[pct-l] Still not a good time to be hiking the PCT in the Kelso Valley area (Hwy 58 to Hwy 178)

Doug Swam doug.swam at outlook.com
Sun Aug 16 13:46:26 CDT 2015

now it's just because of the heat

> Date: Fri, 14 Aug 2015 17:28:41 -0700
> From: brick at brickrobbins.com
> To: pct-l at backcountry.net
> Subject: [pct-l] Still not a good time to be hiking the PCT in the Kelso Valley area (Hwy 58 to Hwy 178)
> And not just because of the heat
> =======================
> http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-gunman-manhunt-20150812-story.html
> Gunman wanted in Kern County manhunt is 'one step ahead' of deputies
> A gunman wanted for killing a retired dentist and wounding two Kern
> County sheriff’s deputies is believed to be alive and hiding in the
> wilderness near Lake Isabella.
> After more than a week of searching, authorities Tuesday identified
> the gunman as Benjamin Peter Ashley, 34, a homeless man with an
> extensive criminal background, including incidents in which he
> resisted arrest.
> Authorities used evidence gathered at several crime scenes to identify Ashley.
> Benjamin Peter Ashley is wanted on suspicion of killing a retired
> dentist and wounding two Kern County sheriff’s deputies more than a
> week ago.
> Ashley has likely been living in the area, squatting in vacant cabins
> and homes for some time, sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt said.
> Authorities believe Ashley is a survivalist and is finding enough food
> and water to sustain himself. He is believed to be armed.
> “He has been able to stay one step ahead of us,” Pruitt said. “He is a
> dangerous person.”
> A manhunt that had been mostly focused in a five-square-mile area
> centered at Kelso Valley and Jawbone Canyon roads has shifted north
> into Weldon, a community west of Lake Isabella.
> More than 125 deputies are searching for Ashley, who could be hiding
> in any of the numerous cabins and homes dotted throughout the rugged,
> isolated wilderness. There have been no confirmed sightings, Pruitt
> said.
> Aided by U.S. marshals, sheriff’s officials are digging into Ashley’s
> background. So far, what they know is he has not served in the
> military and does not have special training.
> In 2011, Ashley was arrested in Oceanside for two warrants stemming
> from an open container and illegal camping, according to Oceanside
> police Lt. Leonard Cosby. Ashley’s criminal record indicates he was
> homeless and likely familiar with the outdoors, Cosby said.
> Oceanside police became aware of the manhunt Wednesday and thought he
> might be connected to a missing Oceanside man last seen in Rosamond,
> more than 80 miles south of Weldon.
> But so far, there is no indication of foul play involving the missing
> man, police said.
> Ashley was charged in 2012 and 2013 for resisting arrest in Orange
> County and in Glendale, respectively. He was also arrested in San
> Diego and San Marcos.
> In 2014, Ashley was arrested in Bear Valley Springs on a fugitive
> warrant connected to the Glendale incident. Ashley never appeared in
> court for the case in Glendale.
> Bear Valley police received a report of a suspicious person inside the
> gated community and searched the area, police Chief Jeff Kermode said.
> Officers found Ashley about two miles away. He was dirty, disheveled
> and “looked out of place,” he said.
> He was arrested and booked into a Kern County jail.
> “I certainly hope they find him soon,” Kermode said.
> Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said Ashley’s criminal past was
> not surprising.
> “We’re confident this is our guy,” Youngblood said. “He’s a survivor.”
> Since the search began, nearby schools and roads have been closed and
> forest land and trails in the Piute Mountains shut off. The Pacific
> Crest Trail from California 58 to Bird Springs Pass was closed until
> further notice.
> Target of Kern County manhunt has 'plenty of firearms,' sheriff says
> The community within the search area, sheriff’s officials said, has
> disrupted residents' way of living. Residents are used to leaving
> their doors unlocked and their keys inside their cars, Pruitt said.
> Deputies urged residents this week to lock their doors and remain
> vigilant. Ashley has been known to break into cabins and homes in the
> area.
> “Our priority is the safety of the public,” Pruitt said.
> The rampage began July 28, when Ashley allegedly held a 19-year-old
> man and two 20-year-old men captive for an hour in a cabin near Twin
> Oaks, where he was probably squatting, sheriff’s officials said.
> The men were able to escape, but the gunman stole their off-road
> vehicle and fled, authorities said. He later abandoned the vehicle.
> Investigators said they believe Ashley probably hiked over the Piute
> Mountains, possibly using the Pacific Crest Trail, to get to Weldon,
> 10 miles away.
> Two days later, Ashley allegedly shot retired dentist David Louis
> Markiewitz, 64, of Tehachapi, killing him. Family members found
> Markiewitz’s body inside his cabin in Weldon.
> On Aug. 1, SWAT deputies were searching for Ashley on the secluded
> property near Kelso Valley and Jawbone Canyon, when authorities said
> he shot Deputy Michael Booker and Deputy Jose Perez. Booker was shot
> in both arms, and Perez was grazed by a bullet.
> Photo of the suspect:
> http://www.trbimg.com/img-55cba88e/turbine/la-me-ln-manhunt-gunman-20150811-001/458/258x458
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