Kemp / Sunday, April 20 @ 6:21 p.m. /  News

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Press Release:

On 4/18/14 at about 11:00 AM MCSO personnel were dispatched to the area of Canyon Road, near the old refuse disposal site, regarding a kidnapping.

Upon arrival MCSO personnel contacted an adult female (28 years of age from Willits) who stated that she was at a business located at 19 W Valley (located within the City of Willits) when she was approached by her ex-boyfriend, S-Dameon Ziegler (27 years old from Willits), who was armed with a shotgun. Ziegler pointed the shotgun at her and forced her to leave the business against her will and to provide him a ride to the Little Darby recreational area. When arriving at the recreational area Ziegler forced the female victim to walk down a trail, while holding her at gunpoint. When they approached a small rest spot Ziegler pushed the female victim to the ground and told her that he intended to sexually assault her. He then told her that he intended to kill her and himself. Zeigler then started to pull the pants off of the female, at which time she started to struggle. The female was able to break loose and run away form Ziegler. The female victim told MCSO personnel that she then heard a single shot as she was running away.

MCSO personnel, along with personnel from the Willits Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, conducted a search of the Little Darby Recreational area for Ziegler. During the search, Sheriff’s Office Canine Ruddick was deployed and picked up Zeigler’s scent. Ruddick tracked Zeigler up a hiking trail, leading law enforcement personnel to where Zeigler was hiding. Upon locating Ziegler, law enforcement personnel ordered him to surrender. Zeigler turned his shotgun onto himself and fired a single round. Ziegler was pronounced dead at the scene due to the self inflicted gunshot wound.

The Kidnapping and Sexual Assault are currently being investigated by the Willits Police Department. Willits Police Department should be contacted if further details regarding the crime and investigation are desired.

Body Reportedly Found West of Garberville

Kym Kemp / Saturday, April 19 @ 6:45 p.m. /  News

After receiving a report that a body had been found on the river bar, the California Highway Patrol and the Humboldt Co. Sheriff’s Office showed up at Tooby Park this afternoon. [Photo by Renae Rowton-Wade.]

Breaking News: Around 12:35 p.m. today, scanner traffic shows that law enforcement received a report of a body found in the Kimtu/Tooby Park area west of Garberville down by the Eel River. 

At this time we cannot confirm whether the body is related to the homicide suspect, Benjamin Carter, being sought in Southern Humboldt yesterday and today. We can say that the location of the body reportedly found early this afternoon is within a relatively short distance of the scene of the trailer fire.

Connick Creek, where the fire was located,  is approximately a mile from Tooby Park. The Arson Task Force, the Department of Justice, the District Attorney Investigator’s Office, the California Highway Patrol and the Sheriff’s Office are all working on that Connick Creek fire case today.

LoCO has been unable to reach the Sheriff’s Office to gather more information about this situation. We’ll update as soon as possible.

An area of Tooby Park was being used for a community Easter egg hunt at the time the body was reported found.


(UPDATE) Wanted for Questioning in Homicide: Benjamin Carter

Kym Kemp / Saturday, April 19 @ 9:11 a.m. /  Crime

UPDATE, 11:45 a.m.: The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office press release: 

On 04/18/2014 the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received information regarding a possible homicide involving a firearm that occurred in the Southern Humboldt area. The Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating this allegation with the assistance from the District Attorney Investigator’s Office, Department of Justice (DOJ), Arson Task Force, and the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

Benjamin Jasper Carter is wanted for questioning in association to this investigation. Carter is described to be a white male, age 33, 6’3”, 180 lbs, brown hair, and blue eyes. Carter’s head may be shaved bald and he may have a goatee and mustache. Carter has multiple tattoos on his chest, back, arms, legs, and neck. Carter is associated with a black GMC truck, CA license 6R68046. The truck has a blue tailgate with an Oakland Raiders design and front end damage. Carter is believed to be armed and dangerous. If seen, do not approach and contact law enforcement.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s 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.

# # #

ORIGINAL POST: According to a spokesperson from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, there has been a woman arrested in connection with a homicide that occurred in the Connick Creek area west of Garberville. A man, Benjamin Jasper Carter, age 33, is sought for questioning in regards to the crime.

The Department of Justice and the Arson Task Force are responding this morning to the scene of a trailer fire associated with the homicide of a male victim.

Carter has brown hair (when not shaved,) blue eyes and numerous tattoos. Carter has cursive words on both sides of his neck, skulls and the word “lover” on his abdomen, and on his chest, he has the phrases “Humboldt Breed 707” and “Real Bad Boy, Real Good Man,”  along with other inked designs.  His last known vehicle was a ‘98 black GMC License plate 6R68046. The truck has a blue tail gate with an Oakland Raider design and front end damage. 

Carter is believed to be in possession of a sawed off shotgun and an AR15 style rifle. 

Anyone with information about the crime or of the whereabouts of Carter is asked to contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445 7251.

(Benjamin Carter, photo taken from his Facebook profile.)


Note: an earlier version gave the wrong license plate number.