Jackson Co. Sheriff's Office
Emergency Messages as of 1:18 am, Mon. Nov. 18
No information currently posted. Operating as usual.
News Releases
PIO At JCSO - 11/14/19

This is an introductory message from Mike Moran in regards to a new Public Information Officer at Jackson Counth Sheriff's Office. With the departure of Sgt Julie Denney, I have been assigned as the PIO. My role will be an interim position as options to fill the position permanently are explored.

 I know many of you from my prior postions in law enforcement with Talent PD and Medford PD. I look forward to serving the ciitizens of Jackson County.

Wayman booking - 11/12/19
Wayman booking - 11/12/19
Man Arrested for Killing Roommate (Photo) - 11/13/19

SHADY COVE, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) detectives arrested a Shady Cove man Tuesday on charges related to the death of his roommate.  Detectives say Shane Ryan Micheal Wayman, 21, killed Destiny Anne Finch, 20, in their home, and then left her remains in a wooded area north of Trail.

On Monday, November 11, 2019, at 6:51 p.m., dispatch received a call from a family member reporting that Finch was missing from her home in the first block of Brophy Way, Shady Cove.  Deputies responded and found evidence that an assault had occurred there. 

Deputies learned that Finch and Wayman had an argument earlier in the day; neither were present at the residence at the time of the missing person report.  Finch and her fiancé lived together in the home, along with Wayman and another male adult. 

JCSO detectives activated the Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit (MADIU) Monday evening.  Personnel from the Oregon State Police, the Medford Police Department, and the Jackson County District Attorney’s Office responded to assist in the investigation. 

On Tuesday, November 12, at approximately 6:15 a.m., Medford Police detectives located Wayman walking along Highway 62 at mile marker 24.  He was detained without incident.  Moments later, JCSO detectives found Wayman’s vehicle, a white 1999 Hyundai Sonata, parked along Highway 62 near the Prospect Ranger Station.  

Detectives located Finch’s remains just before noon on Tuesday in a wooded area near Highway 227 in Douglas County, just north of the county line.  After consultation with authorities in Douglas County, Jackson County investigators continued as the lead agency for the investigation.

An investigator with the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene.  An autopsy is planned for Wednesday afternoon to confirm the cause and manner of death.  Detectives have notified Finch’s family of her death. 

JCSO detectives lodged Wayman in the Jackson County jail on charges of murder, first degree assault, second degree abuse of a corpse, and unlawful use of a weapon.  The investigation is ongoing. 

Detectives would like to hear from anyone who may have video footage that could assist in the investigation.  They are specifically looking for footage of the following roadways:  Highway 62 from mile marker 18 to Highway 230;  Highway 227 between Highway 62 and the Douglas County line; Highway 230 between Highway 62 and Highway 138.  Anyone with video cameras in those areas, or any other information about the case, can call the JCSO tip line at (541) 770-8333. 

Case #19-23784

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Detectives Investigate Inmate Death (Update) - 11/06/19

Update, 11/6/19:

An autopsy performed on November 5, 2019, confirmed that Scott Lee Ashbaugh died as the result of suicide by ligature asphyxiation. 

A final media release regarding this incident will come from the Jackson County District Attorney at the conclusion of the investigation.  No further information is available for release at this time. 

Original release, 11/5/19:

MEDFORD, Ore. –  Detectives are investigating the death of an inmate that occurred in the Jackson County jail late Monday night.  The preliminary investigation indicates that Scott Lee Ashbaugh, 28, died of an apparent suicide. 

On November 4, 2019, at 10:56 p.m., a Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputy found Ashbaugh unresponsive during a cell check and initiated life-saving efforts.  Medical help was summoned from Medford Fire & Rescue and Mercy Flights; however, Ashbaugh was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The Major Assault and Death Investigation Unit (MADIU) was activated, a standard procedure with in-custody deaths in Jackson County.  A detective from Medford PD is leading the investigation. 

According to the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office, an autopsy is scheduled for November 6 to confirm the cause and manner of death.  Detectives say Ashbaugh’s family has been notified of his death.

Ashbaugh was arrested by Medford Police on October 19 for a probation violation for failing to report as a sex offender and resisting arrest.  He was serving a sanction for the probation violation and was set to be released from jail on November 7.  Jail officials say Ashbaugh was housed in a cell with no other inmates present at the time of his death.

No further information is available for release at this time.  An update will be provided by the Jackson County District Attorney at the conclusion of the investigation.

JCSO officials say mental health services are available to inmates in the jail, as well as locally for people experiencing a mental health crisis.  The Jackson County Mental Health 24-hour crisis hotline number is (541) 774-8201.  Walk-in mental health services are also available at 140 S. Holly Street, Medford (Monday – Friday, 8:00 am to 5 pm).  The number to the National Suicide Prevention Helpline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Case #19-23286

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Perkins booking 110319
Perkins booking 110319
Deputies Arrest Armed Robbery Suspect (Photo) - 11/05/19

EAGLE POINT, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) detectives say one man is in custody and another is outstanding after a home invasion robbery on Saturday morning.  The incident began at a property associated with a marijuana grow near Eagle Point.  A multi-agency pursuit of a suspect vehicle ended near Winston in Douglas County. 

On November 2, 2019, at 3:34 a.m., dispatch received a 911 call from a resident in the 2700-block of Alta Vista Road.  The caller reported that she and a man in the home were handcuffed and robbed by two armed men wearing masks.  The suspects fled the scene in the victims’ vehicle, a white 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan with Oregon license plate 167LRH.

Deputies and officers from nearby agencies attempted to locate the vehicle.  A Central Point Police Department officer located the Volkswagen at the intersection of Table Rock Road and Vilas Road and attempted a traffic stop.  The vehicle fled at high rate of speed toward Central Point and entered Interstate 5 at exit 33, to the north.  The Volkswagen was apparently traveling with a white 2012 BMW that also sped away north on I-5. 

Officers lost sight of the vehicles around Gold Hill.  A Grants Pass Department of Public Safety officer located the BMW driving north on I-5.  A JCSO deputy caught up to the vehicle at mile marker 89 and continued pursuing it through Josephine County and into Douglas County. 

Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) deputies assumed the pursuit.  Spike strips were deployed successfully and the suspect vehicle slowed but did not stop.  The driver then crashed the BMW at mile marker 117 and fled on foot.  Deputies and Oregon State Police personnel searched the area but did not immediately find the driver.

At approximately 6:45 p.m. on Saturday, DCSO deputies located the driver and took him into custody.  He had apparently hidden for hours before approaching a resident that evening to ask for help.  The resident, aware of the earlier pursuit and crash, immediately alerted deputies.  DCSO deputies recognized the man, Nathan Daniel Perkins, 36, of Portland, as the driver who fled the scene after the pursuit. 

A JCSO deputy responded to take custody of Perkins and transport him to the Jackson County jail, following medical clearance at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center.  Perkins was lodged initially on two felony probation violation detention warrants and a charge of driving while suspended/revoked (misdemeanor).  He is being held without bail due to the probation violations.  

Detectives have since added multiple charges related to the incident:  first degree robbery; aggravated first degree theft; first degree burglary; attempting to elude police in a vehicle; attempting to elude police on foot; coercion; second degree robbery; and, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.  Additional charges may be added as the investigation continues.

In the meantime, JCSO detectives have been trying to track down the stolen Volkswagen and suspect, as well as any other information about the robbery.  Anyone with information is asked to call the JCSO tip line at (541) 770-8333. 

Case #19-23095

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Rowe booking photo 102919
Rowe booking photo 102919
Man Arrested for Sexually Abusing Teen (Photo) - 10/31/19

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. –  Jackson County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested a 39-year-old man Tuesday on charges related to the sexual abuse of a 16-year-old girl.  Detectives are concerned the suspect may have had contact with additional teens.

The investigation began on January 12, 2019.  A 16-year-old girl reported being sexually assaulted by an older man she had met online.  The two used the Whisper phone application to communicate and later met in person.  

The investigation led detectives to identify the suspect as Erik Theil Rowe, 38, of Gold Hill.  On October 29, 2019, JCSO detectives executed a search warrant at Rowe’s home in the 3200-block of Galls Creek Road.  Rowe was taken into custody at that time. 

Rowe is currently lodged in the Jackson County jail on a charge of third degree sexual abuse.  A judge set bail at $10,000.

Detectives have reason to believe Rowe may have had contact with other teens in the Medford and Grants Pass areas through various social media and phone apps.  Anyone with information can contact Detective Shuart through the JCSO tip line at (541) 770-8333.  Refer to case #19-827.

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Attached Media Files: Rowe booking photo 102919
19-22878 Suspect vehicle
19-22878 Suspect vehicle
Theft Suspects Flee from Deputies (Photo) - 10/30/19

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies arrested two men Wednesday morning in unrelated incidents.  Deputies say in both cases, the suspects were believed to have been involved in stealing hemp.  Both fled when confronted.

The first incident began on October 30, 2019 at 3:53 a.m.  Deputies were alerted to a suspicious vehicle parked along a hemp field near the intersection of West Griffin Creek Road and Griffin Creek Road, southwest of Medford. 

Deputies arrived and tried to wake a man sleeping inside the gray Dodge Durango parked partially in the roadway.  He refused to exit the vehicle or identify himself and then drove off.  Deputies believe another person associated with the vehicle may have been left behind in the area.

The driver, later identified as Jon Allen Firehammer, 45, of Grants Pass, fled through several rural properties, crashing through security gates and causing other property damage.  Deputies used spike strips and a pursuit intervention technique (PIT) maneuver to attempt to immobilize the vehicle. 

Firehammer stopped in a private driveway and fled on foot.  A JCSO K9 team tracked him for 90 minutes through several hundred feet of blackberry bushes and took him into custody.  He was found to be in possession of counterfeit money.  Deputies were assisted by personnel from Oregon State Police, Medford Police, Phoenix Police, and Talent Police.

Firehammer initially provided a false name.  Deputies at the Jackson County jail were able to ascertain his true identity, which revealed he had multiple warrants for his arrest.

Deputies lodged Firehammer in jail on the following charges:  interfering with a peace officer; attempting to elude police in a vehicle; attempting to elude police on foot; hit and run – property damage (three counts); first degree criminal mischief (three counts); first degree criminal possession of a forged instrument (two counts); reckless driving; driving while suspended (felony); giving false information to police; identity theft.

Deputies say the investigation is ongoing.  The district attorney’s office will review the case for additional charges.

The second Wednesday incident began at 9:40 a.m.  A deputy was driving in the 5200-block of Upton Road when his patrol vehicle and two bystanders were nearly struck by a Toyota Tacoma backing quickly out of a driveway.  The deputy witnessed a confrontation between the driver and one of the bystanders, who was armed. 

The driver fled north on Upton Road toward Gibbon Road.  The deputy was told the driver had just been caught stealing trimmed hemp plants and was in the process of fleeing when the deputy happened by.  The men who were nearly hit by the vehicle were employees who were trying to stop him.  

Deputies and an Oregon State Police trooper followed in the direction of the suspect vehicle.  The vehicle turned west on Gibbon Road and continued at a high rate of speed.  Deputies arrived shortly after the vehicle crashed at the road’s end.  The vehicle had struck a tree and overturned. 

The driver, identified as Tanner Charles McNew, 27, a Medford area transient, was uncooperative and had to be removed from the vehicle by deputies.  He was found to be in possession of marijuana and methamphetamine, in addition to hemp believed to have just been stolen from the Upton Road location.

Deputies transported McNew to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center for medical clearance before taking him to jail.  McNew was lodged on charges of second degree theft, attempting to elude police in a vehicle, recklessly endangering another person (two charges), reckless driving, unlawful possession of marijuana, and unlawful possession of methamphetamine. 

Anyone with information about either incident is asked to call the JCSO tip line at (541) 770-8333. 

 

West Griffin Creek, Case #19-22878

Upton Road, Case #19-22890

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Crash scene photo
Crash scene photo
Man Dies in Single Vehicle Crash (Photo) - 10/28/19

EAGLE POINT, Ore. – An Eagle Point man died Saturday afternoon in a single-vehicle crash.  Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies say alcohol use may have contributed to the crash. 

On October 26, 2019, at 3:28 p.m., dispatch received a 911 call from a witness reporting a crash at the intersection of Bigham Brown Road and Antelope Road.  The caller reported a car had rolled into a pasture; its single occupant was trapped inside. 

Deputies responded to the scene, along with personnel from Fire District 3 and Mercy Flights.  The driver, William Leroy Atwood, 78, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Deputies determined Atwood was driving a 2011 Subaru Outback southbound on Bigham Brown Road.  Atwood did not slow adequately for the 90-degree right curve at the intersection with Antelope Road.  The vehicle left the roadway at a high rate of speed and rolled into a pasture.  Deputies obtained information that Atwood had been drinking alcohol prior to the crash. 

An investigator with the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene.  Toxicology tests will be conducted to confirm whether intoxicants contributed to the incident.

A dog in the vehicle was apparently not injured.  Jackson County Animal Control assisted with returning the dog to a family member. 

The investigation is ongoing.  No further information is available for release at this time. 

Case #19-22658

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Attached Media Files: Crash scene photo
Cowart booking photo 10/24/19
Cowart booking photo 10/24/19
One Arrested in Ruch Search Warrants (Photo) - 10/24/19

RUCH, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) detectives served search warrants at two residences in the Ruch area Thursday morning.  Detectives say the investigation is ongoing, but one man was arrested on unrelated warrants.  

On October 24, 2019, at approximately 6:30 a.m., JCSO detectives, aided by the JCSO special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team, served warrants at residences in the first block and the 1800-block of Upper Applegate Road. 

“We received a few calls because people were concerned about seeing the SWAT team,” said Sergeant Julie Denney.  “SWAT was there as a precaution because of the criminal history and wanted status of one of the residents.  There was no danger to the public.”

During the search warrant service Thursday, detectives contacted Joaquin Amadeus Cowart, 41, of the 1800-block of Upper Applegate Road.  Cowart had felony warrants for absconding from parole, and for charges related to a domestic violence incident.  He was lodged in the Jackson County jail without bail due to the State Parole Board warrant. 

Detectives say Cowart is a registered sex offender who has not updated his registration as required.  Additional charges are pending. 

JCSO detectives were assisted at the scene by investigators with the Medford Police Department, Oregon State Police, and Southern Oregon High Tech Crimes Task Force.  The investigation is ongoing and no further information is available for release at this time.

Case #19-19406

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Attached Media Files: Cowart booking photo 10/24/19
Map of logging site - reference
Map of logging site - reference
Man Dies in Logging Accident (Photo) - 10/24/19

ASHLAND, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies say a man died Wednesday in an accident at a logging site south of Ashland.  Russell Gilbert Elder, 89, of Trail, died after the heavy equipment he was operating rolled over. 

On October 23, 2019, at 2:33 p.m., dispatch received a 911 call reporting an injury at a logging site.  The location was in private timber land approximately two miles southeast of Interstate 5, exit 6.  The caller reported a possible rollover involving heavy machinery. 

Deputies responded with medical personnel from Fire District 5 and Ashland Fire & Rescue.  Elder was pronounced dead at the scene.   

Deputies learned Elder had been operating a skid-steer loader, which overturned on a slope.  A detective with the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to investigate the cause and manner of death.  Elder’s family has been notified of his death. 

Elder was reportedly employed by Farmer Logging.  The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Oregon OSHA) was notified of the incident, a standard procedure when a death occurs in the workplace.  

Case #19-22461

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Attached Media Files: Map of logging site - reference