Saturday, March 30, 2013

Outlaws Killed by Citizens

Vintage stories of robbers shot by armed citizens
Compiled by Robert A. Waters

Almost from the beginning of this country, armed citizens have successfully fought back when attacked.  Until the advent of the Internet, these stories were just blurbs in some local newspaper, and therefore, unknown to the general public.  Because of this, anti-gun politicians got away with disparaging those who claimed there were many cases of armed self-defense.  Now it’s easy to locate numerous cases online.  In today’s blog, I’ll publish a few of the older stories that never made national news—you’ll notice that many are just two- or three-sentence write-ups.

Miami Daily News-Record, Miami, Oklahoma
HOBART, Okla., Nov. 13, 1934—UP—Acid-burned fingertips on the body of a little tattooed robber killed here last night in the course of an attempted filling station holdup impeded efforts of officers to establish identification today. George Allen, attendant at the station, told officers the stranger entered the building alone last night and ordered him to open the money till. When Allen refused, the robber attempted to pry open the drawer himself. Allen said he drew a pistol and shot the intruder five times as the robber tried to draw a .45 automatic from inside his shirt. In the car in which the man drove up to the station was found a submachine gun. There were no papers or other means of identification on his person. The robber was described as from 27 to 35 years of age; 5 feet 7; weight 130 pounds; black hair; sallow complexion; with two tattoo marks on his body.

The Daily Northwestern

Eiland, N. C., November 13, 1930—(AP)—One robber was killed and another escaped after an unsuccessful attempt to rob the bank of Eiland here Saturday. The dead man was identified as Frank Carpenter, of Durham. He was shot down by F. Carl Forrest, a merchant, as he left the bank with several thousand dollars in his pocket. As Forrest's shot rang out, another bandit, who had been waiting in an automobile in front of the bank, sped away.

Bradford Era (Bradford, PA)

Westville, Oklahoma, Oct. 14, 1930—(UPI)—An attempted bank robbery was frustrated here today, a robber was killed, a bank president was wounded, but a posse failed to capture the second of the two holdup men. A man giving the name of Tom Haworth was killed when bank officials first grappled with the bandits and then obtained guns and fired at the fleeing robbers. Before he died he said his companion was named Elmer Jones.  F. S. Howard, president of the bank, was wounded in the hand when he rushed outside the bank to continue firing at the robbers, who sped away in a motor car. Haworth, fatally wounded, left the car about a mile from Westville, and was captured.

Clovis News-Journal (New Mexico)

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 26, 1940—UP— Police announced today that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had identified a gunman killed during a holdup Monday night as William Anderson, 23, of Albuquerque. The FBI said the victim's fingerprints tallied with those of Anderson, taken when he enlisted in the army at Ft Lewis, Wash., a year ago. He was the second robber killed in two months by Mike Bossio, liquor store owner.

Muscogee Times-Democrat (Oklahoma)

TROY, New York, Oct. 7, 1913—Frank Stumpf, postmaster at Stillwater, Saratoga county, aroused at 3 o'clock this morning by the sound of an explosion in the post office about 100 feet east of his residence, took his rifle and fired at random through a window by the side of the safe, instantly killing an unidentified man who was attempting to rob the safe. One of the burglars stationed outside the post office was armed with a repeating rifle and fired three shots at Stumpf. Two men then ran from the building and made their escape. The third was found dead by the safe, the bullet having entered just behind the left ear.

The Other Desperadoes Escape on Horse-back—A Sheriff's Posse in Hot Pursuit— Supposed to be the Dalton Gang

The Ohio Democrat (Cincinnati)

WICHITA, Kan., April 11, 1894—The Daltons or other train robbers attempted Monday night to hold up the Rock Island train No. 1, four miles below Pond Creek, in the Oklahoma Territory. They met an unexpected resistance at the hands of Jake Harmon, the Wells-Fargo express messenger, who shot the first man who tried to break in the express car by the use of dynamite. The other men in the gang tried to escape, but the trainmen succeeded in wounding and capturing another of the men and two horses. The other bandits succeeded in getting away, but without any booty.

The train went through Pond Creek, which is a new town in the strip, about 11 o'clock. It was evidently at this point that two men mounted the front platform of the express car next to the locomotive. The train had gone about four miles from the town when one of the men with a revolver in each hand climbed on the tender and compelled the engineer to stop. No sooner had the train come to a standstill than three or four men suddenly appeared out of the darkness. The men on the locomotive kept the engineer and fireman from giving the alarm while the rest of the gang went back to the baggage and express car.

They tried to open the door, but the messenger had become alarmed and had the door securely fastened. The bandits then fired through the car and brought out a stick of dynamite with which they blew out the end of the car. They then tried to enter the car, but Messenger Harmon was ready for them. He shot and killed the first man to put his head in sight. This was more than the other members of the gang had expected and they attempted to beat a hasty retreat.

By this time other trainmen had come to Harmon's relief and another desperado was wounded. The other masked men ran to their horses which were waiting, hastily mounted and rode away in the darkness, leaving their wounded companion on the ground. He was picked up by the trainmen, put in one of the cars and his wounds cared for as well as could be under the circumstances.

Two horses which had been left for the victims were also captured. The train then backed up to Pond Creek, from which point the alarm was sent out and arrangements made for the pursuit of the bandits. Telegrams were sent to all the sheriffs in this part of the country and every effort will be made to bring the robbers to justice. The robbery was well planned.

The region is a wild one, in which the bandits, who are well acquainted with the lay of the land, would have a great advantage over any posse that would attempt to follow them. One of the masked men had his specific duty assigned him in true bandit style, and the horses were ready for the escape and for carrying off the booty. Had it not been for the unexpected bravery of Jack Harmon the hold-up would have been a success. The amount of money on the car is unknown, but it is supposed to be large.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Will Larry Eugene Mann Actually Die for his Crimes?

Elisa Nelson
The Long Wait
Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that he has signed a death warrant for child-killer Larry Eugene Mann.  The murderer is scheduled to die by lethal injection on April 10th at Florida State Prison in Starke.
The following description of the crime and its aftermath is taken from court documents.  WARNING: The details are gruesome.

“Elisa Nelson was 10 years old and attended Palm Harbor Middle School, which was seven or eight blocks from her home. On November 4, 1980 Elisa had a dental appointment to have braces put on her teeth, and so she went to school late after her visit to the dentist. Elisa left home for school on her bicycle between 10:15 and 10:30. She had an excuse note her mother had written for her to explain her tardiness. Elisa Nelson was seen riding her bicycle on Nebraska Avenue toward 15th Street, the street on which her school was located, at around 10:30 that morning. Around 4:00 on the afternoon of November 4, 1980, Wendy Nelson called the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office and reported her daughter missing. A deputy was dispatched to take a report, following which a search was begun. Elisa's bicycle was found that day, lying on its side in a ditch or ravine area a little bit north of the middle school. The search continued around the area where the bicycle was found until midnight, when it was called off. 
“The search began again the next morning, and Elisa's body was found around 8:00 or 9:00 lying face down in a wooded area next to an orange grove. She was fully clothed except for her sneakers, which were off to the side of the body. Her jeans were closed. There were several areas of blood within a few feet of her head, which was in a shallow depression. Her left arm was behind her back, and there was a piece of vine around it. The cause of her death was a skull fracture, inflicted by some type of blunt object. There was a lamp post or pole with concrete on the bottom of it about six feet from the body that weighed 45 to 50 pounds, had blood on it of the same type as Elisa Nelson's blood, and was consistent with having inflicted the injury Elisa suffered. Hairs consistent with Elisa's hairs were found on the pole, and on concrete chips recovered at the scene. It would have taken a great deal of force, similar to an auto accident, to have caused the injury to the skull. The associate medical examiner, Dr. Corcoran, opined that Elisa was still alive and breathing at the time her skull was crushed. In addition to the skull fracture, there were five wounds to the neck that would have been inflicted with a sharp instrument, and which Dr. Corcoran believed were inflicted first. These included a cut on the left side of the neck that was about four and one half inches long, and a cut on the right side of the neck that was about three and one quarter inches long. These would have cut the external jugular veins and gone into the muscle, but not to any significant distance. The other three wounds to the neck consisted of two smaller cuts and a tiny puncture wound.

“If left untreated, the wounds to the neck probably would have ultimately resulted in death; they may or may not have actually contributed to Elisa's death. One would remain conscious for a matter of minutes up to roughly half an hour after receiving the wounds to the neck, however, the blunt trauma to the head would have caused immediate unconsciousness. Elisa also had a recent bruise on her chin, which would have been caused while she was still alive, and which was consistent either with a blow or a hand over the mouth. Finally, there were four bruises on each of her legs, all of them less than an inch in diameter, some of which were recent, and some of which were several days old.
“On November 8, 1980 deputies of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office received a radio call to go to [Larry Eugene Mann’s] residence in Dunedin, where they were given a note by Appellant's wife, Donna, that she had found under a shirt on the front seat of Appellant's pickup truck. It was the note Wendy Nelson had written for her daughter to take to school on November 4. The investigation intensified at that point. The sheriff's deputies proceeded to Mease Hospital to question Appellant, who was being treated there as a result of his attempted suicide on November 4, but "there was no statements given.'' The deputies also secured a search warrant for the Mann residence and Appellant's truck. Appellant was arrested on the basis of probable cause on November 10. Two fingerprints found on Elisa Nelson's bicycle were identified as matching Appellant's known prints. A hair found in vacuum sweepings taken from the floor of Appellant's truck and hair from auto floor insulation removed from Appellant's garage matched the hair of Elisa Nelson. 

“Tires on Appellant's truck were similar to tire impressions the sheriff's deputies found in the area where Elisa Nelson's body was found. Foam rubber seized at Appellant's house was similar to foam secured from Elisa's body.”
Mann was sentenced to death on March 26, 1981, and later resentenced on January 14, 1983, and March 2, 1990.

Courts and lawyers have a way of subverting justice, so it remains to be seen whether Larry Eugene Mann will actually go to sleep on a state gurney.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Colorado's Most Notorious Unsolved Murder

Emily Griffith
Who Killed the Retired School-marm?

A recent Denver Post article by Kirk Mitchell alerted me to this unusual case.  Unfortunately, after 67 years, there’s little hope of determining who murdered Emily and Florence Griffith.

On June 18, 1947, an assailant forced two elderly women to kneel on the floor of their mountain cabin.  Then the killer dispatched each with a shot to the back of the head.  Two months later, the man suspected of the murders was found dead.  But did he really do it?

A lifelong educator, Emily Griffith, 67, had positively impacted the lives of many children.  But she’d done much more.  In 1916, she established the Opportunity School in Denver.  According to Kirk Mitchell, “it was a free school within the public Denver school system [that] offered trade education for barbers, bakers and plumbers.  Many of her students had come from foreign countries and couldn’t speak English. Parents learned English, math and the basics of American government.”

Now called the Emily Griffith Technical College, the school has helped more than 1.5 million people, including a high percentage of immigrants, to learn viable skills necessary for success in this country.  Opportunity School was one of the first of its kind, and started a trend across America.

After retiring, Griffith built a rustic cabin near Pinecliffe.  There she cared for her invalid sister, Florence.  The two lived comfortably on a pension that Emily received from the Denver Public School System.  A friend and neighbor, Fred Wright Lundy, helped care for the sisters.  Almost every evening, Lundy, also a former teacher, had supper with Emily and Florence. 

About twenty-four hours after the murders, Ethelyn Gurtner (a sister of the dead women) and her husband, Evans, found the bodies.  Time magazine reported that “the dining table, near the window overlooking a creek, was set for three. On the living room floor lay Florence Griffith, in a puddle of blood. On the bedroom floor lay Emily. Each had been shot through the head with a .38-calibre revolver.”

Lundy quickly became the immediate (and only) suspect.  About a mile up the canyon, searchers discovered his 1941 Nash.  Inside, a note read: “If and when I die, please ship my body to Roscoe, Il. No autopsy. Correspond with Roy Cummings, Roscoe, a cousin. No funeral here. Money in the brief case can be used for immediate expenses. Thank you. P.S. Embalm in Boulder, Colo. Fredy Lundy.”  Investigators opened the briefcase and found an envelope containing $350.00.

Lundy’s body, however, was nowhere to be found.

Rural mountain homes, called “outlaw cabins” by the news media, were searched.  For several days, lawmen and “mountain men” scoured the area, including the creek that ran near Emily’s home.  No body was found.  As the search for the alleged killer continued, Undersheriff Don Moore of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department informed the press that he didn’t think Lundy had committed suicide.  Photos of the suspect were published in newspapers all over America, but still he eluded capture.

Then, on August 17, the Associated Press reported that “the severely-decomposed body of a man was found wedged against a large rock in South Boulder creek Saturday and coroner George Howe said he was certain it was that of Fred Wright Lundy, 65, missing key figure in the Griffith sisters slaying case.”  Lundy had indeed committed suicide, jumping from a railroad bridge about a mile from the Griffith home.

Police told reporters that the killer of the sisters had been found, and effectively closed the case.

Not everyone agreed, and over the years questions arose.

By all accounts, Lundy had no motive to want his friends dead.  Neighbors said he occasionally groused that the area around Pinecliffe was a “prison,” and it was rumored that he would have liked to have moved to a city, such as Chicago.  In fact, he asked Emily to go with him to the Windy City for a visit.  She politely informed him that she couldn’t leave her homebound sister.

Was this a motive for murder?

Cops insisted the crime was a “mercy killing.”  Lundy, they claimed, had expressed displeasure over his friend Emily having to be the perpetual caregiver for her sister.  He had allegedly told friends that he’d “rather see them dead than the way they are living.”

Did Lundy obsess on these seemingly minor difficulties to the point that he would murder his two friends?

Another theory emerged when author Debra Faulkner published her book, Touching Tomorrow: The Emily Griffith Story.  She concluded that if Lundy had intended to kill the women, he would have chosen a “gentler” method.  In addition, he had nothing to gain by their deaths.

Faulkner looked for other suspects, and speculated that, in order to inherit Emily’s estate, Ethelyn and Evans Gurtner may have slain the sisters.  The husband and wife soon began traveling the world, using funds they would never have had without the inheritance.  But while the Gurtners may have had motive, there was no evidence that they committed the crime.

So the question remains: who killed Emily and Florence Griffith?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Spine Snipping

Death in the City of Brotherly Love
by Robert A. Waters

The gruesome events that took place at Gosnell’s Women’s Medical Society in Philadelphia are beyond belief.  Dr. Kermit Gosnell, owner of the clinic, is on trial for seven counts of first degree murder, one count of third-degree murder, and numerous other charges.  Eight of his employees have already pleaded guilty to killing babies and related crimes.

In addition to “snipping” the spines of living infants that escaped his cocktail of poisons, Dr. Gosnell is accused of murdering Karnamaya Mongar in a botched abortion.  His hospital of horrors reeked with decomposing body parts, cat urine and feces, as well as mold-covered walls.  On shelves surrounding the abortion table, Dr. Gosnell allegedly stored the severed feet of babies in specimen jars.  A grand jury report labled the clinic a “baby charnel house.”  Inside the room where once-secret horrors unfolded, police found broken medical equipment, unsterilized surgical implements, bloody blankets, and blood-stained furniture.

The actual numbers of babies murdered in the clinic will never be known because investigators found few records.

Adrienne Moton, who pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, testified that she had snipped the necks of at least ten viable, living infants.  Some had lived up to thirty minutes before succumbing to her scissors.  In graphic testimony, Moton claimed that Dr. Gosnell taught her the procedure, and that he performed it himself on many occasions.

The grand jury report corroborates Moton’s testimony.  Gosnell, it reads, “induced labor, forced the live birth of viable babies in the sixth, seventh, [and] eighth month of pregnancy and then killed those babies by cutting into the back of the neck with scissors and severing their spinal cord.”

If Dr. Gosnell is found guilty, he faces the death penalty, like those sad children who never had a chance.


Monday, March 11, 2013

American Paratrooper Hanged by Great Britain

Karl Gustav Hulten
Killer's crime spree occurred during World War II
by Robert A. Waters
In 1945, a blitzed-out Great Britain was in no mood to molly-coddle a cold-faced killer.  Even if he was American.  So, on March 8, at Pentonville Prison, AWOL paratrooper Pvt. Karl Gustav Hulten, 23, of Boston, Massachusetts, dropped through the gallows trap-door and met his ignominious end.  His crimes were so atrocious that even the United States government never protested the execution.
British army veteran George Edward Heath had been wounded at Dunkirk.  After being discharged, he spent the last part of the war trying to support his wife and two children by driving an unlicensed taxi.  On October 7, 1944, Heath’s body was found in a ditch at Knowle Green, Staines, Middlesex.  He’d been shot in the back, and his cab stolen.  At first, no one recognized him, so the press dubbed him the “cleft chin man,” after his one outstanding feature.

It didn’t take long for Heath’s wife to identify her husband from news accounts, and soon constables went looking for his taxi. Finding it parked on a busy street, British police waited until Hulten came back to the car, and arrested him.

Since he was an American, investigators turned him over to the U. S. Army.  But the military quickly handed the deserter back to British authorities. 

English detectives soon learned that a few days before, Hulten and a stripper named Elizabeth Jones had embarked on a seemingly senseless crime spree.  They met in a bar, and the American’s gift of gab entranced Jones.  She loved to hear him brag about his Mafioso friends (a lie, of course) and the Nazi bastards he’d killed in battle (another lie, of course).  In truth, Hulten was a coward of the worst sort, attacking only defenseless women or shooting an unarmed man in the back.

Part of the D-Day assault force, Hulten had abandoned his unit and stole a military truck to make his getaway.  After hooking up with Jones, the deserter felt the need to impress her, so together they began their brief life of crime.

While driving the purloined Army truck, he noticed a teenage girl riding her bicycle in West London.  Hulten, looking for a big score, snatched the surprised teen's purse. 

The pitiful take on that haul did nothing to slake the couple’s taste for money, so Hulten decided to rob a cab.  He stopped his truck in front of the first taxi he saw, and, brandishing his gun, ran toward the cabbie demanding money.  He hadn’t noticed an American army officer in the back seat—when the serviceman pulled his own handgun, Hulten raced back to the truck and fled.

Soon Hulten and Jones spied a girl walking down Edgware Road.  Toting a suitcase, she was en route to Paddington.  When Hulten offered her a ride, she accepted.  It came close to being her last ride.  Hulten smashed her head with a crowbar, strangled her, and attempted to drown her.  She barely survived the unprovoked assault.  But again, the girl had little money, so the love-struck couple was still broke.

Their next crime resulted in the death of cab-driver Heath.  This robbery netted a measly eight pounds.

Hulten’s final crime was almost laughable.  Jones informed her paramour that she'd always wanted a fur coat.  So, sitting outside a hotel, her lover waited for a likely mark to emerge.  Sure enough, a woman in a fur coat soon exited the building.  Hulten ran up, grabbed the coat, and attempted to pull it off her.  She fought, and the AWOL American ran back to the cab he’d stolen from Heath.

A few hours later, British investigators, staking out the taxi, caught the braggadocios “mobster” and “war hero.”

Hulten and Jones were quickly tried and sentenced to death.

Five months later, Elizabeth Jones’ death sentence was commuted to life in prison.

On March 8, 1945, as American troops swept toward Berlin on the western front and the Russian army on the east, Hulten was hanged.  Outside the prison, Mrs. Violet Van der Elst and some 200 protestors demonstrated against the death penalty.  “You let the girl off, but you let the man hang,” Van der Elst shouted.  “It’s a damned shame.”  She demanded that officials let her go inside the prison and visit Hulten before his execution, but authorities denied her request.  She then commandeered a passing garbage truck and tried to break through the police barricade that lined the prison walls.  Van der Elst and the hapless driver were arrested.

Despite requests for mercy from Hulten’s wife and mother, British authorities avenged the death of the innocent cabbie.

Nine years later, Jones was released from prison, and disappeared into the ash-bin of history.

Violet Van der Elst died in 1966, 21 years after Hulten’s execution.  A former washerwoman, she’d married the Belgian painter, Jean Van der Elst, and inherited his fortune.  She wrote books condemning the death penalty, and ran unsuccessfully for political office on three occasions.  She squandered her fortune, and died penniless.  But Van der Elst did live long enough to see the death penalty forever abolished in Great Britain.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What Happened to the Bloody Benders?

Kansas family of killers disappears

Ma Bender was a skank.  Speaking with a heavy German accent, she hovered over guests like an angry hawk.  But she could put a meal on the table.
William Bender, aka John Flickinger, common-law husband to Ma, managed the farm they owned along the Osage Trail in Kansas.  It was said he'd shacked up with Ma after she'd violently dispatched two previous husbands.

John Bender, in his mid-twenties, had red hair, and giggled at inappropriate times.  Most people avoided him.  It was never determined whether he was the brother or husband of Kate.

Kate Bender, a buxom beauty on the lonely plains, garnered lots of attention from men.  She claimed to be a spiritualist, a psychic, and a healer.  She told neighbors she could speak with the dead, and held séances to prove it.

In 1872, the family drifted into Cherryvale, Kansas and built a make-shift inn.  There, weary travelers heading west could bunk down for the night after enjoying one of Ma’s tasty meals.  A covered-wagon canvas separated the kitchen and a bed from the family’s living quarters. 

Soon travelers began to disappear, particularly those who looked well-to-do.  Townspeople suspected that something was not right at the Bender place, but couldn’t put a finger on it.  Then one day, a well-dressed man with a large entourage appeared, inquiring about his missing brother.  The Benders, without realizing it, had murdered the wrong man.

Colonel Ed York, a Civil War veteran and brother to a Kansas state senator, had come looking for Dr. William Henry York.  The Benders told the colonel that Dr. York had spent a night at the inn but left the next day, heading into the Indian Territory.  Colonel York was unconvinced, but told the family he would search ahead.  He informed them that he would return if he didn’t find his brother.

That was all the Benders needed.  As soon as Colonel York and his posse moved on, the family high-tailed it out of Kansas.

A few days later, Col. York, along with dozens of suspicious townspeople, was back at the now-abandoned inn.  What they found horrified them.  Eleven bodies, including that of Dr. York, had been buried in the pear orchard behind the shack. 

Beneath the chair where travelers partook of Ma Bender’s delicacies, a trapdoor opened into a basement.  Body parts, bloody sledge-hammers, spent bullets, and swaths of blood told a grisly tale.  While eating, visitors, perhaps distracted by Kate’s ample cleavage, had been dispatched with a blow to the back of the head.  Then the trapdoor opened and the unlucky traveler descended into Hell.  Some, still alive after having been bludgeoned, had had their throats cut.  Each was stripped of his possessions, and buried, as Ma tenderly planted flowers over their graves.

So what happened to the murderous Benders?

A large posse mounted a determined search.  Twelve miles north of the inn, near the town of Thayer, they came upon the Benders’ wagon.  Nearby, several lame, starving horses had to be put down by the posse.  In town, the vigilantes discovered that the family had boarded a train.  Kate and John were thought to have headed for the badlands of Texas, while Ma and Pa made their way to St. Louis by way of Kansas City.

They would have had plenty of money for their getaway.  After identifying the victims and assessing the cash each had been carrying, investigators estimated that the Benders had netted about $10,000 from the murders (a near-fortune in the 1870s).

The state of Kansas offered a $3,000 reward, and several vigilante groups began trying to track the fleeing foursome.  No one ever claimed the reward.

It is possible that Ma and Pa Bender settled in Michigan.  A man named John Flickinger supposedly committed suicide there—that was thought to have been the real name of William Bender.  John and Kate disappeared from history.

Persistent rumors swirled around one other possible outcome—vigilante justice.  Many years later, two members of the original posse made deathbed confessions.  They both stated that they caught the family and summarily dispatched them.  Ma, Pa, and John, the story goes, were hung.  Kate, thought to be the brains behind the murders, had been burned to death.

What really happened to the Bloody Benders? 

No one knows.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Missing California Girl Found Dead

TRANSCRIPT: Police statement about the disappearance and murder of Marysa Nichols

On Thursday, February 28,Red Bluff (California) Police Chief Paul Nanfito provided this timeline on the search for Marysa Nichols.

Thank you for your patience as we worked our investigation today. We are going to provide you with as much information as we can without compromising the investigation.

On Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at around 5:30 p.m. the Red Bluff Police Department received a report of a missing juvenile identified as Marysa Nichols. It was reported that her mother had dropped her off at Red Bluff High School's Education Outreach Academy (EOA) at approximately 9:50 a.m. on February 26. Marysa told her mother that she would be home at around 2:30 p.m. in the afternoon.

When her mother returned home at around 4 p.m. her daughter was not at home.

At around 5:30 p.m. she reported her daughter missing to the police department. At around 1 a.m. officers and detectives searched the creek area for the missing juvenile as this is an area that she would have crossed when walking home from school. Officers and detectives worked on this investigation until approximately 3 a.m. on the morning of February 27, 2013.

The creek area was searched again on the 27th at around 8 a.m. Neither of these searches produced any leads or information regarding the disappearance of Marysa Nichols.

Information about the missing juvenile was released through the Critical Reach System, her photograph was released to local media. Throughout the day on Wednesday, investigators and officers continued their investigation which included efforts to obtain video surveillance footage as well as information from other electronic devices.

Patrol officers again searched the creek area for the missing juvenile late in the night on Wednesday.

On Thursday, February 28, 2013 our investigators went up with CHP Air Ops to continue the search. This day was also a regularly scheduled training day for the Tehama Inter-Agency SWAT team. Prior to the start of their training they were utilized to once again search the creek area for Marysa.

At approximately 11:03 a.m. two members of the SWAT team located a deceased female in the creek area west of Red Bluff High School and east of Baker Road.

At this time the Red Bluff Police Department requested an activation of the Child Abduction Response team (CART). Approximately (20) additional personnel responded to assist with the investigation.

RBPD was assisted by personnel from Tehama County's Sheriff's Department, Tehama County District Attorney's Office, TIDE Task Force, Tehama County Probation Department, California Highway Patrol, State Parole and Corning Police Department as well as investigators from the Tehama County District Attorney's Office.

The California Department of Justice, forensic crime scene investigators responded to assist in processing the crime scene.

Based upon the scene we have determined that this is a homicide investigation. Our investigation is continuing and an autopsy is scheduled for Saturday, March 2, 2013.

Utilizing photographs as well as specific items at the crime scene we have identified the victim as Marysa Nichols.

RBPD Staff with the assistance of a local pastor notified the mother and step-father.

CHP assisted in providing a notification to the biological father who is located in the Fresno area.

Our tip line numbers are 530-737-3160 and 530-737-3225.