Missing girl found unhurt

Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, July 21, 2011

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Navajo Nation Police were called to the Smith Lake, N.M., area late July 6 to help find a missing 11-year-old girl.

Andrew Perry, 57, called police about 10 p.m. and reported that his granddaughter Amber Begay, who was visiting for a week from her home in Albuquerque, was missing.

The girl had been out helping her grandmother, Louise Begay, no age listed, herd sheep and had gotten lost, not being familiar with the area.

Six police officers responded to the call and with the aid of family members and three volunteer firefighters, a search of the area was conducted throughout the night.

The girl was located at 7:58 a.m. about four miles from the residence. She was tired and hungry with blisters on her feet, having spent the night outdoors.

She was transported to the Crownpoint Indian Medical Hospital to be checked over and was then released.

Arson suspected in trailer fire

A mobile home in the BIA tribal court area in Fort Defiance was totally destroyed in a fire that occurred about 11:30 p.m. on July 15.

The home, which belonged to Patrick House, no age given, was being used for storage. Police said the trailer was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at the scene.

Neighbors called the fire department after they smelled wood burning and went out to investigate. They saw smoke and a few minutes later, flames coming from the structure.

Other neighbors told police they noticed two males walking toward the building a few minutes before the fire started and then running away just before smoke began coming from the structure.

The neighbors could not identify the men except to say they were wearing dark clothing. Police conducted a search of the area but were unable to locate anyone matching that description.




Fire destroys Shiprock home

Another fire, this one on July 7 in the Shiprock area, destroyed a small metal building and home owned by Julia Benally, 67, of Shiprock.

Police said smoke from the fire could be seen coming out of the building as they left the station house to respond to the call.

The fire started in the small metal building and then spread to the house next door because of high winds. Firefighters were not able to save the two structures.

Police said the cause of the fire is unknown. No injuries were reported.

Propane light blamed for fire

Yet another house fire occurred in LeChee, Ariz., on July 9. No injuries were reported but the house was totally destroyed.

The owner of the house, Linda John, 61, told police that she used a small Coleman propane bottle to provide light in her bedroom at night. The bottle was located next to her bed.

She had only been away from the bedroom for a few minutes to find upon her return that her bedspread was on fire. She alerted the other adults and children in the house and everyone was able to get out in time.

Man arrested for criminal damage

It began with a report called into police on July 10 that two men were fighting in the Dilkon, Ariz., area.

When police arrived at the scene, they found Lorraine Peters, 22, who had no physical injuries but showed police damage to a kitchen window, which was reportedly caused by Derrel Vernon Forte, a non-Native.

Police said alcohol was a factor in the incident. Forte was arrested and transported to the Navajo County Jail for processing on charges of causing criminal damage.

Dog bite call takes a twist

An animal control officer for the Navajo Nation got more than he bargained for on July 7 when he noticed a man staggering on Navajo Route 2 near Leupp, Ariz.

Dale Wayne Lucero was on his way to investigate a dog bite when he spotted the man, later identified as Floyd Aaron Larson, 28, of Birdsprings, Ariz.

He stopped to check on Larson's welfare, and reported that Larson was so drunk he lost his balance and tumbled off the shoulder of the road. Lucero helped him out but then he fell again, so Lucero decided to stay with him until police arrived.

At that point, Lucero told police, Larson pulled a 5-inch folding knife from his pocket and began waving it around and pointed it at him.

Lucero said he considered backing away and going upwind so he could use his MACE if Larson attacked, but instead began talking to him and telling him, "I am just trying to help you."

He was finally able to calm Larson and by the time police arrived, Lucero had managed to get the knife away from him and was holding him by the wrist.

The man had no identification but had told Lucero that his name was Floyd. Later his relatives were able to provide police with a full identification.

In the end, Larson was charged with aggravated battery and public intoxication. No word on how the dog bite case turned out.

Man suspected of domestic violence

Police are searching for Leroy Wayne, 23, of Lower Greasewood, Ariz., in connection with a domestic violence incident that took place there July 5.

Police said Wayne and Jessica Lizen, 21, also of Lower Greasewood, got into an argument during which Wayne allegedly choked Lizen and hit her in the face, causing a two-inch laceration and a fractured nose.

Wayne then fled the area on foot while the victim was transported to the Fort Defiance Hospital for treatment.

Hard landing for NJ man

A minor plane crash occurred at the old Oljato, Utah, airport on July 7.

Rajeesh Soni, 41, of Dayton, N.J., was traveling west with three passengers when he landed at the old airport by mistake because he got the wrong GPS coordinates.

When he was trying to lift off from the airport, he stalled his engine, causing the plane to land hard on the runway. No one was injured but police said there was some damage to the plane.

Alcohol involved in Mentmore fracas

A Mentmore, N.M., man was jailed in Crownpoint July 5 after police got a report that he had threatened three other Mentmore residents with a gun.

Police received a call about 10:38 a.m. from Bertha Damon, 41, who said Lance Levi Damon, 23, had threatened her and two others - Jeffry Castillo, 61, and Wacey Spencer, no age given - by pointing a 9mm pistol at them in her front yard.

The McKinley County Sheriff's Department was originally called to the scene but the matter was turned over to tribal police when it was discovered that the incident occurred on reservation land.

When tribal police arrived, Lance Damon, who was reportedly intoxicated, had fled the area toward the nearby cliffs. When police searched the cliff area, they found the suspect and arrested him. He did not have a gun on him and police said a search for the gun did not locate it either.

Alcohol involved in fatal rollover

A Thoreau, N.M., man died July 8 in a one-vehicle rollover on State Route 371 in the Littlewater area.

The victim, identified by police as Leandro Alonzo, 31, was laying about two feet from his vehicle when police arrived. Police said he had severe head injuries and his left arm was broken in several places.

A bottle of vodka was found in the vehicle, police said. There were no other occupants in the car.

The report gave no details of what caused the accident.

Alcohol involved in Nageezi fatality

A July 5 car accident on County Road 7675 near Dzilná'oodilii, N.M, claimed the life of a 20-year-old Nageezi, N.M., man.

Both the victim, Lionel Pinto, and all of his passengers - Troy John, 20, Dineah Bitanny, 20 and a 17-year old juvenile, all three from Dzilná'oodilii - were intoxicated at the time of the accident, according to the police report.

Pinto, who was driving, lost control of the car and it skidded counter-clockwise, rolled, and came to rest onto the passenger side.

Pinto was pronounced dead at the scene. None of the passengers were injured. John and Bitanny were charged with disorderly conduct in connection with an incident that occurred before the crash. The juvenile was turned over to his father.

Man jailed for hitting girlfriend

A non-Native man was arrested on the reservation and transferred to the Navajo County Jail on July 12 after reportedly assaulting his girlfriend.

Police said Linda Ann Hoskie, whose birthday was given as Nov. 13, 1919, of Greasewood, Ariz., called police and reported that her boyfriend, Dree McKee, 50, of Phoenix, had hit her in the face.

When police arrived at the scene, they found the victim with a swollen and cut lip. The suspect had fled the scene but police said they found him lying behind a rock south of the residence and arrested him.

Jicarilla man sentenced

ALBUQUERQUE - Richaline Atole, 30, a member of the Jicarilla Apache Tribe, was sentenced July 18 to imprisonment for a year and a day to be followed by three years of supervised release for an involuntary manslaughter conviction, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Atole admitted killing Andy Talamante, 41, on Oct. 16, 2010, while operating a motor vehicle and under the influence of alcohol within the confines of the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation.

Atole was also ordered to pay $6,163.50 in restitution to cover the costs of the victim's funeral.

Sanostee woman arraigned

ALBUQUERQUE - Pauline Yazzie, 39, an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation who resides in Sanostee, N.M., was arraigned July 19 on an indictment charging her with second-degree murder, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Yazzie is charged with killing Jasper Barber by stabbing him with a knife on Dec. 2, 2009, in a residence on the Navajo Indian Reservation.

If convicted, Yazzie faces a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Child molester pleads guilty

ALBUQUERQUE - Brianjun Begay, 23, pleaded guilty July 14 to sexually abusing a minor under a plea agreement, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Begay, of Pine Hill, N.M., was charged with sexually violating a child between 12 and 16 years old in December 2005.

Begay will be sentenced to between 30 and 37 months in prison and will be required to register as a sex offender once he is released.

Child molester gets 19 years

PHOENIX - Casey Foster, 41, of Carrizo, Ariz., was sentenced July 14 to 19 years in prison followed by lifetime supervised release after pleading guilty to abusive sexual contact with a minor, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Foster sexually abused a child under the age of 12 over a three-year period starting in 2003. He also sexually abused the victim's 13-year-old friend on one occasion.

Blueeyes sentenced for assault

ALBUQUERQUE - Benny T. Blueeyes, 29, was sentenced July 14 to one year in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his assault conviction, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

According to the indictment, on May 18, 2010, Blueeyes drove his vehicle into the victim while he was intoxicated and driving recklessly, causing serious injury.

Blueeyes also was ordered to pay $9,854.45 in restitution to his victim.

Whiteriver man sentenced for sexual abuse

PHOENIX - Jas Lucas Colelay, 23, of Whiteriver, Ariz., was sentenced July 11 to 15 years in prison followed by lifetime supervised release for abusive sexual contact with a minor, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Between February 2009 and February 2010, Colelay sexually abused a 4-year-old girl on several occasions, causing her to contract a sexually transmitted disease.

Although the victim was only able to articulate one incident of sexual contact with Colelay, during law enforcement's interview with Colelay, he admitted to having sexual contact with her on several occasions.

Smith Lake woman sentenced for involuntary manslaughter

ALBUQUERQUE - Verdie Chavez, 34, of Smith Lake, N.M., was sentenced July 12 to two years in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release for her conviction on an involuntary manslaughter charge, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Chavez was driving under the influence of alcohol and driving recklessly when she killed Jimmy Larry, 65, on the Navajo Reservation on July 23, 2007.

Court filings reflect that, following the collision that resulted in Larry's death, Chavez told a nurse at Gallup Indian Medical Center that she intentionally swerved into the other lane because her passenger "doubled dared" her to hit an oncoming car traveling in the opposite direction.

Chavez told the nurse that, when she attempted to get back into her own lane, her passenger grabbed the steering wheel and forced her to stay in the other lane until Chavez struck Larry's vehicle. The passenger denied Chavez's version of the events. Court filings also reflect that Chavez had a prior DUI conviction.

Chavez has been ordered to pay $6,119.98 in restitution to cover funeral costs for the victim.

Body identified

PAGE, Ariz. - On July 11, the Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office told police that a body discovered at Horseshoe Bend was positively identified as 28-year-old Nathaniel Ross of LeChee, Ariz., according to a news release from the Page Police Department.

Ross was originally reported as a missing person on June 20, the same day that his vehicle was located in the Horseshoe Bend parking area by a family member.

The body was discovered July 7 by a Coconino County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue team member, who descended 400 to 500 feet down over the edge of the lookout area at Horseshoe Bend.

The Medical Examiner's Office is still conducting the investigation into the cause of death pending results from the autopsy.

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