Community News

DOUBLE HOMICIDE IN BRIDGEPORT – UPDATED 11/13/20

UPDATED 11-13-20 @ 9:00a.m.: Inyo County Sheriff’s Office has identified the deceased as William Adrian Larsen, 35, and his wife Yesenia Larsen, 30, of Burbank.

Thanks to our media friends at KOMO 8 in Reno, confirming the couple was arrested in Erie, PA in 2018. William Larsen pled guilty to Possession of Marijuana with Intent to Deliver. Known in 2018 as Yesenia Arriaga, she did not plea, but entered and completed a court-mandated Accelerated Rehabilitation Disposition drug diversion program.

KIBS/KBOV News has confirmed that William was sentenced to 24 months, but served only six months under electronic custody.

The crime-fighting organization Secret Witness is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of a suspect.  Contact the Mono County Sheriff’s Office 760-932-7549.

ORIGINAL STORY  . . .

On Monday, November 9, just before 6:30 a.m., a Caltrans  snowplow driver observed two bodies on the shoulder of Highway 395, approximately ten miles north of Bridgeport. The highway was immediately closed, and personnel from the Mono County Sheriffs’ Office and CHP quickly responded to investigate.

It was determined that the man and woman had been murdered.

The Sheriff’s department office has taken the lead on the homicide investigation.

The names of the deceased will not be released until next of kin have been notified. It is confirmed that neither are local to Mono County or surrounding areas. The crime appears to be specific and targeted

The Sheriff’s Department stated, “There is no threat to the community of Bridgeport.”

Additional details will be released as they become available, provided the investigation will not be compromised.

Highway 395 in both directions was closed for the investigation until early Tuesday morning. A northbound detour was established on Hwy. 168/NV Hwy. 338, north to NV Hwy. 829 & 208 coming out on Hwy. 395 north of Topaz, NV. Same detour for reverse direction for southbound Hwy. 395 coming out of Minden/Gardnerville, NV.

Unfortunalty a big rig crashed, due to the traffic back up on Hwy. 182, which needed to be closed for about three hours. Caltrans announced northbound-through motorists  on Hwy. 395 approaching Bishop were advised to take Hwy 6. to U.S. Hwy. 50 to get to the Carson City area. In Mono County, Hwy. 167 to Hawthorne.

With all the closures, it was traveling nightmare for motorists and truckers with the addition of chain controls in effect on Hwy. 395 from Mammoth to June Lake, and through Lee Vining.

(Combined and edited reports from Inyo County Sheriff’s Office and Caltrans)

THANKS VFW POST 8988

Thanks to the veterans at Bishop’s VFW Post 8988 for placing the beautiful flags up an down Main Street (Highway 395) on Veterans Day. They were up by 7:00 a.m. and taken down as the sun went down, per United States guidelines for patriotic flag displays.

Unfortunately the VFW’s annual Veterans Day ceremony at the Pioneer Cemetery was cancelled due to COVID.

Thank you veterans for your service, and a special salute to the Vietnam vets  . . . Welcome Home!

 

VISIT DEATH VALLEY FREE

On Veterans Day, November 11, everyone is welcome to visit the park for free . . .  but . . .

Starting on Veterans Day, November 11, veterans, Gold Star families, and 5th-grade students can visit Death Valley National Park (and many other federal lands) for FREE. The fee-free change is permanent under a new Department of the Interior policy.

Fifth-grade students and their families have free access to Death Valley National Park through August 31, 2021. The students must bring a voucher to get free entry, which is available at nps.gov/kids. Information on special discount or free passes to other groups is available at nps.gov/planyourvisit/passes.htm.

Veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and Gold Star families will have permanent free access to national parks. (A visitor may prove their status as a veteran or a Gold Star dependent by presenting one of the following: Department of Defense Identification Card, Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC), Veteran ID Card, or Veteran’s designation on a state-issued driver’s license or identification card.)

(Photo courtesy of Death Valley National Park – Kurt Moses)

FIRST SNOW OF THE SEASON

Fall is officially over as the Eastern Sierra and the White Mountains got their first dusting on snow yesterday (Sunday 11/8). Light snow flurries fell all morning in Bishop and Big Pine. All day long, storm clouds would cover the Sierra Crest, then retreat a little exposing the white stuff, then return and dump more. Chains were required in the higher elevations of Hwy. 395, north of the  Mammoth cutoff.

Trucks coming down from up above were dumping melting snow and ice along the Hwy. 395 roadside. The snow in higher elevations up Bishop Creek Canyon stuck with about an inch of snow. The road was open and plowed up tot he summit of Hwy. 168.

Reminder Mammoth Mountain started blowing October 26, with a scheduled opening date of November 14, air service to Mammoth Airport resumes December 17, and June Mountain opens December 19.

(Thanks to Bill Arnold, John Sheppard and all the Ham Radio operators in BARC – the Bishop Amateur Radio Club for sharing their webcam position on their tower up on Silver Peak in the Whites.)

LOST HIKER SUCCUMBS TO COLD WEATHER

(STORY UPDATE 11-16-20 @ 11 a.m.) Over $62,000 has been raised on the Go Fund Me Page for Cassandra’s kids.

 

A hiker from Riverside, Cassandra Bravo, told her boyfriend she was going on a hike on Thursday, November 5, after dropping her son off in Lone Pine . She did not report in to her family by the evening hours.

Friends and family began a search on Friday, and notified the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff deputies found her car at Whitney Portal parking lot, located above 8,000 feet – the trail head for Mt. Whitney.

On Saturday, the Inyo County Search & Rescue Team (SAR) hiking through  cold temperatures and an expected snow fall, found the woman. Reportedly she had slipped, and fell down about 100-feet. Bravo was alive, mumbling, even after spending two nights in almost freezing temperatures wearing nothing more than a tank top and leggings.  She reportedly was able to find some form of shelter behind a large tree stump.

The woman was airlifted to the nearest trauma center, Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster. Despite the medical team’s attempts to stabilize her, she succumbed to her injuries.

Cassandra was an ER Nurse at Loma Linda Medical Center, and has two children.  A Go Fund Me page has been set up by her family and friends.

The Inyo SAR Team is a dedicated group of volunteers often called upon to provide search and rescue services to members of the public in distress, from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney in the rugged and diverse geographical terrain and  in extreme weather conditions.

(Partial information for this report provided by Sarah Wisniewski, and the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department.)

WYNONNA (YEAH, THAT WYNONNA) COMING TO BISHOP

Just announced for the 2021 TriCounty Fair, September 2 – 5, Wynonna & The Big Noise will perform on September 3, sponsored by 100.7 FM KIBS.

Her latest release, Recollections, is a captivating EP,  which is both a literal and a figurative homecoming for the GRAMMY-winning songstress who recorded much of the collection while quarantining on her Tennessee farm in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Forced off the road for the first time in years, she found herself reconnecting with her roots.

Wynonna and her mom, as The Judds, received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on June 15, but the ceremony was canceled due to COVID. It will be presented in a public ceremony on Hollywood Boulevard sometime in 2021.

200 KIDS AT LONE PINE TRICK OR TREAT

COVID couldn’t spoil Halloween for Lone Pine kids. Over 200 marched up and down to the businesses on Main Street (Highway 395) on October 31st, of course with social distancing and masks, even over their costume mask.

John Tuner, owner of Elevations, on the corner of Main Street and Whitney Portal Road, saw five or six big bags of 100+-pieces of candy disappear. “Sometimes kids just needed a handful,” he said, in the spirit of trying to make this celebration normal for the kids.

(Photo Courtesy of Dr. Ben Jones)

INYO DEPUTIES GET HAIRY

During the month of November the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office will allow employees to forego shaving for No-Shave November.

The goal of No-Shave November is create public awareness for cancer by growing out hair (which many cancer patients lose) and donating the money that would normally be spent on grooming to a cancer-specific charity.

All employees were given the opportunity to participate; males can grow out their facial hair and females can grow out their leg hair. Each willing participant must donate $25 minimum, and anyone who does not wish to participate but wants to donate can do so as well.

Judging will be held on December 4, 2020 and the winner(s) will be memorialized with a plaque. All donations will be sent directly to Eastern Sierra Cancer Alliance. Any member of the public can also donate by going to the following webpage: http://escanceralliance.org.

Inyo County Sheriff’s Department

TRUCK CRASH CLOSES SONORA PASS HWY. 108

A FedEx truck heading westbound on Highway 108 last night around 7:00 p.m. veered off the highway at the end of a steep grade and a sharp corner. The truck destroyed 25′ of guard rail before it plunged down a steep embankment into a riven.

The driver was uninjured, according to Bridgeport CHP.

The situation now involves Hazmat in the recovery of the truck. CHP has Hwy. 108 closed from Hwy. 395 to west of the Levitt Meadows Pack Station for an undetermined of time.

POT HAULER LEADS TO POT GREENHOUSE

(From Inyo County Sheriff’s Department)

On Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at approximately 7:00 a.m., an Inyo County Deputy Sheriff stopped a vehicle on Highway 395 just north of Lake Village Road near Olancha, CA.  The driver identified himself as 33-year old Noel Chavez from Bakersfield, California. During the stop, the Deputy smelled a strong odor of freshly cut marijuana. Chavez was detained for possible out of county felony warrants, cited for driving without a valid driver’s license and transported to the Jail for booking/identification.

Further investigation and additional evidence obtained via the suspect’s cellular phone revealed an illegal marijuana cultivation site at a residence near Olancha. A search warrant was served at the location.

The Inyo County Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Detail (SED) team members made up of the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, Mono County Sheriff’s Department, Bishop Police Department and DEA assisted with the service of the search warrant.

During the search the following items were seized, 261 marijuana plants, 110 pounds of drying marijuana, 320 pounds of shake marijuana used making honey oil, 9 pounds of processed bud for a total weight of over 700 pounds of marijuana.

The suspect was arrested and charged with cultivation of marijuana.

(Photo: Courtesy of Inyo County Sheriff’s Department)

MAMMOTH LAKES PD SAVES HALLOWEEN

Originally cancelled by the Town of Mammoth Lakes due to COVID concerns, Trick or Treating is back for the kids of Mammoth Lakes.

The police department has stepped up to host a drive-in and walk up trick or treating. The fun event will run from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. on Halloween evening   Everyone needs to wear a mask, spooky or not.

Ya’ see girls and boys . . .  police men and woman are not scary. They’re the good guys!

(Photo: Courtesy of Mammoth Lakes Police Department)