Linn County Sheriff's Office
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News Releases
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Eclipse Reminder (Photo) - 08/17/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley would like to remind Linn County residents to be prepared for the Eclipse that will occur this Monday, August 21. Our County is expecting thousands of visitors from all over the world to view the eclipse; campgrounds and hotels have been booked for months.

Although the eclipse does not occur until Monday, the influx of visitors is expected to impact our area throughout the weekend starting on Friday, August 18. Linn County could see traffic congestion to the point of gridlock on many of the major roads.

Sheriff Riley cautions residents to take some proactive measures to minimize the impact. Use common sense. Do not travel over the weekend and especially Monday if you do not have to. If it is necessary, allow yourself plenty of extra time to get to your destination.

Remember deputies and other first responders may also have trouble traveling to calls for service due to roadway congestion. Linn County Sheriff's Office will make efforts to respond to every call for service from the public; however, there may be some delays in response time. Sheriff Riley asks for the public's patience while his Office works hard to maintain public safety throughout the county.

Lastly, you may have heard some eclipse glasses are counterfeit, please be assured if you received a pair from our office, they are approved and safe to use for viewing.

Attached Media Files: Glasses.jpg
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brother and sister being rescued off of three-fingered jack area. (Photo) - 08/14/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports his deputies are attempting a rescue of two hikers from the Three Fingered Jack area.

On Sunday August 13, 2017, at 4:57 p.m., Linn County Sheriff's Office dispatch received a 9-1-1 call from two climbers saying they lost their way in the fog and was stuck on a rock face, unable to get out on their own. The two climbers were identified as 21 year-old Mikayla Jean Duvenik of Sisters, and her brother, 25 year-old Charles "Justin" Duvenik of Ashland.
Mikayla and Justin, both experienced climbers, were summiting Three Fingered Jack, when conditions became foggy. They got disoriented and became stuck on a rock face, unable to descend on their own any further. Visibility was near zero.

The two were able to get cell service at their location which allowed them to call for help. As Linn County Search and Rescue members responded, deputies were able to contact the two hikers several times by phone through the night. The hikers were cold and concerned about hypothermia. With the assistance of the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, the deputies were able to pinpoint their location through their cell phone.

At 11:26 p.m., Search and Rescue teams located the climbers flashing light. At 1:25 a.m. this morning, Corvallis Mountain Rescue was able to make contact with the hikers and worked on getting blankets, food and water into them.

Linn County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue coordinated with the Oregon Army National Guard to air lift Mikayla off the mountain, as she may have sustained an injury to her shoulder. She was evaluated by medics and was not transported to the hospital. Search and rescue teams are currently guiding Justin, who is uninjured, out on foot and should be out of the area in a few hours.

Linn County Sheriff's Office would like to thank Corvallis Mountain Rescue, Eugene Mountain Rescue, the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and the Oregon Army National Guard, Sister Fire Department and Deschutes County Mounted Posse for their assistance in rescuing Mikayla Duvenik and her brother, Justin Duvenik.

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Additional Help In Search - 08/12/17

We failed to list a critical partner in our first press release. The Marion County Sheriff's Office played a vital role in our Incident Command. We would be remiss if we did not include them and thank them for their help.

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Missing Person Found (Photo) - 08/12/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley is pleased to report that after four days of extensive and exhaustive searching, Jerry Thomas has been found alive and well. He was found by ground crews this morning at approximately 8:55 a.m., near Daly Lake which is about three miles from the Parish Lake Trail head.

Thomas was wet and hungry but overall, in good spirits and health. Upon taking a hot shower and being reunited with his wife, who is a registered nurse, Thomas declined medical treatment.

Sheriff Riley would like to personally thank his staff, all volunteers and the listed agencies who helped in this search. Riley said, "This is a testament to the teamwork, dedication and tenacity of all involved. Being part of a life-saving mission such as this, is one of the most satisfying rewards we can experience in law enforcement. The successful outcome of this search would not have been possible if not for the services and dedication of numerous volunteers and agencies."

Today's searching alone included over 80 SAR members from numerous agencies.

The following is a list of all the agencies who assisted in the search; Linn, Marion, Lane, Jefferson, Deschutes, Benton, Yamhill, Polk, Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington County Sheriff's Offices; Linn County Sheriff's Office Mounted Posse, Oregon Army National Guard, Corvallis Mountain Rescue, Mt. Jefferson Snowmobile Club, Pacific NW Search and Rescue, Linn County Amateur Radio Emergency Services, North Oregon Regional Search and Rescue, and the Sweet Home District of the USFS. Also, the Washoe County Sheriff's Office of Nevada flew in an expert in man-tracking to the scene.

Sheriff Riley would like to give a special thanks to all the Oregon Sheriffs who volunteered their staff and assets to assist in the search. Riley said, "In time of need, fellow Sheriff's ban together and Linn County citizens should be proud and appreciative of all their dedicated support."

The family has requested no media contact at this time.

Linn Detectives Investigate Death Of Baby - 08/11/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports that his detectives, in conjunction with investigators from the Sweet Home Police Department, are currently investigating the suspicious death of a 10-month-old girl from the Sweet Home area.

The death occurred at 8:45 this morning, at Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland. More information will be available after detectives finish conducting interviews. An autopsy is scheduled for this weekend.

At this time, names of all parties involved are being withheld pending further investigation.

Update: Missing Person - 08/11/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports his office is continuing their search for Jerry Walter Thomas, of Prineville. Thomas was reported missing on August 9, 2017, in the Parish lake area.

Yesterday, over 30 searchers to include ground, ATV, Posse, K-9 and air assets, scoured the area of point last seen.

Today, approximately 45 searchers will continue their efforts and expand the search area, as well as the Oregon National Guard with their Lakota helicopter. At the time of this release no clues or evidence has been found. Searchers are faced with thick, dense brush covering all their search areas.

Linn County SAR have been assisted by the Lane, Jefferson, Benton, and Deschutes County Sheriff's Offices, Corvallis Mountain Rescue and the Oregon Army National Guard.

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Linn County Deputies Investigate Fatal Crash in Scio (Photo) - 08/11/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports his deputies investigated a single vehicle, fatal motor vehicle crash that occurred yesterday at 4:31 p.m. The crash occurred on Stayton Scio Road near the intersection of Brock Drive, approximately 1.5 miles northwest from Scio.

The driver of the 1990 Chevrolet pickup, who was identified as Taylor Michael Whitney-Leigh, 26, of Albany, died at the scene. The two passengers were identified as Ernesto Jazmin, 37, from Corvallis, was transported to Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis with serious injuries. The second passenger and nephew to Jazmin, is Benjamin Jazmin, 18, from Corvallis, was transported with significant injuries to the Albany General Hospital.

The investigation reveals Whitney-Leigh was traveling south on Stayton-Scio Road. The Chevrolet pickup was towing a dual axle trailer filled with miscellaneous concrete and construction debris. As he crested the hill there were several vehicles traveling at approximately five miles per hour, according to witnesses, due to a combine on the roadway. The combine was not involved in the crash.

Whitney-Leigh took evasive action to avoid colliding with the vehicle in front of him. The pickup went into a skid and went off of the roadway on the west side of Stayton-Scio Road rolling down the embankment, striking a tree and coming to rest on its side.

Detective Lovik and Deputy Bebeau happened to come upon the crash moments after it happened. As they approached the vehicle to render aid, the vehicle caught on fire. Detective Lovik used a fire extinguisher to keep the flames at bay while Deputy Bebeau pulled Benjamin Jazmin from the burning vehicle. Scio Fire Department personnel arrived on scene and took over efforts to extract the remaining occupants.

Linn County Deputies were assisted by members of the Stayton, Jefferson, Scio, and Albany Fire Departments. In addition the Linn County Multi-Agency Investigation Team members from the Linn County Sheriff's Office and Lebanon Police Department responded to assist with the processing of the scene.

The investigation is continuing as to the cause of the crash.

Attached Media Files: scio.fatal.JPG
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Update and Photo of Missing Person (Photo) - 08/10/17

Attached is a photo of our missing person.

Only update we have at this time is the Oregon Army National Guard is now on scene with a Lakota helicopter assisting in the search.

Updates will follow as the search continues.

Attached Media Files: thomas.jpg
Missing Man in the Parish Lake Area - 08/10/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports his Search and Rescue Team is actively searching for a 70-year-old male in the Parish Lake area.

On August 9, 2017, at 5:20 p.m., the Linn County Sheriff's Office 911 Center received a call reporting that Jerry Walter Thomas of Prineville, Oregon, was discovered missing by his friends while picking huckleberries approximately 1/4 of a mile from camp. The caller reported they had been searching for him since approximately 1:30 p.m.

Members of Linn County Search and Rescue immediately responded with a hasty team of 15 personnel and began searching, which continued throughout the night.

The search is currently continuing with additional resources from Benton County; with ground personnel, ATVs, and K-9 units. We are in the process of potentially getting air support to assist with the search.

Linn County Deputies are Investigating a Man Shot in Mill City - 08/09/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports that his deputies are investigating a shooting that occurred early this morning in the Mill City area.

An unidentified male arrived at Santiam Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg that he claimed happened somewhere in Mill City near the Circle K store. At 03:50 a.m. hospital staff notified the Linn County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies learned that the victim was dropped off by someone driving a late model dark blue Chevrolet Colorado pick-up. Detectives are looking for the driver of this vehicle as a potential witness.

Although the male victim was conscious and able to talk he is not cooperating with the investigation and refuses to give his identity.

At this time there is no reason to think the public is in any danger.

Detectives and deputies are actively working the case. If you have any information about the victim, the listed vehicle or this case please contact Detective John Lovik at (541) 967-3950.

Man Shot in Mill City Update - 08/09/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports deputies have identified the man involved in an early morning shooting as Karl Wayne Wise Jr., 40, of Grants Pass, Oregon.

Wise Jr. is being treated at the Santiam Memorial Hospital in Stayton, and is listed in stable condition with a possible self-inflicted, accidental gunshot wound to his leg.

Although Wise Jr. is currently in the hospital, he has been placed under arrest for two outstanding warrants; a state-wide Fail To Appear warrant for weapons charges out of Josephine County and a Parole Violation, issued by the State Parole Board.

Deputies are continuing their investigation and possible witnesses have been interviewed.

Linn County Deputies are Investigating a Man Shot in Mill City - 08/09/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports that his deputies are investigating a shooting that occurred early this morning in the Mill City area.

An unidentified male arrived at Santiam Memorial Hospital with a gunshot wound to the leg that he claimed happened somewhere in Mill City near the Circle K store. At 03:50 a.m. hospital staff notified the Linn County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies learned that the victim was dropped off by someone driving a late model dark blue Chevrolet Colorado pick-up. Detectives are looking for the driver of this vehicle as a potential witness.

Although the male victim was conscious and able to talk he is not cooperating with the investigation and refuses to give his identity.

At this time there is no reason to think the public is in any danger.

Detectives and deputies are actively working the case. If you have any information about the victim, the listed vehicle or this case please contact Detective John Lovik at (541) 967-3950.

Sheriff's Office Assists With Road Security and Evacuations - 08/03/17

Linn County Undersheriff Jim Yon reports, starting tomorrow morning August 4th, his deputies will be responding to assist the U.S. Forest Service with road closures and evacuations for the Whitewater Fire located outside of Marion Forks off of Highway 22. The fire has has grown significantly today and has spread into Linn County.

The Linn County Search and Rescue Team will start evacuating hikers and campers that may not be aware of the closure. Additionally, Linn County Deputies will be assisting with road closures in the area.

Road closures will include any roads off of Highway 22 from Whitewater Road to Marion Lakes Road. All of the trails in this area are closed as well. Undersheriff Yon would like to request that the public stay out of these areas for their own safety. The Linn County Sheriff's Office is committed to keeping the public safe.

The following road and trail closures are currently in effect:
* Whitewater Trail #3429 is closed from its origin to the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail #2000.
* Cheat Creek Trail #3441 is closed from its origin to the junction with the Triangulation Trail #3373.
* Triangulation Trail #3373 is closed from its junction with trail #3374 (near Triangulation Peak) to the terminus at Whitewater Trail #3429.
* Crag Trail #3364 from its origin to the terminus at the Triangulation Trail #3373.
* Pacific Crest Trail (#2000) North of Woodpecker Trail (#3442) to Breitenbush Lake.
* South Breitenbush Trail (#3375) East of Bear Point Trail (#3342) up to the PCT (#2000).
* Forest Service Road 2243, Whitewater Rd. (at Highway 22) is closed to avoid conflicts with fire traffic.

Quick Facts Incident Summary:

Approximate Size: 4,579 acres
Fire Containment: 0%

Incident Commander: Eric Knerr
Resources on the fire: Crews: 3 Helicopters: 5
Engines: 1 Water Tenders: 3 Dozers:6

Total Personnel: 202
Jurisdiction: Willamette National Forest

Recreation Closures:
https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5420//

Willamette National Forest Facebook Page

http://go.usa.gov/xRnz7

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Linn County Sheriff's Office National Night Out 2017 (Photo) - 08/02/17

Linn County Undersheriff Jim Yon reports he and his staff attended thirteen National Night Out events throughout rural Linn County last night. All the events were a huge success, with approximately 812 attendees county wide, which far surpasses the attendance of 600 last year. This year's National Night Out included seven city wide events in Gates, Mill City, Lyons, Scio, Crabtree, Harrisburg, and Millersburg. There were several other community events in Shedd, Lacomb and rural areas of Albany and Lebanon.

Organizers use this event to provide neighbors with a chance to get to know one another. As a result, Neighborhood Watch groups are formed and they work together toward reducing crime, while helping people feel safe in and around their communities. There was a lot of discussion among the groups about future events, such as the eclipse and our planning for it. The events were well organized with food, games and prizes. It gave one a sense of community at a time when people are so busy with their own lives.

Undersheriff Jim Yon said "I would like to thank everyone who attended this year's National Night Out. You made this a huge success".

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Linn County SAR Rescues One and Locates Another Over the Weekend - 07/31/17

Linn County Undersheriff Jim Yon reports on Saturday, July 29, his deputies responded to a rescue at Tamolitch Falls(Blue Pool), off of Highway 126, near Trail Bridge.

Mikala Marquis, 19, of Eugene, lost her footing while hiking along a trail above Blue Pool and tumbled approximately eighty feet down a steep embankment through brush. She sustained non-life threatening injuries and was transported to Riverbend Hospital in Eugene.

Personnel from Upper McKenzie River Fire Department, Sweet Home Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service, Lane County Search and Rescue, Eugene Mountain Rescue, Corvallis Mountain Rescue, Springfield Fire Rescue, Oregon State Police and the Linn County Search and Rescue assisted with the rescue.

Calls for service have increased dramatically this year at Blue Pool. We would like to remind anyone hiking at Blue Pool to use extreme caution when hiking. Please do not jump from the rocks into the water. We have had several serious injuries already this year from people attempting to jump into the water.

The Sheriff's Office also responded to Clear Lake Resort on Highway 126, for a missing person in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 30. Nallely Orozco-Mendoza, 19, of Pasco, Washington, went missing from her lakeside cabin.

Orozco-Mendoza and her boyfriend had an argument the previous evening and she walked into the woods to cool down. After walking an unknown distance into the woods, she determined it was too dark to attempt to find her way back to the cabin.

In the meantime, several deputies and three Linn County Search and Rescue team members responded to the area and began to search for her. After spending the night in the woods, Orozco-Mendoza came back to camp at daylight.

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Plane Lands on Foster Reservoir and Overturns When Occupants Exit (Photo) - 07/25/17

UPDATE******

Linn County Undersheriff Jim Yon reports after further investigation his deputies learned the plane, 1960 Champion fixed wing, was operated by John Andrew McKinney, 57 of Lebanon. McKinney had the pontoon style airplane on the water and was pulling a juvenile female on a tube. Cindy Marie Blondin Witherington, 57 of Sweet Home, was a passenger in the plane.

The plane was moving at a slow speed and was heading to Shae Point to empty water out of the pontoons. The juvenile fell off the tube and McKinney circled around to pick her up. At this point, one of the pontoons filled with water and the plane rolled completely over. No one was injured.

The FAA is not responding to do an investigation as they consider it a boat when it is on the water. The Oregon State Marine Board was contacted along with the Army Corps of Engineers. The Sheriff's Office was initially assisted by the Sweet Home Police and Fire Departments. The airplane has been removed from the water. This investigation is continuing.

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Linn County Undersheriff Jim Yon reports at 3:20 p.m., his office received a 9-1-1 call reporting a plane that went down into Foster Reservoir. The caller was able to get the occupants out of the water onto their boat and safely to the shore.

When deputies responded, they learned that the plane has pontoon type landing gear and had intentionally landed on the lake, not crashing. When the three occupants were exiting the plane after landing, it became unbalanced and overturned. None of the occupants were injured.

Deputies are on scene and are currently conducting an investigation. Our office will release more information as it becomes available.

Update: Linn County Deputies Investigate Deceased Male Found In Vehicle - 07/25/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports that a male found deceased in his vehicle on Hwy. 20, east of Sweet Home, has been identified as Francis Edmund Poletti, 48, of Seattle WA. Yesterday, at 11:10 a.m., Linn County Sheriff's Office 9-1-1 Center received a call from a passing motorist that discovered a deceased male in a vehicle. The vehicle was located on Hwy. 20 near mile post 45.

Deputies responded and through their investigation determined that Poletti died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. A suicide note was found in the vehicle.



Original release is listed below:

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports today at 11:10 a.m., his office received a 9-1-1 call reporting a male was found deceased in a vehicle located on Hwy. 20, east of Sweet Home.

Deputies are on scene and are currently conducting an investigation. Our office will release more information as it becomes available.

Linn County Deputies Investigate Deceased Male Found - 07/24/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports today at 11:10 a.m., his office received a 9-1-1 call reporting a male was found deceased in a vehicle located on Hwy. 20, east of Sweet Home.

Deputies are on scene and are currently conducting an investigation. Our office will release more information as it becomes available.

Linn County Deputies Investigate Shooting - 07/24/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports his deputies are investigating the shooting of a Lebanon man. The Linn County Sheriff's Office 9-1-1 Center received a call yesterday at 9:10 p.m. of a disturbance with gunshots fired.

Deputies responded to the 600 block of B Street in Lebanon and found Jerry Lynn Chasteen, 58, of Lebanon, had been shot multiple times. Deputies determined a large caliber handgun was used in a neighborhood dispute between Chasteen and Donald Barry Avritt, 25, of Lebanon.

Chasteen was transported to Good Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis for serious injuries and is listed in stable condition.

Avritt and witnesses were detained and detectives are currently processing the scene for further evidence.

The Linn County Sheriff's office was assisted by Lebanon Fire Department and Lebanon and Albany Police Departments.

No arrests have been made at this time. The investigation is continuing into the possibility of this being a criminal matter or self-defense. All parties are cooperating with investigators.

Rescue at Marion Lake - 07/24/17

Linn County Sheriff Bruce Riley reports that his office received a call yesterday at approximately 6:15 p.m., of an injured hiker on the Marion Lake trail. Robert Wolf, 38, from Coos Bay was with two family members hiking out from Marion Lake when he fell and injured his ankle. One of the family members hiked out and went to the Marion Forks Fish Hatchery to call for assistance.

Search and Rescue teams from Linn County along with Idanha-Detroit, Gates, and Lyons fire departments responded to assist with the rescue. Mr. Wolf was transported less than a mile to the trailhead in a wheeled stokes/litter and was released to his family.