Linn County Sheriff's Office
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News Releases
Human Remains Found on Upper Calapooia in April Have Been Identified - 08/10/20

Linn County Undersheriff Paul Timm reports the human remains found in April near Upper Calapooia Drive have been identified. Detectives and the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office have worked to identify the remains and received DNA confirmation this week identifying Mark Hardin, a Linn County resident, as the deceased.

Hardin was reported missing to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office in 2011. An extensive search and investigation were conducted following the missing person report. This included a large search operation in the remote areas of Upper Calapooia and continuous work throughout the years.  No evidence of foul play has been found during the previous missing person investigation or current discovery of Hardin’s remains.

 

Linn County Sheriff's Office Investigates Fatal Motorcycle Crash - 08/10/20

Linn County Undersheriff Paul Timm reports on August 7, after 2:43 p.m., Deputies investigated a single motor vehicle crash near NE Old Salem Road and NE Conser Road. Linn County 9-1-1 received a complaint of a red motorcycle on Knox Butte Road swerving into other lanes of travel as it entered the city limits of Albany. The caller reported the operator was unable to control the motorcycle and almost struck other vehicles, in addition, Albany Police Department received complaints as the motorcycle entered town. The caller reported the motorcycle was last seen traveling on Old Salem Road toward Millersburg.

Deputies responded to the area within minutes and located the motorcycle crashed near Conser Road. Deputies found Darren Gregory, 35, unconscious with no pulse. Deputies began life saving efforts until medics arrived.  Gregory was pronounced deceased on scene.

Gregory was wearing a full-face helmet. Speed was not a primary cause of the crash. Deputies continue to investigate the reason for the crash to include impairment or contributing medical condition.

The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information related to the investigation is encouraged to call the Linn County Sheriff’s Office (541-967-3950).

 

Soto_Joel.jpg
Soto_Joel.jpg
Linn County Sheriff's Office Arrest Sweet Home Man for Weapons Related Charges (Photo) - 08/06/20

Linn County Undersheriff Paul Timm reports on August 3, at 3:53 p.m., deputies responded to the 41000 block of Marks Ridge Drive, north of Sweet Home for an armed disturbance.  The caller, a resident of the location, reported the suspect, Joel Soto, 25, (who also had been staying at the location) took out a gun during an argument with him and shot it into the ground.  Soto then ran off through a nearby wooded area.  When deputies arrived, they searched the area but were unable to find Soto.  Deputies continued to try to locate Soto over the following days.

Yesterday, August 5, at 6:50 p.m., deputies responded to another armed disturbance at the same residence.  The caller reported Soto had returned and pointed a firearm at the caller. 

When deputies arrived, Soto had again fled into the woods.  With the assistance of two Linn County K9 units and Sweet Home Police Department, they searched the area.  Soto was taken into custody after Deputy Matt Sheets and his K9, Thunder, located Soto hiding in a drainage culvert south of the residence. 

Soto was found to be in possession of a Glock handgun, which had previously been reported as stolen through the Sweet Home Police Department.  Soto was transported to Linn County Jail where he is facing charges of Felon in Possession of a Restricted Weapon, Unlawful Use of a Weapon, Menacing, and Theft I.  Additionally, Soto is being held on an outstanding warrant issued out of New York for Assault 2. 

Neither the victim or Soto were injured during either incident.

 

Attached Media Files: Soto_Joel.jpg
***Update***Linn County Sheriff's Office Investigates Personal Watercraft Accident - 07/24/20

****UPDATE****

Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon reports yesterday, July 23, Zachary Maynard, 6, passed away from the injuries he sustained after a personal watercraft struck him near the shoreline Monday afternoon at Lewis Creek Park, east of Sweet Home. 

The 23-year-old male was operating a 2020 Sea-Doo on the west side of the Lewis Creek swimming area when he lost control of the watercraft. The investigation reveals the watercraft was stationary and the operator was adjusting equipment when he fell off. The watercraft sped off from the male, striking Zachary Maynard and Kennedy Swenson, 6, as it continued to the west side of the swimming area before crashing into the bank. Swenson is continuing to undergo medical treatment on her path to recovery.

The male operator remains cooperative with the investigation. The investigation is ongoing with many witnesses still being contacted and inspections of equipment. Anyone with information, video, or photographs related to the investigation is encouraged to call Detective Colin Pyle at the Linn County Sheriff’s Office (541-967-3950). 

Our hearts and prayers are with the families involved with this tragic incident. 

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Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon reports today, July 20, at 2:00 p.m., his office received a 9-1-1 report of a personal watercraft striking a crowd of people in the swimming area at Lewis Creek Park on Foster Lake east of Sweet Home. 

A 23 year old male was operating the personal watercraft in the area of Lewis Creek when he lost control of the watercraft. The watercraft sped off toward shore striking multiple people and causing life threatening injuries to two minor children. One child was flown to Legacy Emmanuel Hospital in Portland.   The second was initially flown to Riverbend Hospital in Springfield, but was then airlifted to Legacy Emmanuel.  There is no current information on the conditions of the children.  An additional injury was reported later to Lebanon Community Hospital.  

The operator of the watercraft is cooperating with law enforcement. The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information, video, or photographs related to the investigation is encouraged to call Detective Colin Pyle at the Linn County Sheriff’s Office (541-967-3950).

 

Linn County Sheriff's Office Investigates Fatal Crash - 07/22/20

Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon reports last night, July 21, at 4:32 p.m., his deputies responded to a motor vehicle crash at the intersection of NW First Avenue and NW Beech Street in Scio. The caller reported a young child was struck while riding a bike.

The investigation revealed a 2001 GMC Sierra pickup, operated by Stefani Nightingale, 18, of Scio, was traveling west on NW First Avenue when the child rode into the intersection at NW Beech.  Vehicle speed, driver distraction and driver impairment were not factors in this tragic crash.  Scio medics and deputies responded to the scene where the child was pronounced deceased. The operator of the pickup is being fully cooperative.

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Scio Fire Department, Jefferson Fire Department and Lebanon Police Department. The investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information related to the investigation is encouraged to call Detective Steve Frambes at the Linn County Sheriff’s Office (541-967-3950).

 

Linn County Sheriff's Office Responds to Fall near Three Fingered Jack - 07/21/20

Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon reports on July 19, his Deputies responded to a rescue at Three Fingered Jack east of Sweet Home.  At about 1:00 p.m., Linn County Sheriff’s Office dispatch received the report of a hiker falling from the mountain.

A witness describes Todd Adelman, 19, from Aumsville, climbing near the summit when rocks gave way, causing him to fall hundreds of feet. Numerous resources were activated and responded to the remote area. Adelman was located at the bottom of the cliff where he was pronounced deceased, approximately 7300 feet in elevation.  Responders worked all night carrying Adelman out.   

Three Fingered Jack is a popular place for technical mountaineers and is located 71 miles east of Sweet Home. The mountain is known to have poor rock quality and steep cliffs near the summit. 

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Benton County Sheriff’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriffs’ Office, Corvallis Mountain Rescue, Eugene Mountain Rescue and Deschutes Mountain Rescue.

Linn County Sheriff's Office Responds to Another Rescue at Tamolitch Falls - 07/21/20

Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon reports on July 19, his Deputies responded to a rescue at Tamolitch Falls off Highway 126.  At about 6:13 p.m., Linn County Sheriff’s Office dispatch received the report of a male jumping into the water and had not surfaced.

Numerous resources responded to the scene to include Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Lane County Sheriff’s Office, Deschutes Mountain Rescue, McKenzie Fire, Sweet Home Medics, and Life Flight.  Pavan Vemuleti, 28, was jumping off the rock ledges in the area when he did not surface for minutes after his last jump. Vemuleti was pulled to shore where he was carried out of the area and transferred to Life Flight. Vemuleti was flown to Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend where he was treated and released on July 20.

Commonly referred to as Blue Pool, Tamolitch Falls has been an increasing tourist attraction. People from many different states and countries are attracted to the remote area, 53 miles east of Sweet Home. In the last two months, there has been over 10 rescues requested at Tamolitch Falls. Emergency services are delayed with these remote areas with no cell service and difficult terrain. Linn County Sheriff’s Office has seen an increase in rescues throughout the county, to include Tamolitch Falls, and is asking the public to take precautions when visiting the area.