Former Inyo County Sheriff’s Department Corporal Nick Vaughn was arrested today by Investigators from the Inyo County District Attorney’s office on charges stemming from an alleged misappropriation of public funds.
After an internal investigation, the Sheriff’s Department referred the case to the District Attorney’s office for a criminal investigation. After a lengthy investigation, a criminal complaint has been filed charging Mr. Vaughn with misappropriating over $10,000.00 that had been collected by him from participants in the Sheriff’s Department Work Release Program. Participants in the program are required to pay certain fees to the Department, and it is alleged that a portion of those fees were diverted to Mr. Vaughn’s personal use or the use of other individuals. Mr. Vaughn was the supervisor of the Work Release Program from approximately May, 2014 to March, 2018.
At this time, no other employees of the Sheriff’s Department are implicated in the investigation.
Mr. Vaughn was booked at the Inyo County Jail. Bail on the arrest warrant was set at $15,000.00.
The District Attorney reminds the public that a defendant in any criminal case is presumed to be innocent until the contrary is proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
A woman was arrested Thursday after a vehicle spin-out in Poverty Hills.
22 year old, Kianna Hoops from Reno, Nevada was driving a gray Honda Accord south of Big Pine when she lost control of her vehicle for an unknown reason and spun out.
When Hoops lost control of her vehicle, CHP arrived on the scene to investigate the accident. While conducting an inspection, the officer checked inside the vehicle and discovered a lever action firearm as well as a small amount of drugs.
After running the serial number, the officer determined that the firearm was not registered to Hoops, and was stolen.
Kianna Hoops was subsequently arrested for possession of stolen property, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia. She was detained and booked at the Inyo County Jail. Her bail is set for $15,000.
BISHOP, CA. April 29, 2019 – Inyo County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched shortly after midnight to South Valley View, Bishop, CA, for a report of a gunshot victim with the suspect still on scene.
Sheriff’s Deputies along with the assistance of California Highway Patrol, Mono County Sheriff, and Bishop Police arrived at the location and made entry into the residence. The victim was located with a gunshot wound to the leg.
Justin Montgomery, a 37-year old Bishop man, was arrested on the following charges: attempted murder, assault with a firearm on a person, domestic violence, possession of a firearm by a prohibited person, violation of domestic violence court order, and violation of probation.
The victim was transported to Northern Inyo Hospital; Montgomery was arrested without incident and booked into the Inyo County Jail.
Debra Didisee Arrested on Embezzlement Charges
District Attorney Investigators arrested former Correctional Officer Debra Didisee on embezzlement charges Thursday morning after she voluntarily surrendered herself at the DA’s office. The District Attorney has filed a complaint alleging six felony counts and one misdemeanor count of embezzlement which are alleged to have occurred over a four year period while she was employed as a Correctional Officer for the Inyo County Sheriff. The Sheriff had referred the matter to the District Attorney’s office for investigation in December when the Sheriff’s Department became aware of potential missing funds in the Inmate Welfare Account and the Inmate Commissary Account at the Inyo County Jail. Ms. Didisee is no longer employed by the Sheriff’s Department.
Ms. Didisee was booked at the Inyo County Jail and posted a $35,000.00 bail bond. She was ordered to appear in the Inyo County Superior Court on April 20, 2015.
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Bishop Pet Store owner pleads no contest
Inyo County Sheriffs department press release:
Inyo County Animal Services Officers recently conducted an investigation into the current owner of Dusty’s Pet Store, 56 year old Rick Rennaker from Bishop, following several calls from the public regarding the health and welfare of animals for sale. The investigation, which began shortly after Rennaker opened for business in December of 2014, resulted in multiple citations.
On February 23rd, Rennaker entered a plea of no contest to two misdemeanor pet shop violations: (failure to properly house, feed, and take reasonable care to sell animals free of disease or injury). Rennaker was placed on 24-month summary probation; he is not to own, operate or work in any business regarding the sale of animals.
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BISHOP PAIUTE TRIBE SUPPORTS TRIBAL POLICE OFFICER
The Bishop Paiute Tribe issued the following statement:
“The Bishop Paiute Tribe would like to take this opportunity to state its support of Tribal Police Officer Daniel Johnson. The Bishop Tribe has maintained a police department since 2009 and its mission is to ensure public safety to the reservation residents and visitors. The incident leading to Officer Johnson’s arrest occurred on December 24, 2014, after he responded to a tribal member’s call for protection in a disturbance by a non-Indian individual who is ordered by both the tribal and state courts to have no contact with the tribal member. Officer Johnson was acting under tribal authority and was carrying out his duties as a Tribal Police Officer for the Bishop Paiute Tribe at the time of the incident.
The Tribe wishes to thank Officer Johnson for his past and continued service to the Tribe and recognize his commitment to the safety and well-being of the Bishop Paiute Reservation and all of its residents. The Tribe and the Tribal Police Department have worked earnestly in the past with the Sheriff’s Department to ensure the public safety on the Bishop Reservation. It is unfortunate and regrettable that the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney has taken the unprecedented actions against Officer Johnson and fails to recognize the inherent Tribal sovereignty of the Bishop Paiute Tribe (including the authority bestowed to our Tribal Police Department). The Bishop Paiute Tribal Police Department continues its commitment to public safety and the protection of all citizens and residents of the Reservation and surrounding communities.”
Johnson, arrested on January 6th, is facing charges of battery, false imprisonment, and acting under the color of authority.
RESPONSE FROM DISTRICT ATTORNEY TOM HARDY
Response to Bishop Paiute Tribe Press Release of February 17, 2015
On or about January 5, 2015, the District Attorney filed a criminal complaint alleging three felony charges and one misdemeanor charge against Mr. Daniel Johnson. Specifically, he is charged with
violating Penal Code section 244.5(b), assault with a stun gun; Penal Code section 236, false imprisonment; Penal Code section146a(b), falsely representing himself to be a public officer; and Penal Code section 242, simple battery. The charges are based on allegations that Mr. Johnson used unlawful force on the person of another, and was the result of an investigation conducted by the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department.
The District Attorney’s office reviewed the investigation reports with the same degree of scrutiny that it would apply to any case submitted to it, and determined that sufficient legal cause existed to file the case and to proceed in court. Mr. Johnson is, of course, presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Pursuant to an Act of Congress, State law enforcement authorities in the State of California are obligated to investigate and prosecute crimes alleged to have been committed on reservation lands in
the state, including the Bishop Paiute Reservation. The Inyo County District Attorney takes its obligation to provide criminal justice services to all citizens of Inyo County, including all tribal
members and reservation residents, very seriously.
As we all know from recent events around our nation, no one, including peace officers employed by federal, state, and local agencies, are immune from investigation and prosecution of alleged criminal acts. The charges against Mr. Johnson will proceed in court and he will receive all of the protections accorded to anyone charged with a crime. Because of Congress’s grant of criminal jurisdiction to California state authorities, this case has nothing to do with tribal sovereignty. The District Attorney absolutely respects the sovereignty of the Bishop Paiute Tribe, and all of the federally-recognized tribes in our County. The office will continue to work with all stake-holders to ensure equal access to justice for everyone in Inyo County.
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