News and Press Releases
Deputies Arrest Vernonia Man on Child Sex Abuse Charges PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 09 January 2015 11:12
Sheriff's deputies acting on the information from an alleged 13-year-old victim yesterday arrested a 62-year-old Vernonia man on felony child sex abuse charges. Deputies subsequently served a search warrant at the suspect's home, seizing electronic equipment related to this ongoing investigation. 

Gene Baska, 62, Vernonia, was taken into custody following a traffic stop and later charged with one count of Luring a Minor, and one Count of Attempt to Commit Sex Abuse, First Degree. Both crimes are felonies. Baska bailed out of jail Wednesday evening with a no-contact order for the victim and her family. 

The case came to light after a sexually explicit message transmitted digitally to the victim was alleged to have come from Baska. Deputies obtained a search warrant to search for "digital images, motion pictures, digital videos, photographs, digital audio recordings, text messages, call records," etc. and served the warrant at 16802, Keasey Road, Vernonia Wednesday evening. 

This case is an ongoing investigation. There is a chance that other victims are out there. Investigators request those having any information in regard to this case or this individual  to call our recorded Tip Line at(503) 366-4698 and leave any relevant information.
Last Updated on Friday, 09 January 2015 11:27
Missing Hunter Found Deceased PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 23 September 2014 20:36
A friend of the family helping in the search for missing hunter Jon Hill discovered the body of the Hillsboro man a little after 5 p.m. today. He was found more than a mile away from where deputies located his pickup truck on Sunday afternoon.

At 5:13 p.m. today, Columbia 9-1-1 dispatch received a 9-1-1 call from the family friend advising he had found the missing man and that he believed he was deceased. Deputies made their way to the location near Clear Creek Rd. The caller met deputies at the intersection of Timber and Clear Creek Roads, leading them to the missing man's body.

Columbia County Undersheriff Andy Moyer said officials delayed public notification until positive identification could be made and family members could be notified. "Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Mr. Hill," Moyer said. "We are glad he was found, although we are saddened by the fact that he was not found alive."

Columbia County Searchers spent more than 50 hours in the rugged area off of US Highway 26 and Timber Rd searching for Mr. Hill. Also assisting in the Search were the following organizations:
-Metro West Ambulance (providing a standby medical presence at the command post)
-Mountain Wave Search and Rescue (Providing Communications support and additional searchers)
-Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue
-Clatsop County Sheriff's Office
-Multnomah County Sheriff's Office
-Yamhill County Sheriff's Office
-Washington County Sheriff's Office
-Tillamook County Sheriff's Office
-Oregon State Police
-Oregon Air National Guard

Moyer expressed gratitude to all those who helped with the effort, especially those friends and family members who came to do whatever they could do to help. Many also donated food and refreshments to keep the searchers in the field.
Deputies Searching for Missing Hunter Southwest of Vernonia PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 21 September 2014 23:53
Deputies and volunteers from the Columbia County Sheriff's Office are continuing their search and rescue operation off of Wolf Creek Rd. and US Hwy 26 overnight.

John Hill, 37, Hillsboro was bow hunting Saturday but failed to return Saturday night. Family heard from him by cell phone that evening and, again, at 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning. The last they heard from him was at 9:30 a.m., and family members said he sounded disoriented.

Columbia County Sheriff's Office personnel were alerted to Hill's status just after noon on Sunday. Efforts to find the missing hunter were originally centered around Timber Rd., but moved further west once Hill's grey Dodge pickup truck was located on North Wolf Creek Rd. off of U.S Hwy 26.

By evening, search and rescue volunteers and deputies from both the Columbia County and Washington County Sheriff's Office were engaged in full-scale search efforts. Search and Rescue Canines from Yamhill County combed the brush and wooded landscape in the area around the located pickup truck. A National Guard helicopter added air support into the evening hours, also.

Columbia County Search and Rescue officials will remain on scene overnight, with additional crews scheduled to resume full-scale search operations in the morning.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 September 2014 07:26
Clatskanie Woman Arrested Following Stabbing PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 28 July 2014 11:07
Columbia County Sheriff's deputies responded to Coop ("co-op") Road in the Clatskanie area on a disturbance call at 5:42 a.m. this morning, and learned that Tracy Mitchell, 40, had stabbed her husband, James C. Mitchell, 43. Ms. Mitchell was reportedly driving her husband to the hospital when deputies caught up with the vehicle and summoned medics. The victim had been stabbed in the neck and torso. 

The stabbing took place at 18382 Coop RD, which is the residence of a third party. Ms. Mitchell is in custody, charged with Assault First Degree,and Burglary First Degree and Menacing. The victim was taken to St. John Hospital in Longview. We currently have no word on his condition. 

This case remains under investigation.
Sheriff's Office Announces Job Openings in Jail PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 01 July 2014 19:01

With the voters' approval in May of operating funds to keep the jail open, and the beginning of a new fiscal year, the Sheriff's Office announced the opening of positions in the jail for corrections deputies and corrections technicians to begin to restaff the jail after years of budget cuts and staff losses had put the jail on the precipice of closure.

"We have begun the long journey to bring back our jail operations to some semblance of health," said Sheriff Jeff Dickerson. The jail is expected to add seven full-time positions as a means of restaffing the jail.  The staffing of the jail had fallen well below the minimum number needed to operate efficiently and effectively, and the influx of staff and additional funding for jail services will mean that the 25 local beds that can be filled today will eventually return to 100 local beds.

 "This will be a huge shot in the arm for the criminal justice system in our county," the sheriff said, "and it will enable us not only to keep the jail open, but to house more offenders whose crimes demand accountability beyond the catch and release reality we had come to embrace over the past few years."


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