Friday, December 05, 2008

A good job, Paul post...cautiously. - UPDATED

UPDATED:

Former Blue Lake Police Chief David Gundersen has been cleared of all major charges first filed against him in 2008. - Arcata Eye MARCH 2012

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☛ TS Sebastopol man arrested in Huntzinger cold case
Eighteen years after 14-year-old Blue Lake resident Curtis Huntzinger went missing, an arrest has been made in connection with his death.

The Humboldt County District Attorney's Office arrested former Blue Lake resident Stephen Daniel Hash, 53, Wednesday on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter. Hash was reportedly living in Sebastopol.

”Mr. Hash gave us a complete confession,” District Attorney Paul Gallegos said Thursday night. “He's been very cooperative and very helpful, and we're very grateful to him for doing that.”

...Nine years after the teen went missing, a San Quentin State Prison inmate, Thomas Michael Fox, claimed he'd shot and killed the boy at Hash's home in 1990. Blue Lake police at the time said they believed that Fox's other murder victim, Daniel Williams, may have been used in a child pornography ring.

Officials searched Hash's home after Fox's statements, reportedly even pulling up the floor and sending carpets to the Department of Justice for forensic testing, but made no arrests.

At one point, Nancy Huntzinger reportedly told authorities that she had confronted Hash at his home, and that he had confessed to murdering her son, telling her where the boy's body was buried. But, search teams and cadaver dogs reportedly came up empty, and Hash was never charged in the case.

Gallegos said his office took over the cold case after the Blue Lake Police Department was disbanded in May, following the arrest of then Police Chief David Gundersen.

”It was an old case that we felt hadn't been adequately investigated,” Gallegos said.

DA Investigator Wayne Cox took the lead in the investigation, Gallegos said, and turned up some leads a couple of months ago, before the investigation really gained steam in November.

”What it really was was just dogged detective work,” Gallegos said. “It's a combination of the hard work of (DA Chief Investigator Mike Hislop) and (Cox), and the good work of (Assistant District Attorney Wes Keat), but it was also (Hash's) desire to get this off his chest. Personally, I think he's wanted to get this off his chest for a long time.”

When approached by investigators with new evidence in the case, Gallegos said Hash “decided to unburden himself.”

Curtis Huntzinger's body has yet to be recovered, Gallegos said, but the DA's Office has several leads as to its location and remains hopeful it will be discovered in the coming days.

”I'm hoping that with (Hash's) cooperation, we will be able to locate Curtis Huntzinger's body, and we will be able to put this to rest,” Gallegos said. “I know Nancy Huntzinger has wanted her son's body for a long time, and I'm hopeful we can provide her some solace in that.”

Gallegos said Hash's cooperation is part of the reason he was arrested on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter.

”What we've chosen to arrest him on and what we would have arrested him on if he hadn't cooperated with us -- I think it's reasonable to conclude they might be different,” he said. “Really what we wanted most for Nancy is her son's body, and without his cooperation we weren't going to get that.”

Reached Thursday, Curtis Huntzinger's sister, Sarah, said she wants her brother's body to be put at rest, so the family can have peace.

”I just want justice for my brother,” she said.

The DA's Office has called a press conference for this afternoon, when it is expected to offer more details in the case. Hash could be officially charged as soon as today, Gallegos said.


☛ TS A momentous find for a metal detector

Update:
☛ TS Never too late for resolution
☛ TS editorial Never too late for resolution
☛TS Hash receives 11 years in prison 1/3/09
Curtis Huntzinger's mother wins wrongful death lawsuit

UPDATED:

Former Blue Lake Police Chief David Gundersen has been cleared of all major charges first filed against him in 2008. - Arcata Eye MARCH 2012

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5 comments:

  1. Well, I think he should have been charged with Murder and then reduce it to Voluntary Manslaughter, or some other charge, later. I believe that's the way it's usually done.

    The way it is now, they charge for Voluntary Manslaughter and end up dropping it to Assault W/ Deadly Weapon, or some such. I guess that would be par for the course with Gags, though.

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  2. And here we are again, Fred, with things that aren't adding up.

    Something funny. Maybe it'll turn out to be all right, but it could also turn out to be another colossal f-ck up.

    A. There have been other confessions.
    B. Why bring Gundersen into it?
    C. All this piousness about returning the remains - yet he refuses to give Lisa LadeRoute her sister's remains.
    D. As you say, offering the lesser charge - sort of moot since the guy is in prison anyway, but so is John Annibel.

    Like I said - good job, Paul - but cautiously. We'll see what pans out.

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  3. Rose

    Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

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  4. On Tuesday December 9, 2008 during the 9am board of supes calendar there are three items during closed session. Evaluation of county counsel; appointment of the permanent position of county counsel AND the whether to raise the salaries of county counsel and deputy county counsels.

    NOW WHAT IS UP WITH THE BOARD POSTING A FIFTEEN MINUTE SPECIAL MEETING AT 8:45 AM THE SAME DAY FOR THESE SAME THREE ITEMS?

    Could it be they have already decided and want to make it formal without allowing anyone in the public to comment on it?

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  5. Ooops, I'm wrong about him being in prison - Annibel is but Hash was not - the PREVIOUS confessor, Thomas Fox was in prison.

    Looks like there have been a few confessions.

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