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Body Recovered in Cowlitz River Believed to be Missing Centralia Woman - Posted at: 10/27/2015 3:59:00 PM

To view click on the link below: 

Press Release - Body Recovered in Cowlitz River Believed to be Missing Centralia Woman

Crime Stoppers Text-A-Tip - Posted at: 10/27/2015 10:31:23 AM

Click below for information on Crime Stoppers of Lewis County new Text-A-Tip program: 

Crime Stoppers Text-A-Tip

Missing Centralia Woman Elizabeth Pham - Posted at: 10/13/2015 3:43:58 PM

Click below to view the press release regarding missing person Elizabeth Pham:

Press Release October 13, 2015

Missing Person Bulletin - Posted at: 10/13/2015 8:46:26 AM

Click on the link below to view the Missing Person Bulletin. 

Missing Person Elizabeth Pham

October 2015 Sheriff's Rap Sheet - Posted at: 10/8/2015 1:09:41 PM

October 2015 Sheriff's Rap Sheet

Wildfire - What You Should Know - Posted at: 8/27/2015 8:11:32 AM

Click here for information on wildfires. 

Code Red Alert - Pleasant Valley Road Near Mineral - Posted at: 8/26/2015 4:01:17 PM


The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is issuing a Code Red notification for the people living in the area of Pleasant Valley Road near Mineral.

The Alder Lake fire has reached a level 1 evacuation trigger. This means that danger exists and you should begin making arrangements to evacuate.

Evacuations at this time are voluntary.

If the fire advances to level 2 you will receive further evacuation notification. Shelter will be setup in the Morton area at that time.

Again, this is a Code Red level one evacuation notice.... begin making preparations in case the fire advances to level 2.

For additional information check the Sheriff’s Office Website and/or call the DEM information line at 360-740-1152.



Whatever the danger or disaster it is important you and your family know what the evacuation level terms mean, and know how to react.

Remember the best way to prepare for disaster is prepare your home, have a plan and be informed.

LEVEL 1 (READY) - A Level 1 Evacuation means be READY Residents should be aware of the danger that exists in their area, and monitor local media outlets for information. Residents with special needs (such as a susceptibility to breathing problems in wildfires or those with animals/pets) should take note and begin making arrangements to evacuate. For wildfires, smoke can often cause the most problems for residents, especially those sensitive to smoke and animals. Evacuations at this time are voluntary.

LEVEL 2 (SET) - A Level 2 Evacuation means be SET. This level indicates there is significant danger to your area, and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area, or if choosing to remain, to be ready at a moment's notice.  

LEVEL 3 (GO) - A Level 3 Evacuation means GO. Danger to your area is current or imminent, and you should leave immediately. Listen to local media, and watch for emergency personnel who may be coming by to give further instructions regarding the evacuation.

During evacuations, the American Red Cross in partnership with Lewis County will establish shelters at schools, churches, or community buildings in our area in safe zones. During an emergency, listen to local media for information on the location of a shelter. Above all, remain calm. Preparing your home in advance for disaster, making a plan, and remaining informed means you can make informed and calculated decisions for your family and you know your escape routes in advance.

Wildfire Information - Posted at: 8/26/2015 8:47:07 AM

Here is some information we, at the Sheriff's office would like to share with you to help you be prepared during this intense wildfire season.

Sign up for Code Red.

Guide to Lewis County Department of Emergency Management's Evacuation Levels

Guide to Wildfire Preparation

Boating Safety Event - Posted at: 6/25/2015 8:38:53 AM

Boating Safety Event to be held on June 27, 2015, at Mayfield Lake Park Boat Launch.  Click here for additional details.

June 2015 Sheriff's Office Rapsheet - Posted at: 6/18/2015 9:05:25 AM

Click here for the June 2015 Sheriff's Office Rapsheet.

LCSO Searches for Owners of Recovered Jewelry - Posted at: 5/13/2015 4:17:26 PM

 Click here for News Release

Mandatory Boating Safety Education Class Offered in Lewis County - Posted at: 4/20/2015 10:31:04 AM

Click here for information on Boating Safety Education Class offered in Lewis County on 06/06/15.

Sheriff's Office Warns of Phone Scam - Posted at: 3/11/2015 4:22:30 PM

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office wants community members to be aware of a scam circulating in our area and learn how to protect themselves from becoming a victim of fraud and identity theft.

Deputies have received several reports from citizens that they are receiving random phone calls from very aggressive callers with strong foreign accent/dialects stating they are from the IRS. The callers knew the victim’s names and some other basic information about them making it appear it may really be the IRS calling. The callers advised the victim’s they were being investigated and to avoid “further investigation or arrest” they needed to provide personal information, such as their social security number.

Deputies warn that the IRS will not ordinarily contact people by telephone. They will send several letters and request the tax payer call them to discuss any specific issues.

In one instance, the victim told the caller he would place him on hold and call the IRS number and conduct a conference call. The caller then immediately hung up.

“If you receive a phone call from someone purporting to be from the IRS or other agency demanding personal information or money, ask for their return number. Even if the person is aggressive, do not succumb to threats. Simply hang up. If you are worried about an issue with the IRS, you can simply call them at the business number listed in the phone directory or on the web. It is better to be safe than sorry. Don’t ever give out personal information over the phone to someone you are unsure or wary of,” said Sheriff Robert Snaza.


Prosecutor and Sheriff to Speak at Town Meeting - Posted at: 3/9/2015 4:29:07 PM

Sheriff Robert Snaza and Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer are partnering together with the Salkum Timberland Library to provide citizens an opportunity to meet them and hear what they and their offices are doing for the citizens of Lewis County.

The meeting will be held March 25th, 2015, from 3:00 - 4:30 p.m., at the Salkum Timberland Library in Salkum.

Prosecutor Meyer and Sheriff Snaza plan to speak about the projects their offices are currently involved in, their agency goals for the future, and accomplishments since being elected. Both will welcome interaction from the audience.

Sheriff Snaza said, “I have always felt Town Meetings are a beneficial way to interact with the community and provide transparency into what our office is doing to make Lewis County a safe place to live. Partnerships between law enforcement, the Prosecutor’s Office, and the citizens living in the county are so important when trying to reduce crime and deal effectively with community issues. This is a chance for us to talk to the citizens, answer their questions, and listen to their concerns.”

Future Town Meetings will be held throughout the year in different communities of Lewis County.

“Partnership between the Sheriff’s Office and the Prosecutor’s Office is paramount to making Lewis County a safer place to live. I believe this meeting will be an excellent opportunity to share how well we are doing to ensure justice is served for victims in Lewis County. I look forward to answering questions about the process involved in prosecuting those who break the law, and talking about some of our successes these past few years. I believe it will be a productive meeting and encourage those who can come out to do so,” said Prosecutor Meyer.


Sheriff's Office Notifying Residents of Study Occurring in Lewis County - Posted at: 3/9/2015 4:26:53 PM

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is alerting citizens to the possibility they may see private vehicles driving slowly up and down Lewis County roadways as part of a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Elk Hoof Disease study in Lewis County and throughout Southwest Washington.

The Sheriff’s Office wants to be proactive in getting the word out about the study, in case residents become concerned about unusual or unknown vehicles driving slowly in rural areas.

Volunteers with DFW have agreed to survey elk herds in Lewis County to reasonably proximate the proportion of elk affected by TAHD (Treponeme-associated hoof disease).

The volunteers will survey elk herds between March 1st and April 30th, 2015. Volunteers should have WDFW paperwork with them that identifies their involvement in the study.

If citizens are concerned with any suspicious or unusual activity, as always, they are asked to call our office at (360) 748-9286.


Drug Drop Box Program Proves Successful - Posted at: 1/27/2015 8:14:23 AM

Click here for January 27, 2015, Press Release

Upcoming Sheriff's Sales - Posted at: 12/30/2014 3:38:35 PM

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

Information Regarding I-594 - Posted at: 12/17/2014 1:25:33 PM

For information regarding I-594 please read the news release here.

Human Skeletal Remains Identified in Lewis County - Posted at: 9/26/2014 8:56:34 AM

Remains Identified as Missing Pierce County Man

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Detectives have determined the skeletal remains located on February 28of this year are those of an 18-year old Spanaway man. The partial remains were found by a person walking their dog in the 2800 block of Little Hanaford Road in Centralia.

University of North Texas Center for Human Identification was utilized by the Sheriff’s Office to determine the identity of the remains. Family reference samples (DNA) matched those of the remains. The lab informed detectives yesterday of the information. Further dental testing will be conducted but it is strongly believed the remains are those of Christopher D. Virdell, who was reported missing, by family members, to Pierce County Sheriff’s Department in February of 2012.

Pierce County Sheriff’s Department has had an ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Virdell and is now working closely with Lewis County detectives to determine what led to the death of Virdell.

Pierce County Sheriff’s Department is the lead on the investigation.


Precautions for Lightning Storms - Posted at: 9/26/2014 8:51:45 AM

Click here for lightning storm information.  

Homeowner Protects Himself Against Intruder Armed with Knife - Posted at: 6/30/2014 9:49:25 AM

Lewis County Deputies responded to the 2900 block of Little Hanaford Road in Centralia last Friday (6/27) at approximately 0727 hours to a 911 call stating a stranger had just walked into their home armed with a knife.

The homeowner, a 62 year old male, and his girlfriend, were home in their living room Friday morning when 43 year old, homeless, Sean Mark Ferrel walked uninvited, armed with a knife, into their residence through their unlocked sliding glass door.

The homeowner armed himself with a shotgun while his girlfriend called 911. The homeowner ordered Ferrel out of his house but Ferrel shoved him down stairs leading down his back porch into his yard. Ferrel then walked back into the house. The girlfriend shoved Ferrel back onto the porch where Ferrel picked up a machete belonging to the homeowner.

At this time the homeowner struck Ferrel in the head with the shotgun he was holding and then held him at gunpoint until deputies arrived.

Both the homeowner and deputies said they could not understand what Ferrel was saying. Deputies believed he may have been under the influence of an intoxicating substance.

Ferrel was treated at Centralia Providence Hospital for a laceration to the top of his head and then booked into the Lewis County Jail for Burglary 1st.

“This couple did what they had to do to protect themselves under very dangerous conditions. This is another example of why citizens need to take all possible precautions and be prepared if something like this occurs. Lock your doors, be aware and cautious, and have a plan of action for how you would respond in a situation such as this. Your success in surviving an encounter like this is greatly enhanced by your pre-planning,” said Sheriff Steve Mansfield.

Sheriff's Office Hopes to Prevent Cold Water Drowning - Posted at: 4/30/2014 10:17:37 AM

Every year Lewis County Sheriff’s Office responds to preventable drowning deaths related to swimming and boating accidents. As warm weather approaches, the Sheriff’s Office wants to remind the public of a few safety precautions before taking a dip in the waterways of Lewis County.

Water temperatures in Lewis County are still in the mid 40’s on almost all waterways. Cold water shock and hypothermia are major concerns for anyone exposed to these types of water temperatures for any length of time. Unfortunately, each year the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office investigates preventable water related deaths had the victim been aware of the dangers of swimming in cold water.

Hypothermia is a well-known contributing factor to water fatalities. However, the shock from jumping into cold water is even more devastating and immediately dangerous than hypothermia. Cold water shock results in a shortness of breath, involuntary gasping, hyperventilation and panic that leads to many of the drownings we have investigated. Cold water shock also contributes to heart failure. Many people think if the air temperature is hot, the cool water will have little to no effect upon them; however, water conditions this time of year are not warm enough to avoid temperature shock or stay in for any length of time.

“Understanding the dynamics of swimming in cold water, knowing water conditions, swimming with others, and staying away from drugs and alcohol will prevent water fatalities and help ensure an enjoyable accident free outing,” said Sheriff Steve Mansfield.


  • Per year, over 1500 teens and children die as a result of drowning in the United States. This includes children swimming, boating, or playing near the water.
  • Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional injury or death amongst all ages according to the National Center for Disease Control.
  • In Washington State the group with the overall highest risk for drowning is children under the age of 5.


Skeletal Remains Located in Lewis County - Posted at: 3/3/2014 8:45:20 AM

Skeletal Remains Located in Lewis County

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detectives are currently investigating partial human skeletal remains found in the 2800 block of Little Hanaford Road, outside of Centralia.

A call to 911 was made at approximately 5:23 p.m. last night from a resident in the area who located the remains while walking his dog. The property is wooded, close to the roadway, and owned by Trans Alta.

Search and Rescue teams are assisting Lewis County with an area search this morning.

It is believed by investigators, at this point, that the remains were dumped. Gender, age, ethnicity, etc. of the remains are not known at this time.

The remains will be sent to King County to be examined by a Forensic Pathologist who has expertise in identifying human remains.

As is normal procedure in a case such as this, detectives will await further information from the Forensic Pathologist and will then check missing person data bases.

Further information will be released as it becomes known.


Lewis County Prevails in Lawsuit - Posted at: 2/18/2014 4:03:12 PM

Lewis County Prevails In Lawsuit

On Thursday, February 13, 2014, United States District Court Judge Ronald Leighton issued an Order Granting Summary Judgment in favor of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office in the June 2011 shooting death of Steven Petersen.

In the twelve page document the Judge outlined his reasons for dismissing the lawsuit and all of the plaintiff’s claims against Lewis County and Mathew McKnight.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield said, “I am pleased with the findings. Although I am truly saddened Mr. Petersen lost his life, the facts are what they are. Fortunately, a Federal Judge determined that all of the plaintiff’s claims against Lewis County and Matt McKnight should be dismissed as a matter of law.”

Sheriff's Office Window Hours to Change - Posted at: 2/13/2014 3:05:41 PM

 Effective Wednesday, February 12th, the Lewis County Sheriff's Office will have longer hours at their front windows. The new business hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The office hours for the past two years have been 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. due to staff resources, and an overwhelming number of Concealed Pistol License and Pistol Transfer applications. CPL Applications and Pistol Transfers increased dramatically and thus more time was needed during off hours to conduct required research and background checks. The Sheriff’s Office had to take proactive steps to ensure CPL’S were being completed in accordance to state and federal timelines.

2011 2012 2013 2014

Pistol Licenses Originals





Pistol Licenses Renewals





Pistol Licenses

Late Renewals





Pistol Licenses Replacements





Pistol Transfers










Total Case Numbers





“We have re-evaluated our resources and have taken into account the slowing trend of CPL applications. Our office is constantly searching for the most effective and efficient way to conduct business. These hours, along with the continued option to make appointments, will allow citizens more convenient options to conduct business at our office,” said Sheriff Steve Mansfield.


Sheriff's Office to Begin Warrant of the Week Program on Facebook Page - Posted at: 8/8/2013 11:22:47 AM

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office will begin a new program starting August 7, 2013. The program, “Warrant of the Week”, is a program which will feature a different person each week that is wanted for outstanding warrants in Lewis County.  The information will be posted on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page each Tuesday.

The program was designed to obtain community assistance in locating people who have outstanding warrants.

“Facebook has been an amazing tool for our office. Since we started our Facebook page we have had great success with locating wanted persons, identifying suspects, solving crimes, helping other agencies solve their crimes, providing public education on assorted topics, and getting important, timely, and relevant information out to the public. It is technology that has helped us further our Mission. This new program is yet another way to obtain help in locating people who have chosen to break the law and have not yet been held accountable for their actions,” said Sheriff Steve Mansfield.


Sheriff Mansfield's Position Regarding the Topic of Gun Control & Second Amendment Rights - Posted at: 1/23/2013 3:01:21 PM

See below for Sheriff Mansfield's position regarding the topic of gun control and Second Amendment Rights. 

Click Here

Sheriff's Office Rolls Out New Mobile Command Unit - Posted at: 1/11/2013 11:08:58 AM

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office recently obtained, through Federal Surplus at no cost, a 1995 Freightliner Truck originally built for the US Navy and outfitted as a mobile dental office.  The truck is 40 feet long, equipped with a 15KW generator, has only 7,500 miles, and is in great condition.

Over the past three months, Sheriff’s Office staff and inmate laborers have worked on getting the truck operational. The vehicle replaces two aging vans the Sheriff’s Office has used for the past 20 years. The multipurpose vehicle is equipped to respond to search and rescue missions, crime scenes, and any major incident or event in Lewis County.

Approximately $15,000 of grant and seizure funds have been used to outfit the vehicle. Additional grant funds in 2013 will be used to purchase other necessary equipment for the vehicle.

An open house is scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, between 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., for the public and media to tour our new command vehicle. It will be parked in the Motor Pool parking lot at the intersection of West Main Street and Chehalis Avenue in Chehalis.

Sheriff Mansfield said, “This mobile command vehicle fulfills a critical need that has existed for several years. We have been actively searching for options that we could afford and would meet our current and future needs. Our staff did an outstanding job in procuring, retrofitting, and converting this truck into an extremely functional mobile command and response vehicle.”

Sheriff Mansfield's November E-Newsletter - Posted at: 11/13/2012 2:39:11 PM

Click here for Sheriff Mansfield's November 2012 E-Newsletter 

Ethel Man Arrested for Punching Puppy in the Face - Posted at: 11/2/2012 10:19:29 AM

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 19 year old Ethel man for punching a five month old puppy in the face last night.  Deputies responded to the 100 block of Oyler Road, Ethel, at approximately 0053 hours, after receiving a call from a family requesting assistance with another family member who was acting disorderly.

When the deputy arrived he located Jesse G. Pegram, intoxicated and agitated, in the street. Family members said he was out of control and at one point punched their 5 month old German Shepherd in the face. Deputies were also told they thought Jesse had thrown the puppy against a tree.

Deputies located the puppy and noticed obvious injuries to her face. Her eye was extremely swollen and blood shot. The puppy was also limping. Due to the extent of the injuries the deputy called a veterinarian who agreed to meet the deputy at the clinic to evaluate the puppy. Family members did not have transportation to take the puppy themselves so the deputy transported the dog and one of the family members to the clinic.

After an exam, the veterinarian informed the deputy that the dog had injuries consistent with head trauma. He reported the dog had a leg injury but no obvious fractures. The veterinarian kept the dog overnight for evaluation.

Mr. Pegram was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for Animal Cruelty in the 1st degree. He is being referred for MIP.

“I am very proud of the deputy’s actions in this incident. Our office is dedicated to protecting life and property and this deputy’s compassion, concern, and action towards this puppy was in line with the ethical values that I expect my deputies to exhibit. His swift action both in going above and beyond to seek medical care for this animal in the middle of the night, and transporting it to a veterinary clinic made a positive difference for this animal and its owners. I am also grateful for the willingness of the veterinarian to assist us in caring for the puppy and the partnerships we have built with them over the years,” said Sheriff Steve Mansfield.


Lewis County Calls Lawsuit Meritless - Posted at: 10/19/2012 1:44:55 PM


Deputy involved in shooting properly followed policies and procedures and acted appropriately pursuant to his training.

Lewis County and other named individuals vehemently deny the allegations made in a lawsuit filed on October 15, 2012 by the Estate of a man who was shot and killed by a Lewis County Sheriff’s Deputy in June of 2011. The Complaint, filed in federal court in Tacoma, alleges that the Deputy acted recklessly and negligently when he encountered Steven Petersen in the early morning hours of June 20, 2011, and engaged in a “shoot first, ask questions later” approach to law enforcement. The Complaint seeks an unspecified amount of damages.

“Lewis County vehemently denies that Deputy Matt McKnight acted recklessly or negligently in any way,” said Michael Patterson, defense counsel for the County. “Deputy McKnight was faced with a rapidly-unfolding situation involving a man reported to be carrying a large knife that he had used to attempt to break and enter a residence nearby. In fear of his own safety and that of the neighboring residents, he made the split-second decision to shoot, after Mr. Petersen refused to follow commands, refused to take his hand out of his pocket, and lunged at him in a threatening manner. That action was in accordance with his training in such situations.”

After a thorough investigation by the Critical Incident Response Team, led by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, the Lewis County Prosecutor declined to bring any criminal charges against Deputy McKnight, determining that no criminal law had been violated by Deputy McKnight’s actions. A separate Safety Review Board found that the Deputy properly complied with Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures during the incident, and that those policies and procedures provided adequate guidance for such situations.

“No Deputy wants to be involved in this type of situation,” said Lewis County Sheriff Steve Mansfield. “However, the safety of the public and of our deputies is our primary concern and Deputy McKnight did everything he was supposed to do when he came into contact with Mr. Petersen last summer. This incident has not been easy for anyone. We are sorry for the effect of Mr. Petersen’s death on everyone involved.”

Lewis County will vigorously defend these baseless claims.


Texas Rangers Assist Detectives with Arrest of Child Molester - Posted at: 10/19/2012 11:39:23 AM

On October 17, 2012, detectives from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office made a request to Company “B” of the Garland Division of the Texas Rangers to attempt contact with a suspect in a 2007 child molestation case that occurred in the Pe Ell area.

Michael T. Yeager, 41 years of age, currently residing in Quitman, Texas was wanted for voyeurism and six counts of 3rd degree child molestation.

The original complaint, in 2007, involved Yeager molesting his girlfriend’s fourteen year old daughter while they resided together in the Pe Ell area. The alleged crime occurred over a several year span.

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has been actively trying to locate Yeager since the warrant was issued in 2008. Detectives had information family members were assisting Yeager by providing him with a place to live. Earlier this week they developed information Yeager was living with relatives in Quitman, Texas. Quitman is located 94 miles west of Dallas.

Yeager was arrested at 5:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon, at a relative’s house in Quitman, he offered no resistance. We are currently coordinating with the Texas authorities to have him extradited to Lewis County.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield said, “This is an excellent example of law enforcement staying focused, working together and achieving our mission. No matter how far Yeager ran he could not out run the long arm of the law. The Texas Rangers acted quickly and arrested a dangerous fugitive before he was tipped off. Yeager will be returned to Lewis County where he will face the charges against him.”


Sheriff's Office Launches Facebook Page - Posted at: 9/25/2012 1:24:09 PM

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is launching a page on Facebook starting this afternoon.  Sheriff Steve Mansfield said, “In our efforts to make a positive difference for the citizens of Lewis County, we have always been transparent and open in sharing what we are doing and how we are involved in the community. Now, through Facebook, we will reach even more people with information that will increase their awareness on important public safety topics.”

The Facebook page will be used to provide information regarding:

  • Sex Offender Notifications
  • Press Releases
  • Emergency Management
  • Emergency Preparedness
  • Safety Tips
  • ID Theft/Fraud Prevention
  • Neighborhood Watch Programs
  • Crime Stoppers - Crime of the Week
  • Current Scams in the Area
  • Volunteer Programs and Events
  • Lost and Found
  • Wanted Persons
  • Community Events
  • Special Emphasis Details such as DUI and Boating
  • Positive Trial Outcomes
  • Search and Rescue Missions
  • Cold Cases
  • Employee Awards
  • Hiring Notices
  • Sheriff’s Office Current Events and History
  • And much more.

Lewis County Sheriff's Office Arrests Suspect in 26-Year Old Homicide - Posted at: 7/9/2012 8:40:53 AM

After an extensive cold case investigation that the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has tenaciously worked on for over two and a half decades, my team of investigators was dispatched to Alaska on July 8th to make an arrest for the 1985 murders of Wilhelmina “Minnie” and Edward “Ed” Maurin.

On July 8, 2012, Rick Riffe, 53, of King Salmon, Alaska, was arrested for murder by the investigative team and will be processed for extradition back to Lewis County to stand trial for these horrific crimes.

Minnie was 83 years old and Ed was 81 years old at the time of their deaths. On December 19, 1985, family members reported that they were not home, as expected, for a family Christmas party. The next day, witnesses reported seeing the Maurins’ vehicle parked at Yard Bird’s. Search of the vehicle revealed a large amount of blood stains and the keys were in the ignition.

As the initial investigation proceeded, various witnesses came forward to report the sighting of the Maurin vehicle on December 19th, including seeing the vehicle at the Sterling Savings and Loan in Chehalis. We have developed evidence that Rick and his now deceased brother, John Riffe, kidnapped the Maurins from their residence and drove them to the bank, forcing Ed to withdraw $8,500.00 in cash.

The Maurins’ bodies were located at the end of Stearns Hill Road, in Chehalis, on December 24, 1985. The investigation revealed that the Maurins were both shot inside their vehicle, with a shotgun, and then dragged to the wooded location where they were later found by a passerby.

The Riffe brothers have been our primary suspects throughout our investigation. However, probable cause for their arrest was not developed until much later on, when additional evidence and witnesses came forth to collaborate and provide more information to complete the investigation. Detectives feel many witnesses did not come forward during the time of the initial investigation due to being fearful of the Riffe brothers and possible retaliation for speaking out.

Both Riffe brothers moved to Alaska in 1987 where they have resided since. Ironically, John Riffe died the week before the Sheriff’s Office purchased tickets to travel to Alaska to arrest both him and his brother.

It is through the tenacious, patient, and diligent work of Detective Bruce Kimsey, private investigator Chris Peterson, the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, and Ed and Minnie’s son, Dennis Hadaller that this day has finally come. The Maurin/Hadaller families suffered a horrific and tragic loss of their family members and now will be able to see justice served.

A press conference will be held on July 9th, at 1400 hours, in the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Training Room. I, along with Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Meyer, and Ed and Minnie’s son, Dennis Hadaller, will speak further about the investigation, the prosecution of Rick Riffe and what this arrest means to our community and the Maurin & Hadaller families.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield


Sheriff Mansfield's December E-Newsletter - Posted at: 2/2/2012 8:37:06 AM

Click here for Sheriff Mansfield's December Newsletter

Artist Sketch Rendered in Morton Remains Case - Posted at: 10/20/2011 2:15:22 PM

Detectives with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office have been provided with an artist’s sketch in which they hope will help them identify the human remains found near Morton in April of this year.

The artist’s rendering was made by studying the facial bones of the deceased female as an indication of what she may have looked like before her death.

Anyone with any information about this female or the case is asked to call the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office at (360) 748-9286 or Crime Stoppers (if the person wishes to remain anonymous) at 1-800-748-6422


Artist Sketch

Unidentified Female

Caucasian with some ethnicity
20-35 years of age
Small stature

Human remains were found on 04-07-2011 at approx. 1730 hrs, 100 yards up a logging spur from Highway 12, just outside of Morton, WA.

The medical examiner believes the remains to be those of a 20-35 year old female, Caucasian with possible mixed ethnicity, small stature, with dental and DNA available.

Anyone with information is asked to please contact the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, Det. Dan Riordan, at 360-740-2765, dan.riordan@lewiscountywa.gov

Sheriff's Statement - Coroner's Inquest: Ronda Reynolds - Posted at: 10/10/2011 2:52:15 PM

In response to media inquiries, the following statement is provided:

Since becoming Sheriff in 2005, my Office has worked diligently to address all legitimate concerns and information brought to our attention regarding the Ronda Reynolds investigation.

My Office has spent considerable time and effort in evaluating, investigating and reviewing all information, both new and old, surrounding the Ronda Reynolds case. Our actions have been fair, impartial, and complete.

Perhaps the process of the Coroner’s Inquest will bring forth new information that my Office can act upon and/or possibly bring some resolution to the Reynolds & Thompson families. However, the Coroner’s Inquest will not change the case disposition made by my Office. That disposition was a result of a complete investigation, and unless there is clear and compelling new information, the case will not be re-opened regardless of the outcome of the Coroner’s Inquest.

That said, if the Prosecuting Attorney of Lewis County determines that the case warrants an arrest and moves forward to prosecute, my Office will assist in the same professional and non-biased way that we always have.

There will be no further releases from my office regarding this matter until after the Coroner’s Inquest is complete.


Human Remains Found on Joerk Road in Randle - Posted at: 9/26/2011 9:44:02 AM

Human remains were located by a property owner in the 100 block of Joerk Road in Randle on Thursday morning, September 22, 2011.

Detectives of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office say it is a possibility that the remains could belong to a missing person reported to the Sheriff’s Office in April of 2011; however, there is not a positive identification at this time.  The remains were located approximately 1.5 miles from where the missing person was last seen.

Trisha Mckenzie-Fire, a 57 year old female from Randle, was last seen April 2, at approximately 0300, after a social gathering at her residence off of Silverbrook Road.

The skeletal remains will be sent to the King County Medical Examiner’s Office for a Forensic Anthropologist to examine and hopefully provide a positive identification and cause of death.

Sheriff's Office Recruiting New Volunteers - Posted at: 9/20/2011 8:40:55 AM

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office is now accepting applications for Support Volunteers.
The Support Volunteer Program has been in existence at the Sheriff’s Office for over 10 years and is still going strong.

The program is utilized to support the operational and administrative functions of the Sheriff’s Office, as well as assist in community events and programs.

Support Volunteers are involved in many programs such as:
• Child Identification Program
• Safety City
• Car Seat Safety
• Fraud/ID Theft
• Neighborhood Watch
• Prevent Crime – Lock Your Door Every Time
• Prescription Drug Awareness
• Underage Drinking Education
• Community events such as STP – Seattle to Portland Bicycle Ride, SW Washington Fair,   Lewis County Youth Fair, Packwood Flea Market

“We really value our Support Volunteers and appreciate the time and effort they put into helping the Sheriff’s Office meet its mission in making this community a safer place to work, live, and play. With our dwindling resources, the volunteers help us fill in the gaps to ensure we are actively involved in community events and programs,” said Sheriff Steve Mansfield.

Those interested may pick up applications at the front counter of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office.


Sheriff's Office Offers New Tool for Victims of Lost Property - Posted at: 9/15/2011 12:14:02 PM

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has developed a new tool that will, hopefully, aid in helping citizens claim their lost property.

Citizens who have lost property in Lewis County can now go to the LCSO website to see if their property has been turned in. The website address is: http://lewiscountywa.gov/sheriff/found-property.

Property Director Isabelle Williams said, “It is our goal to get property back to its rightful owner. We get a great deal of satisfaction and sense of accomplishment returning property to its owner – especially those treasured items that are irreplaceable and that they thought were lost forever."

Several methods are used by property and evidence staff to return lost property to its owner. Having the capability to put the information on the website will be very helpful to victims and citizens in finding their lost property as the posting can remain on the site until the owner claims it.

Last month 57 items were turned into the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office as lost property.
In 2010, 433 items were turned in.


Sheriff's Office Unveils New Program - Posted at: 8/30/2011 9:12:49 AM

Sheriff Steve Mansfield will be starting a new program at the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office that he hopes will slow down a growing crime trend in Lewis County.

The program, “Prevent Crime – Lock Your Doors Every Time,” begins next week. Sheriff Mansfield said, “Recently we have had numerous problems with vehicle prowls in our county. My office has developed an innovative program to help address vehicle prowls and thefts. This program is about prevention, education, and a strong community partnership to combat this plaguing problem.”

The program will consist of Deputies and Support Volunteers providing extra patrols in areas where the most crime has been reported. A postcard sized note will be left on windshields of vehicles alerting owners of the vehicles that their vehicle was checked. The citizen will receive a compliment for locking their door or tips on how to prevent thefts if their doors were unlocked or valuables were left in sight.

Many vehicle thefts and thefts from vehicles in Lewis County are preventable. A high percentage of vehicle thefts and vehicle prowls occur to vehicles left unlocked. Some vehicles have keys left in the ignition when they are stolen. Although some thieves do break windows to get inside of a vehicle, it isn’t as common as vehicle prowls where the door is simply opened and the vehicle is easily entered.

Areas which are targeted the most by thieves are public parking areas in rural areas such as Rails to Trails off of SR603 near SR6, in Adna.

“I am hoping this program will remind our community members to lock their doors, every time they leave their vehicle. I want to bring a positive message and informational reminder to our citizens that will help them from becoming a victim of this preventable crime,” said Sheriff Steve Mansfield.


Deputy Saves Elderly Disabled Woman From House Fire - Posted at: 8/15/2011 11:15:20 AM

Jason Mauermann, a Deputy with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, saved an elderly disabled woman from a burning house, Saturday morning, August 13, around 7:30 a.m.

The woman, 65 years or age, was asleep in her residence, in the 2100 block of Spencer Road, Salkum, when the home caught on fire. She awoke to flames and called 911 to report she was disabled and unable to escape on her own.

Deputy Mauermann responded and found the woman tangled up in a phone cord. After cutting it, he was able to pull her out of the house to safety. Personnel from Fire District 8 were on hand to begin treating the victim.

The woman was airlifted to Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Oregon. She is in critical but stable condition. She suffered smoke inhalation and burns to her body.

“Deputy Mauermann is the epitome of a dedicated first responder. While entry into a burning residence is usually the duty of a properly equipped and trained firefighter, Deputy Mauermann was the first to arrive on scene and took decisive action which resulted in saving this woman’s life. I cannot ask for anything more and am extremely proud of his actions, and the way in which he met our mission. I am grateful that everything turned out the way it did,” Sheriff Steve Mansfield said.


Deputy McKnight Returns to Patrol - Posted at: 7/8/2011 4:29:43 PM

Deputy Matt McKnight has been cleared to return to work and will resume normal patrol duties next week.

On June 20, 2011, Deputy McKnight, while on duty and assisting the Napavine Police Department with a dispute, was confronted by a volatile suspect. This confrontation resulted in Deputy McKnight shooting the suspect, Steven Petersen, who died at the scene.

As a result of this incident, the Regional Sheriff’s Critical Investigative Team was deployed to investigate the incident. Their findings were later turned over to the Lewis County Prosecuting Attorney who made a determination that the use of deadly force by Deputy McKnight was justified and the prosecutor’s Office would not pursue criminal charges in this matter.

After receiving the results of the investigation and the prosecutor’s determination, the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office conducted an internal investigation that included a shooting review board and a policy, procedure and training review. The information obtained in the internal investigation confirmed that Deputy McKnight acted within the confines of the law and did not deviate from Sheriff’s Office policy, procedure and training.

“This incident, while tragic for so many reasons, drives home the reality of the dangers of this profession and the importance of how we conduct ourselves and what we do each and every day to achieve our mission and protect those we serve. It is unfortunate but it is a reality that law enforcement must at times resort to the use of deadly force to protect themselves and others during volatile situations. This incident, was unfortunately one of those situations,” said Sheriff Steve Mansfield.


Sheriff Mansfield's June E-Newsletter - Posted at: 6/17/2011 3:51:25 PM

Click here for Sheriff Mansfield's June 2011 E-Newsletter

Assault Suspect in Custody - Posted at: 6/9/2011 8:57:39 AM

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detectives located Javier Jimenez Villalavazo in the Lacey area last night, June 8, 2011, at approximately 1901 hours, after the detectives received a tip on his whereabouts. He was arrested and booked into the Lewis County Jail for Assault 1st for the shooting which occurred in Napavine on Monday.

Multiple agencies assisted the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office in the arrest, including Thurston County Sheriff’s Office, Centralia, Lacey, Tumwater, and Olympia Police Department’s.

As law enforcement set up containment around the house Villalavazo was alleged to be in, he was observed leaving the residence. When Villalavazo was contacted, he started to flee and a Tumwater PD K9 quickly apprehended him.

Sheriff Steve Mansfield said, “I am very proud of the diligent and tenacious work done over the past three days by our office and other agencies who assisted us in locating a dangerous suspect so quickly. He is off the streets and the community should feel safer knowing he is in custody. This was outstanding teamwork between several different law enforcement agencies.”


Sheriff's Office Receives WASPC Accreditation Award - Posted at: 6/1/2011 8:23:59 AM

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office received formal notice that they are an official WASPC (Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs) Accredited Agency on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, at a WASPC Conference held in Yakima. The accreditation process took the Sheriff’s Office over a year to complete.

Only fifty (approximately) agencies statewide have met the accreditation standards and have been awarded the accredited agency status. The process takes considerable time and effort and determination for an agency to complete.

“This formal Accreditation is something our office and the community should be very proud of. The men and women employed by this office continually strive to make a positive difference in our community. The accreditation is just another way to show members of this community how truly professional and progressive our office is. The formal accreditation does not change the standard of excellence I have always expected from members of the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office but it does prove to the public that we are following the best practices and models set forth by Washington State Law Enforcement,” said Sheriff Steve Mansfield.

From the WASPC Website

What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is a way of helping institutions evaluate and improve their overall performance. The key to this successful system lies in the consensus of published and circulated standards containing a clear statement of professional objectives. There are two accreditation programs: Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) program and the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) program. CALEA is a national program for all agencies and WASPC is just for Washington agencies. In 2001 WASPC entered into an alliance with CALEA and adopted their standards as WASPC's.

Washington's Program
The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC) Accreditation Program is intended to provide law enforcement agencies of this state an avenue for demonstrating that they meet commonly accepted standards for efficient and effective operation. The program is voluntary and is open to all general law enforcement agencies having primary responsibility for the enforcement of Washington criminal and traffic laws.
Benefits of Accreditation Include:
• To increase public confidence in the agency
• To increase credibility
• To provide a systemized agency self-assessment
• To broaden perspectives
• To intensify administrative and operational effectiveness
• To ensure recruitment, selection, and promotion processes are fair and equitable
• To strengthen understanding of agency policies and procedures by agency personnel
• To improve agency morale and pride
• To decrease susceptibility to litigation and costly civil court settlements
• To potentially reduce liability insurance costs
• To provide state and local recognition of professional competence

The Accreditation Process:
The Accreditation process occurs in seven phases: Interest and Contract; Self-Assessment; On-Site Assessment and Evaluation; Accreditation Commission Review; Executive Board Review; Award; and Re-Accreditation.


Arrest Made in Varner Death Investigation - Posted at: 4/14/2011 10:00:32 AM

On April 13, 2011, detectives from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office flew to Los Angeles, California, and took custody of Kenneth R. Varner, 34 years of age, from Olympia. Mr Varner was flown back to Washington State where he was booked into the Lewis County Jail.

Mr. Varner was wanted on charges of Theft in the First Degree and Promoting a Suicide Attempt. These charges were a result of an extensive investigation into the death of his father, James Varner, who was found deceased in the Packwood area in February of 2006.

Mr. Varner had been living in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and was deported by Mexican officials. On March 31st, he arrived in Los Angeles and was immediately taken into custody by the United States Marshalls Service.

Mr. Varner’s next court appearance will be on April 14th, at 4:15 p.m., in Lewis County Superior Court.


Remains Identified - Posted at: 4/12/2011 9:00:44 AM

The human remains found near Mineral on Saturday, March 26, 2011, have been positively identified as Michael Lloyd Riemer.  Riemer was originally reported as a missing person in December of 1985 to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. Riemer was missing along with his significant other, Diana Robertson, also from Pierce County.

Their two year old daughter was found wandering alone at a Spanaway K-Mart on the same day Riemer and Robertson went missing.

Riemer was 36 years old at the time of his disappearance. Robertson was 21 at the time of her disappearance.

Robertson’s remains were found February of 1986 on an abandoned logging road north of Mineral. Riemer’s remains were located within a mile of where Robertson’s remains had been previously located. During 1986 there were several attempts to find Riemer through numerous Search and Rescue missions.

Information on the case aired on the television show Unsolved Mysteries in 1989 and generated numerous tips over the years as to the whereabouts of Riemer. Riemer was a person of interest in the death of Robertson as he had not been located after Robertson’s body was found and his whereabouts were still unknown.

Detectives with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office have notified Pierce County Sheriff’s Department of the identification of Riemer and a joint investigation continues.

If anyone has any information about this case, please call the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office at (360) 748-9286 or Crime Stoppers 1-800-748-6422.


Skeletal Remains Found Near Morton - Posted at: 4/11/2011 9:57:02 AM

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detectives responded on 04/07/11, at approximately 1730 hours, to the Morton area in reference to human skeletal remains being found by a citizen.

A man called 911 to report he had pulled off the highway to take a break. As he got out of his car he noticed skeletal remains of a human, off the side of the road. The surrounding area is a rural wooded area.

The gender, age, and how long the remains have been there is unknown at this time. The remains will be sent to King County Medical Examiner’s Office for a forensic pathologist to examine, within the next few days.

Lewis County Search and Rescue will be in the area with detectives today conducting an area search to locate potential evidence.

We are not releasing exact location of where remains were found at this time.

Further information will be released as it is known.


Human Skull Found Near Mineral - Posted at: 3/30/2011 11:16:50 AM

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating a partial human skull found in a wooded area near Mineral on Saturday, March 26, 2011.

The skull was located by someone hiking in the area. Detectives, with the assistance of Lewis County Search and Rescue, are continuing to search the area for potential evidence.

At this time, identification of the skull is unknown. The skull will be sent to a forensic pathologist for further examination.


Three Deceased in Winlock - Posted at: 3/16/2011 9:23:22 AM

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Detectives responded last night, March 15, 2011, at approximately 2115 hours, to a residence in the 300 block of Frost Road, Winlock, in reference to three deceased people found inside of the residence.

Through initial investigation and evidence, it appears there was no forced entry into the home and the deaths are a result of a double murder-suicide. The Washington State Patrol Total Station Team assisted our office in the investigation.

Deceased include a 65 year old female, 57 year old male, and an 18 year old male. The deceased were related and resided in the home together.

The family appeared to have died from gunshot wounds. Autopsies have been scheduled for Friday.

Three dogs and a cat belonging to the family were also found deceased at the home.

The investigation is ongoing and we will release further information as it is known.


Detectives Seek Information on Missing Person - Kayla Mae Croft-Payne - Posted at: 12/14/2010 3:07:27 PM

Detectives from the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate the disappearance of 18 year old Kayla Mae Croft-Payne. Kayla was reported missing to the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office on May 5, 2010. Kayla was residing in Lewis County, but her last known location was in the Cowlitz County area. Kayla is also known to frequent Grays Harbor and Pierce County. Kayla is described as a white female, 5’06”, 105 pounds, blue eyes and brown hair.

Kayla was reported by a friend who had not seen or heard from her for several days. Croft appeared to be a frequent user of MySpace.com leading up to her disappearance, but has not accessed her account since April 28th, 2010.

Detectives are treating this case as an active and ongoing investigation with leads continuing to be investigated.

Anyone with information on Croft-Payne’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Website at http://tips.lewiscountywa.gov -or- CRIMESTOPPERS at http://www.lewiscountycrimestoppers.org . These sites can be accessed and information left anonymously.

Safe Option for Disposal of Unused Medicines - Posted at: 11/18/2010 3:38:45 PM


Lewis County Public Health & Social Services, in partnership with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office, Morton Police Department and Centralia Police Department, have developed a prescription drug disposal program for Lewis County.

The goals of this program are to offer safe and anonymous disposal of unused or unwanted prescription medications, and to reduce the potential for medications to fall into the hands of children and teenagers, or adults who may misuse them.

Additionally, this important program will help protect our environment and drinking water supply as people will no longer need to flush unused medicine down the toilet or put them in the garbage.

Thanks to funding from Northwest High Intensity Drug Trafficking (NW HIDTA), we were able to purchase four secure disposal bins. The bins will be located throughout the county at monitored and protected disposal locations. The locations are:

• Lewis County Law & Justice Center (inside) 345 W. Main Street, Chehalis
• Centralia Police Department (outside) 316 N. Pearl Street, Centralia
• Morton Police Department (outside) 260 Main Street, Morton
• Sheriff’s Office Packwood Substation (inside) 12990 US Highway 12, Packwood

Many citizens aren’t aware of their options for the disposal of unused medicines, and sometimes dispose of them improperly or leave them sitting in cabinets and drawers. Ideally, pharmaceutical manufacturers would provide and fund unused medicine return programs across the country. Unfortunately, such programs are rare.

In Washington there are only six other counties (Kitsap, King, Thurston, Pierce, Snohomish, and Spokane) with unused medicine return programs. Lewis County Public Health & Social Services and the Sheriff’s Office is proud of this program and hopes the citizens of Lewis County will take full advantage of the ability to safely dispose of their medications.

For more information, call Lewis County Public Health & Social Services: 360-740-1223.


Sheriff Mansfield October E-Newsletter - Posted at: 10/29/2010 10:19:49 AM

Click here for Sheriff Mansfield's October E-Newsletter

Boating Safety Event - Posted at: 6/25/2015 8:37:13 AM

Notice of Law Enforcement Auctions - Posted at: 5/4/2015 12:30:48 PM

Notice of Law Enforcement Auctions - Posted at: 5/4/2015 12:30:20 PM

Mandatory Boating Safety Education Class Offered in Lewis County - Posted at: 4/20/2015 10:29:11 AM

Another Scam Targets Elderly in South Lewis County - Posted at: 8/15/2011 11:23:45 AM

Sheriff Mansfield E-Newsletter June 2010 - Posted at: 6/16/2010 4:33:49 PM

Sheriff Mansfield E-Newsletter - Posted at: 5/14/2010 4:57:34 PM

Sheriff's E-Newsletter November 2009 - Posted at: 11/20/2009 4:11:13 PM

Sheriff Mansfield E-Newsletter - Posted at: 6/19/2009 2:21:51 PM

To view Sheriff Mansfield's June e-newsletter, click here