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 Toddler Placed in State Custody

Bradley Michael Thomas, the toddler who was found in the woods south of Bend on Thursday morning, is now officially in the custody of the state after being removed from his parents following the arrest of the baby’s father.

One-year-old Bradley was miraculously found unharmed Thursday afternoon after he’d been missing for nearly six hours along China Hat Road in Bend.

According to Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson, Bradley was located alone and naked nearly a mile northeast of the vehicle the toddler was living in with his parents. The detective who found Bradley took him in an ambulance to St. Charles Hospital, where the child stayed until this afternoon.

The Sheriff’s Office said Friday that Bradley is doing well and is currently in the care of the Department of Human Services.

The Central Oregon community quickly came together following news of Bradley’s disappearance and has continued the outpouring of support for the toddler. Due to this outpouring the Sheriff’s Office is now accepting donations of clothing and other items to give to Bradley until he has a permanent home.

Bradley’s father, 25-year-old Brandon Blouin, was placed under arrest and charged with criminal mistreatment, neglect, endangering the welfare of a minor and an assault charge police say is associated with an injury Bradley likely received prior to going missing while in his parents’ care.

Blouin has a long history of run-ins with the law across multiple state lines and, according to Bradley’s extended family, a history of abuse towards Bradley’s mother Katelin.

Bradley’s maternal grandmother and aunt, who live in West Virginia, have been searching for Bradley for months. Bradley’s grandmother Mellisa Jordan said she was granted full custody of Bradley in March, but in early February Katelin requested a play date with Bradley and never returned.

The family heard nothing of Bradley’s whereabouts for three months, and while they haven’t been able to see Bradley, Jordan did hear from Blouin on Friday when they were both dialed in to a custody hearing at the Deschutes County Courthouse.

Jordan said Blouin sounded distressed, just as he did on Thursday after Bradley’s rescue, however Jordan said this show of emotion is nothing but manipulation.

The family hopes to be reunited with little Bradley soon, but for now he will be put in foster care.

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office and Redmond Police are accepting donations for Bradley while he is in state custody. They said they are in need of any clothing size 18 months, shoes size 6 to 7, and size 7 diapers.

Search and Rescue of One-Year-Old Boy Leads to Arrest

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a 25-year-old man in connection with a frantic search for a missing one-year-old boy south of Bend off China Hat Road on Thursday morning.

Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan was there when a Deschutes County Sheriff’s detective found Bradley Michael Thomas naked and cold, but safe, in the woods.

Thomas is in good condition after being evaluated at St. Charles Hospital, and he is now in the custody of the Department of Human Services.

25-year-old Brandon Blouin has been arrested in connection for his involvement in Thomas’ disappearance. Blouin is being charged with Criminal Mistreatment I, Neglect II, Endangering the Welfare of a Minor, and an Assault Charge for an injury that authorities believe happened while Thomas was in Blouin’s care.

Six New Corrections Deputies Sworn in at Jail

Six new corrections deputies have been sworn-in at the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office in an ongoing effort to bring the jail back up to full staffing. Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan had the chance to talk with some of the new deputies this week.

If you’re interested in applying for a position with the sheriff’s office, they say they are looking for individuals with high quality work ethic, unblemished character and excellent communication skills among others. You can check out their job opportunities and apply online at www.deschutes.org/ jobs.

Sheriff’s Office Looking for Suspected Car Thief

Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office  deputies are looking for a man suspected of stealing a car in Tumalo and crashing through multiple yards in northeast Bend on Monday night before eluding authorities.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Aviles allegedly crashed the stolen 2001 Subaru Impreza through multiple yards and then fled on foot. He was last seen in the area of NE Empire and NE Layton in Bend.

Aviles was last seen wearing jeans or khaki pants and a long-sleeved short.
If you see Aviles or know of his whereabouts, call 911 or the Sheriff’s Office dispatch at 541-693-6911.

Deschutes County Sheriff Talks IP 43

Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson is taking a stand against a gun control proposal that could end up on the November ballot in Oregon.
Initiative Petition 43 has been filed with the Secretary of State’s office, and supporters are trying to get the signatures needed to get it on the ballot.
Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanan sat down with Sheriff Nelson on Monday to ask him about his public opposition to IP 43.

The Sheriff added that, while he doesn’t weigh in on every issue, he commented on the initiative because citizens asked for his opinion on the matter. 

With the initiative quickly becoming a topic of discussion, he decided it was time to make a public statement.

The Search for Sara Continues

It’s been nearly two months since Bend resident Sara Gomez was last seen, and even though the prime suspect in her disappearance is now dead, Sara’s family and friends continue to look for her.

Central Oregon Daily’s Austin Reed has been following this case from the beginning and caught up with the family today as they get ready for another search this weekend.

Bend police detectives are also still taking tips and hope to come up with any new clues in the case.

Sheriff Nelson Speaks Out Against Assault Weapons Ban

Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson spoke out against a proposed gun control measure that could be on the November ballot in Oregon this year.

The organizers behind Initiative Petition 43 met the original deadline of 1,000 signatures by last month, but they will need more than 88,000 valid signatures by July 6th to put the measure on the November ballot.

I.P. 43 is a measure that proposes restrictions on the sale, production and ownership of assault weapons and high capacity magazines. If the measure makes it on the ballot and is passed by voters in November, Oregon residents who currently own an assault weapon would be required to either register the gun with the state, sell it to a registered gun dealer, remove the gun from the state, render the gun inoperable or hand it over to law enforcement.

Under I.P. 43 an assault weapon would be any semi-automatic rifles or pistol with a detachable magazine, semi-automatic shotguns with grip and stock modifications and semi-automatic rifles under 30 inches in length. High capacity magazines are defined as any feeding device that holds more than ten rounds.

The petition was started after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida and has gained support from local activists and organizers of the ‘March for Our Lives.’

The petition has sparked push back from gun advocates across the state and on Friday, Deschutes County Sheriff Shane Nelson posted this statement to his Facebook page:

“As your Sheriff, I took an oath to support the Constitution of the United States of America and the State of Oregon. In addition to this, I swore to perform the duties of Deschutes County Sheriff to the best of my ability. I support and defend the Second Amendment and oppose IP 43.

I serve the 190,000 citizens of our great county and am charged with public safety. Our office has issued over 14,000 concealed handgun licenses and I firmly believe that every responsible and accountable law abiding citizen who wants to legally own a firearm should do so. Firearms have their lawful place in society and are an important tool in personal protection and ensuring public safety in our county.

I understand the concerns of school violence across the country and the role law enforcement plays. Oregon has a number of laws on the books regarding background checks and age restrictions related to the purchase of a firearm. These laws prohibit the sale of firearms to convicted felons, those convicted of misdemeanor crimes involving violence, those adjudicated as mentally ill, those who have been committed as the result of a Mental Commitment Hearing, those with an active felony warrant, active out of state misdemeanor warrant and those on pretrial release for a felony.

Our office continues to take all threats seriously, and we appropriately vet them in partnership with our DA’s Office, mental health professionals, other law enforcement agencies, our schools, and others in the public safety sector. We immediately respond to, investigate threats of violence or danger, and hold people accountable. We are committed to keeping our children and community safe. Deputies of the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office will always respond to assist and protect the citizens we serve, but you must be prepared to appropriately take care of you and your family until we can get there.”

 

 

Increased Enforcement for Marijuana Grows

County Commissioners Hoping to Add Two New Enforcement Positions

After months of discussion with state, county and city officials the Deschutes County Commissioners made a first step today in addressing the ongoing issues with marijuana enforcement and regulations in Deschutes County.

County staff confirmed today that they will be looking into the hiring and funding of two new law enforcement positions as part of the Central Oregon Drug Enforcement team, known as CODE.
This was an idea proposed and supported by both County Commissioners and Bend City Councilors at a joint meeting held last week.

While CODE serves a tri-county area, these two positions would focus solely on enforcement in Deschutes County. The cost of hiring will likely be split, one going to the City of Bend for a police officer position and one would be a deputy sheriff position paid for by Deschutes County.

Commissioners also discussed raising the applications fees for marijuana grows in order to cover the cost of the extra time and effort county staff to deal with the complicated applications and the appeals that often follow.

Commissioners also floated the idea of putting a temporary pause on the processing of marijuana applications in order to clarify and fill in gaps in the current county code, but they are expected discuss those ideas in depth next week.

Climber Dies After Fall at Smith Rock

 

Misery Ridge, a popular hiking trail at Smith Rock State Park, was closed for several hours on Tuesday morning after a hiker died in the area. 

A man, now identified as 20-year-old Central Oregon resident and climber Alex Reed, fell roughly 200 feet from the top of the Misery Ridge Trail and was dead when first responders arrived. The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said Reed feel while hiking but was carrying climbing gear.

A group of hikers said they heard Reed yell when he fell and found his body at the bottom of the ridge. Reed was hiking alone at the time of the fall and the Sheriff’s Department as deemed his fall accidental.

Twelve Deschutes County Search and Rescue volunteers assisted in removing the body due to the difficult terrain. Deputies were also assisted by the Smith Rock State Park Rangers and volunteers as well as the Redmond Fire Department.