Jackson Co. Sheriff's Office
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Crash scene photo
Crash scene photo
One Dead, One Injured in Prospect Crash (Photo) - 09/09/19

PROSPECT – One person died and another was injured in a fiery crash early Sunday morning near Prospect.  Medical examiner investigators have tentatively identified the decedent as a Prospect man.

On September 8, 2019, at 1:15 a.m., Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies responded to a 911 call reporting a motor vehicle crash in the 1800-block of Mill Creek Drive.  Deputies say the vehicle, a 2007 Dodge Ram 2500, was southbound on Mill Creek Drive when it left the roadway, struck a tree, and then caught fire. 

The driver was ejected into the bed of the pickup during the impact.  Witnesses were unable to remove the driver from the pickup bed before it caught fire.  Personnel from Prospect Fire responded to the scene to fight the fire, which spread to nearby vegetation.  

An adult male passenger was able to walk away from the crash, but was injured.  He was transported to Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center by Mercy Flights ambulance for treatment. 

An investigator with the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene.  Based on witness statements and available evidence, the driver has been tentatively identified as Justin Anthony Ghirardo, 41, of Prospect.  Further investigation, including scientific studies, is underway to make an official determination of identification, as well as cause and manner of death.  Ghirardo’s family has been notified.

Deputies say high speed and alcohol use are believed to be factors contributing to the crash.  They are assisted in the ongoing crash investigation by the Serious Traffic Accident Reconstruction (STAR) team.  Jackson County Roads personnel closed the roadway for several hours during the investigation and debris removal.  

Case #19-19071

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Attached Media Files: Crash scene photo
Detectives Investigate Apparent Homicide-Suicide - 09/04/19

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) detectives say two people were found dead in their home Monday.  Investigators believe the deaths were a result of a homicide-suicide. 

On September 2, 2019, at 12:15 p.m., a man requested a welfare check at a neighbor’s home in the 3200-block of New Ray Road, Central Point.  The man reported he had not seen the occupants for some time and he could smell an odor coming from the home. 

Deputies responded to the residence and found the bodies of two people inside, both with apparent gunshot wounds.  Two pets, a rabbit and a cat, were also found in the home with gunshot wounds.  Investigators with the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office responded to the scene.

Medical examiner investigators identified the decedents as Shayne Justin Cleaveland, 44, and his mother, Robin Meinhart, 68.  Both resided in the home.  The pair had reportedly not been seen for at least a week before deputies were called for the welfare check.

Investigators concluded that Cleaveland shot Meinhart and the pets, and then took his own life.  Medical examiner investigators have reviewed a note left by Cleaveland.  The involved firearms were recovered at the scene.  The next-of-kin has been notified of the deaths. 

In the wake of this incident, JCSO officials want to remind everyone that services are available 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). 

Information about additional resources and suicide prevention can be found at http://jacksoncountyor.org/hhs/Mental-Health/ .  A resource guide for media best practices regarding reporting on suicide can be found at http://reportingonsuicide.org/ .

Case #19-18606

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Alexander booking 083019
Alexander booking 083019
Mother Arrested for Assault (Photo) - 09/03/19

EAGLE POINT, Ore. – An Eagle Point woman is in jail on charges related to the physical abuse of her infant daughter.  Jackson County Sheriff’s Office detectives say the baby sustained multiple injuries, including bone fractures.

On August 25, 2019, at 11:23 a.m., JCSO deputies were contacted by staff at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center reporting that a baby had been brought to the emergency room with suspicious injuries.  Detectives responded to the hospital to continue the investigation.  Staff with the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) Child Welfare Division also responded.

The girl, age three months, was transported to Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) hospital to receive treatment for multiple bone fractures and other injuries at various stages of healing.  She was later released into DHS foster care pending the outcome of the investigation.

On August 30, detectives arrested the child’s mother, Britney Elizabeth Alexander, 23, of the 8700-block of South Fork Little Butte Creek Road, on charges of first and second degree assault.  She was lodged in jail.  

The case was forwarded to the district attorney’s office; the specific charges are expected to be updated once prosecutors review the evidence in the case.  Arraignment was scheduled in Jackson County Circuit Court for September 3 at 1:45 p.m.

Anyone with additional information about the case can call the JCSO tip line at (541) 770-8333.  Refer to case #19-17936.

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Attached Media Files: Alexander booking 083019
FILE - May 2017 DUII crash
FILE - May 2017 DUII crash
Deputies Focus on End-of-Summer Traffic Safety *UPDATE* (Photo) - 09/03/19

Update, 9/3/19:

Jackson County Sheriff's Office (JCSO) deputies have completed grant-funded traffic safety periods focused on the enforcement of impaired driving and passenger restraint laws. Below are the associated statistics:

August 19 - September 1

  • Seatbelt, child safety seat violations:  18 citations

August 16 - September 2

  • Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants (DUII): Alcohol, 13 arrests; Marijuana, 1 arrest.

The next grant-funded DUII enforcement period will be planned for Halloween.  

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Original release, 8/15/19:

JACKSON COUNTY, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) deputies are focusing on traffic safety as summer comes to a close and kids head back to school.  Grant funding will allow JCSO to add enforcement patrols for both impaired driving and occupant safety without diverting deputies from regular calls for service. 

From this Friday through Labor Day (August 16 – September 2, 2019), JCSO is participating in an end-of-summer enforcement effort to find drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  The added patrols can occur anywhere in the county, but deputies will give added attention to recreation areas and rural roadways that have previously seen crashes involving impairment.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, 10,874 people in the United States died in motor vehicle crashes involving drivers with a blood alcohol limit of 0.08% or higher – an average of one death every 48 minutes.

Oregon law prohibits drivers from having a blood alcohol level of 0.08%, or from being impaired to a perceptible degree.  Driving under the influence of intoxicants (DUII) – alcohol, drugs, or a combination – is a crime in Oregon.  Penalties vary depending on prior DUII convictions, the level of impairment, and other factors.

During an overlapping period between August 19 and September 1, JCSO is taking part in a nationwide “Click it or Ticket” enforcement period, with a special focus on occupant safety for children.  The added patrols will occur primarily during the daytime hours when children are most likely to be traveling on area roadways.  

NHTSA statistics show that 662 children under the age of 13 were killed in passenger vehicle crashes in the US in 2015.  Of those killed, more than one in three were unrestrained. 

Oregon’s current laws require children under 40 pounds to be properly restrained in a child safety seat; infants must ride rear-facing until age two.  Children over 40 pounds or who have reached the upper weight limit of their car seat's harness system, must use a booster seat until they are 4-feet, 9-inches tall AND age 8. 

Children who have exceeded the height and age requirements must be buckled properly in a regular seat belt.  Proper seat belt use means making sure the lap belt is positioned low across the thighs and the shoulder belt fits across the collarbone, not across the neck.  Failing to properly use safety belts or child restraints is a Class D traffic violation with a $115 base fine.

Traffic safety experts recommend to keep kids buckled in safety seats and booster seats even longer than the legal requirements for optimal safety.  Learn more about selecting and installing car seats at the SafeKids website:  https://www.safekids.org/ultimate-car-seat-guide/ .

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Stevenson booking 060319
Stevenson booking 060319
Sex Offender Charged with Additional Crimes (Photo) - 09/03/19

TRAIL, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) detectives have added charges related to the possession of images of child sexual abuse to a man already in jail.  The suspect is the same man recently accused of trying to photograph girls in a Talent school locker room.

On May 29, 2018, JCSO detectives were alerted to suspicious online activity by the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ) Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force.  The DOJ had received information from the National Center for Missing and Exploited children (NCMEC) regarding images of child sexual abuse that were uploaded by a Facebook user. 

Through information obtained by ICAC investigators and JCSO detectives, the suspect in the case was identified as Curtis Bradley Stevenson (AKA Smith), 40, of the 7200-block of Crowfoot Road, Trail.  Stevenson was a registered sex offender. 

Detectives served a search warrant at Stevenson’s residence on June 14, 2018.  Several items of evidence were seized, including electronic devices.  The devices were transferred to the DOJ lab to complete a forensic search.  Detectives were further assisted in the investigation by agents with the US Department of Homeland Security. 

In the meantime, JCSO detectives were asked to assist the Talent Police Department (TPD) with a separate case involving Stevenson, now age 41.  TPD arrested Stevenson on June 3, 2019, after he was suspected of entering the girls’ locker room at Talent Middle School and attempting to take photographs.  Stevenson remained lodged in jail as detectives continued the investigation.

In August 2019, JCSO detectives received a report from DOJ investigators regarding the search of Stevenson’s devices from the 2018 case.  DOJ forensic investigators reported finding multiple images depicting child sexual abuse on the devices. 

On September 3, 2019, detectives added ten counts of encouraging child sex abuse in the first degree to Stevenson’s booking charges at the jail.  Detectives simultaneously added nine charges of attempting to use a child in a display of sexual conduct related to the TPD investigation (refer to information released by TPD for details).

Detectives say cases involving electronic evidence are increasingly common, and the investigations can be lengthy and complicated. They wish to thank the personnel from all of the involved agencies for their diligence and collaboration on this investigation. 

Case #18-10668

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Attached Media Files: Stevenson booking 060319
Jail, Sheriff Sickler photo
Jail, Sheriff Sickler photo
Sheriff Sickler Reacts to State Cuts to Corrections Funding (Photo) - 08/29/19

Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler offers the following statement in reaction to an article published in The Oregonian on August 27, 2019:

You may have read news reports this week about an upcoming change in state funding for corrections programs.  While we will not receive full funding in Jackson County, we believe we will be able to avoid a reduction in corrections services.  However, with the enhanced budget indicated in the article, we could have been in a position to bolster programs that are much needed in our community.  

The state cuts affect programs designed to reduce county jail and state prison populations – a theme that has been touted by state government and law enforcement officials for years.  I won’t get into the weeds regarding the decision-making process that led to this change.  But, to me, it seems counterintuitive to reduce funding to the very programs that work to reduce recidivism and to help stop the “revolving door” of the criminal justice system.  

I would like to bring your attention to an excerpt from the Oregonian article, citing Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese regarding a pending 6% reduction in his county’s jail capacity.

“At that level, he said, the county would be at 95 percent capacity daily, requiring ‘significant’ emergency releases of inmates from jail that would be ‘catastrophic’ to the criminal justice system.”

Without making light of the situation in Multnomah County, what Sheriff Reese describes as “catastrophic” for his community has, unfortunately, been a reality in Jackson County for years.  The emergency release of inmates when a jail reaches or nears capacity – also known as a “forced release” – is normal here.  Our jail operates above 95% capacity every day.    

To put it into perspective, consider that Multnomah County – which has nearly four times the population of Jackson County – reported 186 forced releases from its jail in 2018.  In the same year, we had 5300 forced releases in Jackson County. 

While that may seem like a staggering comparison, consider that it has been worse.  We have made some progress in reducing forced releases over the last few years.  The 2018 total was a reduction from approximately 7000 in 2017 and 8600 in 2016.  We are on pace for about 4050 forced releases in 2019, which is a significant improvement, but it still means that inmates are being released before their cases go to court thousands of times every year.  A lack of jail space is clearly the weak link in our local system. 

We will continue to work with our community partners to work within the limited jail space we have.  But I will also continue to explore ways to fund a new, effective corrections facility that is adequate to handle the public safety issues that affect our community.

Thank you,

Sheriff Nathan Sickler

 

New Jail Project info and FAQs: http://jacksoncountyor.org/sheriff/Jail/New-Jail-Project

Attached Media Files: Jail, Sheriff Sickler photo
IMG_1811.jpg
IMG_1811.jpg
Drowning Victim Located on Lost Creek Lake (Photo) - 08/22/19

TRAIL, Ore. – On June 9, 2019, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) and other agencies responded to Lost Creek Lake for a reported drowning of two individuals. Deputies located the first victim, Irving Fuentes, 25, unresponsive in the water. He was transported to Providence Hospital where we was pronounced deceased.

The search for the second drowning victim, Juan Carlos Fuentes, 29, has been ongoing since the incident took place in June. Police, Fire, and Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel have worked diligently to recover Fuentes for his family.

Gene and Cindy Ralston, a retired couple from Idaho, were called upon for the search. The Ralston’s are experts in Side Scan Sonar and spend their retirement working to help families and searchers in situations like the one at Lost Creek Lake.

On August 20, the Ralstons arrived and quickly located an object believed to be a body approximately 135 feet below the surface.

On August 22, JCSO Marine Patrol and a JCSO Search and Rescue Dive Team began recovery efforts and were successful. The Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office has positively identified the subject as Juan Carlos Fuentes.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Search and Rescue personnel as well as Gene and Cindy Ralston for their help in allowing the Fuentes family to move forward in their grieving process.

Case #19-11565

Attached Media Files: IMG_1811.jpg , IMG_1805.jpg
Search for missing dementia patient in the Wimer area. *Update* - 08/19/19

Jackson County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue volunteers have located Mr. Brand alive and well.  He is being returned home.  Thanks to all who assisted. 

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ROGUE RIVER, Ore. – Jackson County Sheriff’s Office (JCSO) Deputies and Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteers are searching for a missing Dementia patient in the Wimer area.

The Sheriff's Office is looking for 86 year old Billy Brand. Brand lives off of Redthorne Rd., and is thought to have walked off sometime before noon on Monday the 19th.

Anyone with information about the location of Mr. Brand is asked to contact Sergeant Shawn Richards at 541-774-6800.

Attached Media Files: Brand.pdf