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.

Law Enforcement Looking for Homicide Suspect in Southern Humboldt

Kym Kemp / Friday, April 18 @ 10:37 p.m. /  News

Multiple law enforcement officers at the Brass Rail Inn. [Photos provided by Satchmo Louie.]

Law enforcement is looking for a homicide suspect in Southern Humboldt tonight. They have been at the Brass Rail in Redway and possibly other places in the area, too. According to Melanie Bobo, manager of the Brass Rail in Redway, around 7:30 p.m. multiple law enforcement vehicles (belonging to both CHP and Humboldt County Sheriff’s officers) came to her business. “They had eight cops and all their guns drawn on room 1,” she said.

Bobo says that law enforcement was looking for a guest, a woman, who was staying in that room. “They said it wasn’t a drug charge, ” Bobo said. She added, “They said it wasn’t a drug charge, but what they did say [was it] was something awful,”  

Two women came out of the room with their hands up. They cuffed them and put the women in separate cars. They searched the vehicle, put it on a tow truck and drove it out of there.

Scanner traffic indicates that they are still looking for a “187” suspect which is police code for homicide.

LoCo has calls into both the Humboldt Co. Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol. When we get more details, we’ll update.

UPDATE 7:11 a.m.:

We’ve updated with a photo from last night showing law enforcement with guns trained on the room where the two women were located.

Whooping Cough Confirmed in Employee of SHUSD

Kym Kemp / Friday, April 18 @ 9:48 p.m. /  News

Southern Humboldt Unified School District (SHUSD) has sent a letter and a call out to parents today letting them know that one of their employees has a confirmed case of whooping cough. The letter states,

Today we were informed that we have a confirmed case of Pertussis, better known as Whooping cough in an employee.  Please if you or your student shows any signs of whooping cough please go to the doctor. Do not send your student to school if you suspect them having whooping cough.  Redway & Garberville clinics have the vaccine in stock in case anyone you know needs a booster.

If you have any questions please contact your school site, thank you.

According to Bambi Henderson, an employee of the District, “This afternoon the employee called and let us know.”  A message was recorded and sent via an All Call to the parents. 

Whooping cough or Pertussis is a upper respiratory infection caused by bacteria. Bouts of coughing can be followed by a “whooping” intake of air. Sometimes the coughing is so severe it can lead to vomiting. Sometimes cases can last as long as 10 weeks.

The bacteria is spread from contact with the mucus of the infected person. It can take up to three weeks after exposure for a person to begin to show symptoms.  According to a information sheet the district sent out, to limit the spread of pertussis, it is recommended that people check with their doctor to make sure their vaccinations are up-to-date. 

Below is the information provided by the District:


A Time for Stories: A More Intimate Memorial For Tim Olsen

Kym Kemp / Thursday, April 17 @ 9:39 a.m. /  Community

SoHum community, it’s a time for telling stories about Tim Olsen. Last Sunday, Briceland Fire Chief Tim Olsen received a formal sendoff—dignitaries from across the county spoke. But now, the family and friends of Tim need your stories. When a loved one has left, one of the few comforts is the warm memories that others share with each other.

Tim Olsen’s grandsons with mementos given to them by the Briceland Fire Department at his formal memorial service.

So in a Southern Humboldt style gathering at Beginnings on Saturday, April 19, all are invited to come share in the stories, the laughter (We’re talking Tim, right? There’s going to be laughter) and the love. Be part of creating a beautiful tribute by telling your tales of this father, husband, neighbor, friend, and all round good guy.

Tim will make an appearance via video. There will be a potluck lunch at 1 p.m. with the memorial circle at 2:30-5 p.m.. Afterwards, there will be a paddle out at the cove. 

Tim’s kids want to hear his stories. Come tell the tales to them and to each other. Make the memories last longer by sharing them with all who loved him.


Keep abreast of details here.

FPD with K9 Searches through Roof ‘Tunnels’ to Locate Alleged Thieves

Kym Kemp / Thursday, April 17 @ 8:57 a.m. /  Crime









Fortuna Police Department Press Release:

On April 17, 2014 at about 3:55 AM, officers responded to the Strongs Creek Plaza Shopping Center (Fortuna Blvd / Strong Creek Dr) for a report of subjects possibly on the roof.

Upon arrival, officers located several items of stolen property behind the shopping center and then observed a female subject attempting to get off of the roof. When the subject saw officer, she refused to obey the officers and fled across the roof to an unknown location.

Officers secured a perimeter with the assistance of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department and Ferndale Police Department. Once a perimeter was established, three officers made access to the roof and began looking for the subject.

Officers and the Fortuna Police Department K-9 unit began searching the roof and overhangs of the shopping center which had extensive tunneling throughout. After more than an hour of searching, officers located two subjects who had made entry into a secured portion of the roof (above Starbucks Drive-Thru).

Christopher Crowl (Age 35 of Fortuna) and Joyce Mullins (Age 48 of Fortuna) were taken into custody without further incident.

With the assistance of the Fortuna Fire Department’s Arial Ladder Truck, officers were able to remove both subjects from the roof.

Crowl and Mullins were both transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility and booked on the following charges:

Penal Code Section 459 (Burglary)Penal Code Section 602 (Trespassing)
Penal Code Section 148(a) (Resisting Arrest)Penal Code Section 1203.2 (Violation of Probation)

Crowl has an extensive arrest history and has been arrested and booked into jail several times by the Fortuna Police Department this year and had been released from the jail less the 24 hours prior to this incident