The Kozowski Files

Sheriff’s Office Talks to Central Oregon Daily About Termination if Former Deputy

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Oregon is the defendant in a federal lawsuit filed by former deputy,Eric Kozowski. Kozowski alleges that the department retailiated against him for running in the 2016 election against Sheriff L. Shane Nelson.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan sat down with a member of the Sheriff’s Office to talk about the hundreds of pages of documents the department released to support its termination of Kozowski.

Custody of Baby Bradley Awarded to Maternal Grandmother

A Deschutes County judge decided to dismiss the custody case surrounding a one-year-old West Virginia boy who was found naked in the woods south of Bend on May 10 and grant custody back to his grandmother.
Mellisa Jordan is expected to be reunited with her grandson, Bradley Thomas, sometime tomorrow, nearly three weeks after a Deschutes County Sheriff’s detective found Bradley naked and suffering from hypothermia after a six-hour search off China Hat Road.
Mellisa and her daughter, Lindsie, flew to Bend two weeks ago to try to bring Bradley back home and help Bradley’s mother, Katelin, recover from injuries she says she suffered at the hands of Bradley’s father, Brandon Blouin. Blouin is still in the Deschutes County Jail facing criminal charges of criminal mistreatment, child neglect and custodial interference.
The family plans to head back to West Virginia and since custody was awarded to Jordan, mother Katelin will not be able to leave the house alone with Bradley unless the custody agreement changes in the future.

Body Found May Be Missing Bend Woman

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Oregon are on the scene of a body found east of Bend off Highway 20 on Friday night. The Sheriff’s Office is waiting for the medical examiner to confirm the identity of the body, but Sheriff L. Shane Nelson said the initial investigation has lead him to believe it is the body of Sara Gomez. Gomez has been missing since February 20. Her former boyfriend, Bryan Penner, was arrested in connection with Gomez’s disappearance after blood and ropes were found in his apartment. Penner died in March after attempting suicide while incarcerated in the Deschtues County Jail.

The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office released this statement on Saturday:

On May 26, 2018, at about 07:49 hours, Deschutes County 911 received a call from a hiker who reported finding what he believed to be a human body wrapped up in a tarp while hiking yesterday afternoon about 21 miles east of Bend.  A sheriff’s office sergeant responded to the area and confirmed the contents of the tarp were human remains.  Detectives from the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Bend Police Department responded and began a joint investigation with the assistance of the Deschutes County Medical Examiner, Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office, Oregon State Police Forensic Laboratory and Deschutes County District Attorney’s Office. 

During the investigation, a drone, piloted by a Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR) volunteer was used to help document the scene.  Based on the investigation, it is believed the remains are likely that of Sara Gomez but investigators are awaiting confirmation of the deceased’s identity from the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s office, which may take several weeks.

Sheriff Nelson expressed, “Bend Police Chief Jim Porter, D.A. John Hummel and I believe that this is the body of Sara Gomez, but it will take the conclusion of the Medical Examiner’s investigation to confirm the identity of the human remains. Our thoughts and prayers have been with Ms. Gomez’s family since her disappearance and if the remains are determined to be her, our hope is it will bring her family some closure.” 

This investigation is continuing and more information will be released as it becomes available. 

Source on the Scene: Board, Bike & Brew at Mt. Bachelor

This weekend, Mt. Bachelor will offer skiing, snowboarding and mountain biking all on the same day.

For this week’s Source on the Scene,  Central Oregon Daily’s Allison Roecker headed up to the mountain as staffers prepared for the big holiday weekend.

For all the latest arts and culture listings, pickup the latest issue of The Source Weekly or go to their website at www.bendsource.com.

Thanks to our Source on the Scene sponsor, Indian Head Casino, for giving us the time and resources to show you some of the best events and entertainment that our region has to offer, every Friday night on Central Oregon Daily.

The Kozowski Files

Deschutes County Sheriff Responds to Federal Lawsuit from Former Deputy

Former Deschutes County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Kozowski filed a formal complaint in federal court against both the county and Sheriff L. Shane Nelson last February, citing retaliation, whistleblowing and wrongful discharge.

On Friday, Sheriff Nelson released his official answer that was filed in federal court.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan has details on the sheriff’s response.

Lost & Found: Mother of Baby Bradley Speaks Out

Katelin Thomas, the mother of Bradley Micheal Thomas, speaks out for the first time since being released from the hospital after the disappearance and frantic search for her son in the woods south of Bend on May 10.

Thomas’ former boyfriend and the father of Bradley, Brandon Blouin, is still in custody at the Deschutes County Jail on charges of criminal mistreatment, custodial interference, child neglect, endangering a minor and abandoning a child – all connected to Bradley’s disappearance earlier this month.

According to Thomas she left her home in West Virginia with Blouin after he showed up while she was out with Bradley, despite a protection order that was meant to keep Blouin away from his son. Thomas said she only went with Blouin because he threatened her family and Bradley if she didn’t go with him.

Thomas said she made efforts to take Bradley and leave Blouin as they traveled across the U.S. In the early morning hours of May 10, Thomas said Blouin forced her from the vehicle they were sleeping in and said he would hurt Bradley if she didn’t go. Thomas made her way to a nearby property off China Hat Road in Bend. The property owners called 911 and Thomas was taken to the hospital where she was treated for a number of injuries including broken ribs, two partially collapsed lungs, injuries to her throat, and injuries to her feet and legs from running through the woods.

Thomas alleges that she told Sheriff’s deputies about Bradley, and when deputies found Blouin, he told them he’d set the baby down near a fence. Baby Bradley was found, naked and cold, but mostly unharmed a mile from Blouin’s vehicle.

Now Katelin and her mom, Melissa Jordan, are hoping to take Bradley home. Jordan was awarded custody of the 1-year-old Bradley just before he and Thomas went missing. Bradley is currently in a foster home in Central Oregon and the family is awaiting a custody hearing scheduled for early next week.

SELCO Community Credit Union has established a fund to help pay for the family’s expenses. Please donate at any Selco location: Account #618555.

Take a Knee

Police Brutality and Racial Profiling Protests Hit Close to Home

A Madras teenager says Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players were an inspiration for his recent protest of police brutality and racial profiling during the National Anthem at an assembly at Madras High School. His protest came only a few weeks before the NFL officials announced they would be requiring players to stand during the National Anthem or the entire team would be fined.

Central Oregon Daily’s Lisa Carton and Anyssa Bohanan have more on the NFL’s decision and why one Central Oregon teen chose to take a knee.

Special Session in Salem

Governor Kate Brown thanked state lawmakers for following through on her promise to pass a tax relief plan, known as House Bill 4301, during a special session in Salem. However, some state lawmakers are questioning both the reasons for calling the special session and the methods used to get the bill passed in just one day. Central Oregon Daily’s Curtis Vogel has more.