Columbia Co. Sheriff's Office
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News Releases
35-Year-Old Kelso Man Arrested on Rape/Sex Abuse Charges (Photo) - 01/18/18

A joint Columbia County Sheriff's Office and Scappoose Police investigation into child rape and sexual abuse alleged to have occurred most recently at 2-1/2 years ago has resulted in the arrest of a 35-year-old Kelso man.

Erick W. Itza-Briceno is lodged in the Columbia County Jail this evening on 8 counts of Rape First Degree and two counts of Sexual Abuse.

Three victims, currently 23, 14 and 12 years of age have disclosed Itza-Briceno had groomed and sexually abused them when they were between the ages of 9 and 14 years old. The vicitm who is currently 23 years old alleged that the suspect abused her approximately three times a month between the ages of 11 and 14 when she lived in Scappoose. The two younger victims alleged the sexual abuse occurred in the St. Helens area, most recently 2-1/2 years ago.

The case first came to the Sheriff's Office's attention through a child abuse report through DHS. Information developed in the case showed that abuse occurred 2-1/2 years ago at a home on Fisher Lane in the St. Helens area. Subsequent investigation developed the other victim. All the victims know each other and have known the suspect for many years.

"Child sex abuse is so destructive to families," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. "Our investigators have to sort through a lot of sordid details to get to the facts in these cases. I'm so grateful for the dedication of our investigation team, which was able to work with the Amani Center and the Scappoose Police Department in developing this investigation and to bring charges in this case."

Attached Media Files: Itza-Briceno
Domestic Violence Suspect Charged with Attempted Murder of his Child (Photo) - 01/18/18

A suspect charged with assaulting his spouse with hot frying oil and also with Attempted Murder of his minor child was arraigned yesterday on multiple counts of domestic violence, according to Columbia County Sheriff investigators.

Deputies responded to the 19000 block of Swedetown Rd in the Clatskanie area after a report of domestic violence from a domestic violence advocate late Tuesday evening. Deputies received the call at 8:22 p.m., and responded to find the suspect gone and injuries to the victim spouse and the couple's 7-month-old son. The female victim showed signs of having her hands forced into hot frying oil, and the child showed signs of having been strangled.

Deputies began searching for the suspect, locating him just after midnight Wednesday morning at the suspect's place of employment on Old Portland Rd. in St. Helens. He was taken into custody without incident. St. Helens Police assisted deputies in locating and arresting the suspect, Jeremiah D. Crothers, 34, Clatskanie.

Crothers was arraigned in court Wednesday morning on the following charges: Attempted Murder, Strangulation, Assault Second Degree, Assault 3rd Degree, Assault Fourth Degree (2 counts), Coercion and Attempted Assault Fourth Degree. He remains in custody with bail set at $217,750.

The PC affidavit and DA's information detailing the findings of our deputy's investigation is included with this release.

"The allegations in support of this arrest are alarming," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. "Domestic Violence is a scourge that our deputies frequently encounter. Fortunately, we were able to find the suspect in a timely manner and put a stop to the violence, and give this mom and child a chance to survive."

Attached Media Files: Crothers_PC_aff.DA.Info.pdf , Crothers
Arrest Warrant Scam Hits Columbia County - 01/08/18

Deputies are investigating a phone scam responsible for defrauding individuals in Columbia County of thousands of dollars.

A preliminary investigation is showing that phone scammers appear to be blanketing Columbia County and surrounding areas demanding money to pay for a phony warrant that was put out for their targeted victim. The scammers claim to be local Law Enforcement, then ask their victims to purchase Trans Union, Green Dot or some other pre-paid multi sourced card. The scammer then asks the victim to give them the card codes over the telephone.

Law Enforcement will NEVER ask for money over the telephone or tell you you have a warrant for your arrest over the telephone. You will not have a warrant for your arrest for "missing jury duty" either. Please just hang up if these scammers call you.

Items recovered during Search at suspect residence
Items recovered during Search at suspect residence
Deputies Conduct Sting Operation; Arrest Six in Burglary/Theft of Collectibles (Photo) - 01/08/18

On December 8, 2017, Columbia County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a reported burglary on Laurelwood Rd in Rainier, OR, in which, the victim reported that his home had been burglarized. Weeks later, a pawn shop query developed leads that led investigators to suspects in the burglary and a sting operation in which deputies arrested the suspects and recovered many stolen items.

The case came together after the original call came in when no deputies were on duty, and the call out procedure between Dispatch and deputies failed to work properly. Deputies responded later that day to take the burglary and theft report from the victim, Terry Wyle, 61, South Beach, Ore. Then, on December 27, 2017, a pawn shop in Longview, WA notified the Sheriff's Office of some suspicious items that had been pawned. A CCSO Detective responded to the pawn shop and identified one suspect from pawn shop records.

Through subsequent investigation, investigators located additional stolen items for sale some social media sites, and On January 2, 2018 conducted a sting operation in Rainier. David Glenn Barker, 33, Rainier and Daniel Fredrick Gomez, 43, Rainier were taken into custody as a result of this buy-bust operation. Investigators also seized a truck that had been used in the burglary and that also contained additional stolen property.

Detectives subsequently executed a search warrant on Gomez's house located in the 73000 block of Lindberg Road in Rainier on January 2. That house had previously been part of a months-long narcotics investigation by the Columbia Enforcement Narcotics Team (CENT).. Located during the execution of the January 2 search warrant was over $10,000 worth of stolen collectible memorabilia that belonged to Wylie. Deputies also seized a car that contained additional stolen items. Arrested at the scene of the search warrant was Desiree Kristine Kauffman, 27, Rainier and Vanessa Jeanette Zamora, 33, Rainier. A 3 year old juvenile was also placed into the custody of DHS -- Child Welfare.

An additional search warrant was written to access the items located inside of the car seized at Gomez's house and an additional $3000 - $4000 worth of stolen items were recovered from the vehicle. The investigation is ongoing, and we expect to recover additional stolen items.
Investigators also identified two additional suspects in the case: Rebecca Lynn Wynn, 30, Rainier and Bruce Dylan Arquette, 22, Rainier. Arquette and Wynn were arrested December 28 following a Columbia Enforcement Narcotics Team (CENT) investigation and charged with drug delivery offenses. Subsequent investigation developed the two as being linked to this burglary/theft case, as well. A total of 6 people have been arrested as a result of this investigation, and they are as follows:

Daniel Fredrick Gomez -- Burglary I, Aggravated Theft I (2 counts), Burglary II, Theft I, Unlawful Possession of Methamphetamine, Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance, U and Endangering the Welfare of a Minor
David Glenn Barker -- Burglary I, Theft I (2 counts), Criminal Mischief II, Burglary II and Theft I
Vanessa Jeanette Zamora -- Theft I, Unlawful Possession of a Controlled Substance and Endangering the Welfare of a Minor
Rebecca Lynn Wynn --Theft I (2 counts)
Desiree Kristine Kauffman -- Theft I, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor and a Felony Fugitive Warrant out of Washington State
Bruce Dylan Arquette -- Theft I.