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Jim Ratajczak

Burglary suspects sought

El Dorado County authorities have turned to the public for help in finding two men for their alleged roles in a recent burglary. On the evening of Jan. 27, sheriff’s deputies in El Dorado Hills stopped a suspicious black Mercedes sedan after noticing it was driving slowly through the Mormon Island and Lake Ridge Oaks […]

Explosive items found

While responding to reports of a dead body, authorities discovered a cache of explosives on an El Dorado property. El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 2300 block of Sandridge Road last Saturday morning after receiving reports of a deceased male found lying in his driveway. Deputies located Donald Smith, 69, who is thought […]

Big Cut Mine owner on the lam after charges filed

El Dorado County prosecutors have filed charges against the owner of Placerville’s Big Cut Mine, alleging he conducted illegal mining operations dating back to last year. Joseph Leonard Hardesty, owner of the nearly 150-acre parcel, faces 14 counts— including four felonies— accusing him of mining without the necessary special-use permits at various points from January […]

February 10, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 58 Replies

Wrong-way driver accepts guilt

The wrong-way driver who crashed into an oncoming motorist has pleaded no contest for her role in the 2010 death of an Orangevale newlywed. On Jan. 27, Theresa Lee Ghersanich entered no contest pleas to charges, including gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury and DUI causing injuring with a blood-alcohol level above the […]

February 08, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 5 Replies

Fire victim ID’ed

The man who was killed in an El Dorado Hills apartment fire last weekend has been identified by authorities. Killed in the blaze was 57-year-old Daniel Miles, whose Lake Forest Apartment unit caught fire early Saturday morning. El Dorado County Sheriff’s Lt. Bryan Golmitz said an official cause of death had not yet been determined, […]

Missing hunter shot to death

The Sacramento man whose body was found earlier this month in the Grizzly Flat area was shot and killed by a member of his own hunting party, authorities announced Tuesday. Xiong Neng Vang, of Sacramento, was found on Cosumnes Mine Road in the Grizzly Flat area by search and rescue volunteers on Jan. 18. The […]

Agencies offer rewards in animal cruelty case

More than $5,000 worth of rewards are being offered in connection with the case of a tabby cat who was shot in the head with a crossbow bolt last month. On Dec. 20, a 4-year-old male tabby cat named Taz was shot in the head with a crossbow bolt in the 500 block of Sunlight […]

EDH man indicted over income taxes

An El Dorado Hills man was indicted by federal grand jurors last week on suspicion of income tax evasion. Donald M. Wanland Jr., 53, of El Dorado Hills, is charged with attempting to evade personal income taxes from 2000 through 2003, according to US attorney Benjamin B. Wagner. Wanland is also accused of not filing […]

Wiltse Court dead man ID’d

Authorities have identified the body of a man found on a small road near a Placerville park earlier this month. Anthony Coltra, 29, was found dead on a fire access road near Placerville’s Lumsden Park on Jan. 20. Placerville Police Capt. Mike Scott told the Mountain Democrat that Coltra was a transient living in the […]

4 suspects nabbed after Pollock burglary

Two men and two women were recently arrested after allegedly robbing a Pollock Pines home. On Jan. 8, El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the 6100 block of Pine St. in Pollock Pines on reports of a residential burglary. Missing from the house were items including old coins, musical instruments, historical photographs and silverware, […]

February 01, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 3 Replies

DUI log: Jan. 31

The following were arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol: BENJAMIN CALISTERIO, 24, River Pines, booked Jan. 21 by CHP, bail listed at $2,500. DONALD REID, 72, Shingle Springs, booked Jan. 21 by CHP, bail listed at $2,500. KRISTINA HICKS, 43, Citrus Heights, booked Jan. 22 by CHP, bail […]

Stancil Jr. charged by feds over plane sales

A Placerville car-turned-airplane dealer was charged Thursday for his alleged role in selling aircraft to Mexican buyers as part of what the feds describe as an under-the-table money grab. Joseph Stancil Jr., founder and owner of Stancil Enterprises Inc., is accused of selling six planes south of the border between September 2008 and August 2009 […]

January 30, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 9 Replies

Sheriff cites year of change

This is the Mountain Democrat’s first installment on the 2011 El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department’s year end report. The rest of this story will be featured in future Democrat editions.  In his 2011 year-end report, El Dorado County Sheriff John D’Agostini reflects on the triumphs of his first year in office while looking ahead to […]

January 30, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 18 Replies

Feds end Fedora Bandit’s spree

A Nevada man was charged Wednesday for allegedly robbing eight banks during an 18-month span, including one in South Lake Tahoe. David Griffith Osborne, 74, of Carson City, Nev., now faces seven counts of armed bank robbery, according to U.S. attorney Benjamin B. Wagner. Dubbed the “Fedora Bandit” for his unique choice of headgear, Osborne […]

Arrest made in death of Pollock man

Sacramento County sheriff’s detectives Tuesday arrested the man suspected of gunning down a Pollock Pines resident in a Rancho Cordova park. Dubree Barber, 47, was booked into a Sacramento County Jail on suspicion of murdering 59-year-old Steven Ebert of Pollock Pines. Early Monday morning, sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of a gunshot victim at Rancho […]

Placerville man searches for runaway daughter

Sean Mark misses his daughter whether she wants him to or not. Mark’s 16-year-old daughter, Bayleigh, walked out of her first-period class at Placerville’s El Dorado Adventist School on Jan. 5 and hasn’t been seen by her father since. Mark has contacted the authorities but is hoping that the community can help him locate Bayleigh. […]

January 25, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 6 Replies

MORE seeks return of purloined picnic table

Organizers with Mother Lode Rehabilitation Enterprises Inc. are hoping for the community’s help with finding its missing picnic table and benches. Susie Davies, MORE’s executive director, said that she first noticed Monday morning that the non-profit’s custom-made wooden picnic table and attached benches were nowhere to be found, a discovery that came on the heel’s […]

January 25, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 4 Replies

Accused serial killer ordered to trial

A Marin County Superior Court judge ruled Monday that the Nevada man accused of killing women whose first and last names began with the same letter will stand trial. Joseph Naso, 78, was serving time in an El Dorado County jail for probation violation in April. In 2008, he was convicted of burglary in South […]

Body found on Placerville road not yet IDed

Details emerged Monday on the body recently discovered on a Placerville fire access road. Placerville police Capt. Mike Scott told the Mountain Democrat that the body, found Friday afternoon on a fire access road above Lumsden Park, was that of a white male, thought to be in his 40s. The individual’s name has not yet […]

Body found on Wiltse Ct.

Placerville police officers responded Friday afternoon to reports of a body found in Placerville. At around 3 p.m., Placerville man Everett Farris entered the Mountain Democrat office on Broadway and told Mountain Democrat publisher Richard Esposito that he discovered the body of a naked male inside of a ditch near Wiltse Court. Esposito immediately contacted […]

January 23, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 18 Replies

Hearing continued for mother of boy killed in fire

The Pleasant Valley woman whose son died in a September manufactured home fire appeared in court during a brief hearing Friday morning. Jennifer Christine Ewing, 27, is charged with a single felony count of child endangerment stemming from the Sept. 7 death of her 4-year-old son Sebastian. Prosecutors contend Ewing, an unemployed single mother, locked […]

January 23, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 8 Replies

Sheriff names SAR Volunteer of the Year

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department has announced its pick for Search and Rescue Volunteer of the Year. Cameron Park resident David McCracken was recently honored by the Sheriff’s Department for his contributions to the county. McCracken joined the search and rescue ground team in 1993. Through additional training, he became certified as a swift […]

January 20, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 3 Replies

Bucket of ashes cause of Pollock fire

A Pollock Pines residence caught fire Wednesday evening after week-old fireplace ashes melted through a plastic bucket. El Dorado County Fire District battalion chief Mike Pott said crews were called to the dwelling at 2964 School St. in Pollock Pines at around 8:40 p.m. Wednesday night after the resident, Jonathan Lakey, came home and found […]

January 20, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 7 Replies

Missing these?

While working on several burglary cases, El Dorado County Sheriff’s detectives have come into possession of several pieces of stolen property. Detectives have identified most of the stolen items but have not yet been able to identify the owner of the pictured items, which were recovered from a pawn shop in November 2010. Residents who […]

EDH burglary suspects busted

A Sacramento man and two teenage boys were recently arrested for their alleged roles in an El Dorado Hills burglary. El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies were called to El Dorado Hills’ Bridlewood subdivision at around 4:40 p.m. on Jan. 11 after residents reported seeing several suspicious subject jumping over neighborhood fences. Residents, according to Sheriff’s […]

January 20, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 2 Replies

DUI log: Jan. 19

The following were arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol: JAMES GOFF, 26, Placerville, booked Dec. 30 by Placerville police, bail listed at $5,000. ELIZABETH TRACEY, 48, Diamond Springs, booked Dec. 30 by sheriff’s deputies, bail listed at $2,500. JEREMIA KENT, 33, no residence listed, booked Dec. 31 by […]

Vallejo man nabbed after high-speed chase

A Vallejo man was booked late Tuesday after leading officers on a high-speed chase through El Dorado County. At around 10 p.m. Tuesday evening, Placerville police officers were alerted to reports of a stolen vehicle that was spotted leaving the Camino area. Officers noticed the vehicle on westbound Highway 50 and Canal Street in Placerville […]

Missing hunter found dead

Search and rescue volunteers located the body of a missing hunter Wednesday morning in the Eldorado National Forest, less than 24 hours after he was first reported missing. El Dorado County Sheriff’s Lt. Bryan Golmitz said the hunter, whose identity was not immediately known, was said to be missing in the Grizzly Flat area at […]

Greenberg probation report to be compiled out-of-county

Days after he was convicted of Anthony Dumont’s first-degree murder, Morris Greenberg learned Friday that his probation report would not be completed in El Dorado County. During a brief hearing Friday morning, El Dorado County Superior Court Judge James R. Wagoner announced that Placer County would be handling the creation of Greenberg’s probation report. Last […]

No charges filed against former EID candidate Carey

Prosecutors have declined to file charges against the former El Dorado Irrigation District board candidate who suspended his campaign following his November arrest. Rob Carey, 36, was arrested Nov. 6 on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic battery. On the morning after his arrest, Carey told the Mountain Democrat that he had withdrawn from the race for EID board […]

January 18, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 3 Replies

SEC sues EDH man, brother

The brother of an El Dorado Hills man who allegedly orchestrated a massive Ponzi scheme has been hit with a civil fraud suit by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Eric Nelson, of Provo, Utah, was recently named in an SEC civil fraud suit for his purported role in a $16 million Ponzi scheme thought to have […]

Cold weather pet tips offered

As temperatures continue to drop, El Dorado County Animal Services has issued a reminder urging residents to make appropriate plans for their pets. “Every year around this time, and especially when snow, hail or rain arrive, we begin receiving calls from people who are concerned about dogs or cats that are without shelter from the […]

Do you know this person?

El Dorado County Sheriff’s deputies have asked the public for assistance in locating a person of interest. For more than a month now, residences on Starbuck Road in Rescue have been plagued with burglaries, according to the department. The dwellings have been typically hit during daytime hours, usually through forced entry. Suspects in the burglaries […]

January 16, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 1 Reply

House guest suspected in Mt. Aukum arson

A Mount Aukum woman accused of setting a residence on fire was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of attempted murder. Amber Leean Nash, 33, was arrested by El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies early Wednesday morning on charges of attempted murder, arson and possession of arson devices. According to sheriff’s Lt. Bryan Golmitz, deputies responded early Wednesday morning to […]

Another motorcycle death on Salmon Falls Road

An Auburn woman who lost control of her motorcycle was killed near Pilot Hill Sunday afternoon. Vickie Altman, 52, of Auburn, was riding her 2007 BMW motorcycle northbound on Salmon Falls Road, north of Pilot Hill, at around 3:45 p.m. Sunday when the vehicle left the roadway and collided with a telephone pole. She was […]

Rape suspect arrives in EDC after decade

An El Dorado Hills man who spent the better part of a decade on the lam in New York was booked into the Placerville jail Monday night. Pasquale “Patrick” Senatore, 45, is accused of lewd acts upon a child and forcible rape. According to a criminal complaint filed in 2002, Senatore committed the alleged sex […]

Placerville murder suspect appears in court

The Placerville man accused of fatally shooting his step-father last month appeared in court during a brief pretrial hearing Monday. Richard Kenneth Petroski, 48, is charged with the Dec. 4 murder of 69-year-old John Gale Malia. He also faces two special allegations in connection with the murder allegation: use of a firearm and intentional discharge […]

No.1: Principal killed

By all accounts, Sam LaCara was a good man. Loved by his family, friends and students, LaCara was as well-known for his compassionate, empathetic nature as he was for his white short-sleeved button-up shirts. LaCara had found his true calling as an educator. For needy students, he was known to buy new shoes or help settle cafeteria […]

No. 2: Garridos sentenced

It was a story almost 20 years in the making. At the age of 11, Jaycee Lee Dugard was snatched off the streets of South Lake Tahoe in 1991. But Terry Probyn, Dugard’s mother, never lost hope that her little girl would be found. Despite nearly two decades of searching, Probyn never stopped believing that […]

No. 5: Witt admits matricide; Colver loses jury trial

Her love was supposed to last a lifetime. But the prospect of a lengthy prison sentence was apparently too much for Tylar Marie Witt, who took the stand against her former boyfriend during his highly-publicized murder trial. Although he maintained his innocence to the very end, El Dorado County jurors found Steven “Boston” Colver, 21, […]

Jury: Greenberg guilty of Dumont murder

Friends and family waited more than three years for Anthony Dumont’s killer to finally stand trial. Jurors, though, needed less than one week to convict his shooter of first-degree murder. Morris Greenberg, 40, was found guilty late Monday of Dumont’s first-degree murder. Dumont, 26, was shot and killed on July 20, 2008, while sitting in […]

January 11, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 2 Replies

No. 8: Child dies in fire

Jennifer Ewing lost much more than her home in a Sept. 7 Pleasant Valley fire. Sebastian, her 4-year-old son, was killed in the blaze. As an unemployed single mother living in her father’s manufactured home, Ewing’s days and nights were spent caring for her son. But that responsibility had apparently overwhelmed the Pleasant Valley mom. “I’m a single mother who […]

January 09, 2012 | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 7 Replies

No. 9: Legal purgatory for Dante’s

As owner of Dante’s on the River, Kevin Cairns was more comfortable in a kitchen than a courtroom. But with his ongoing legal battles, Cairns found himself spending more time getting better acquainted with the justice system than he would have liked. The 51-year-old restaurateur, who purchased Dante’s in 2004, is facing a slew of […]

January 09, 2012 | Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Reply

UM coach arrested on suspicion of sex with minor

A Union Mine High School teacher was arrested Thursday on suspicion of statutory rape. Varsity baseball coach David Robert Freeman, 38, was booked into the Placerville jail Thursday on one felony count of unlawful sex with a minor and one felony count of sex acts with a minor. He was released that same day on […]

Pollock man killed in Friday fire

A Pollock Pines resident was killed Friday in an early morning mobile home fire. El Dorado County Fire District units responded to a residential structure fire at 24 Hub St. in Pollock Pines’ Wagon Wheel Mobile Home Park shortly after 12:15 a.m. Friday. Fire crews found a single-wide mobile home engulfed in flames and an […]

January 09, 2012 | Posted in News | Tagged | 5 Replies
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