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Report for Skamania County Sheriff and Washington State Patrol



Skamania County Sheriff's detectives continue to investigate the death of a 30-year-old Tacoma man on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Juan Rojas Cortez, 30, Tacoma, was found deceased in the Skookum Meadows area late Saturday by two co-workers. They were in the area commercially picking bear grass. When Cortez failed to come out at quitting time, the co-workers started looking for him, and a short time later located him, deceased. The co-workers flagged down a passing hunter who transported the co-workers to the Skamania County Sheriff's Office to report the incident.

Detectives have received some leads from hunters in the area at the time of the shooting, but are continuing to request the public's assistance in locating a white SUV similar to a Jeep Liberty driven by a shorter stature white male, 30 to 40 years of age, wearing round style eyeglasses, and answering to a name similar to "Craig." Authorities believe this individual was in the area and may have information related to this case.

An autopsy revealed the cause of death as a gun shot wound to the torso area of Cortez. Detectives have ruled out suicide and are continuing the investigation to determine if the homicide was accidental or intentional, and who was involved

Anyone with information in regards to this incident is requested to call Skamania County Detective Sergeant Monty Buettner or Detective Tim Garrity at 427-9490 with any information they may have.



A 44-year-old Lyle woman was injured in a one-vehicle accident on Nov. 5, 2008. The accident occurred at approximately 11:40 a.m. on State Route 14 at milepost 75 in Lyle.

According to the report, Shannon P. Wilson, was driving her 2002 Dodge Caravan westbound on SR 14. The vehicle crossed the westbound shoulder and exited the roadway to the north, traveling down a six-foot embankment. The vehicle entered a drainage ditch, striking a utility pole.

Wilson suffered back pain and was transported by ambulance to Mid Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles.

An Amboy resident was injured in a one vehicle accident on Nov. 6, 2008. The accident occurred on SR 14 in Murdock at approximately 8:18 a.m.

According to the report, Richmond J. Harris, 59, was driving a 1997 Peterbilt dump truck with trailer eastbound on SR 14. The vehicle drifted onto the eastbound shoulder, causing the trailer to slide on a downhill slope and roll onto its side. Harris then lost control of the truck which rolled onto its side, coming to rest blocking the westbound lane and shoulder. The lane was blocked for three hours.

Harris had contusions to the right side of the his head and neck pain. He was transported to aid to Mid Columbia Medical Center in The Dalles.

Harris was charged with negligent driving.

A Stevenson man was killed in a one-vehicle accident at approximately 1:29 a.m. on Nov. 7. The accident occurred on SR 14 at milepost 25.95, eight miles east of Washougal.

According to the report, Brian C. Hall, 52, was driving a 1996 Toyota 4-Runner eastbound on SR 14. The vehicle crossed the double-yellow centerline in a right hand curve, continuing across the westbound lane. The vehicle left the roadway to the north, rolling and coming to rest on its top. The vehicle then caught fire. Hall was outside of the vehicle to the left. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The roadway was partially blocked by emergency equipment for four hours.

A Goldendale man died following a two vehicle accident on Nov. 9, 2008, on SR 97 at SR 142 in the city of Goldendale. The accident occurred at approximately 2:37 p.m.

According to the report, Wayne W. Byers, 89, Goldendale, was eastbound on SR 142. He had stopped his 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer at the stop sign on SR 142 at the entrance to SR 97. A 2003 Dodge pickup with trailer driven by John P. Wilson, 67, Marcola, Ore., was driving southbound on SR 97, approaching the intersection. Byers' vehicle entered the intersection, attempting to turn northbound on SR 97. The front of the Dodge pickup struck the front of the Trailblazer, which spun clockwise, came to rest blocking the southbound lane. The Dodge crossed the northbound lane and lost its trailer. Both rigs came to rest off the roadway.

Byers suffered internal injuries and was transported to Klickitat Valley Hospital, where he later died. Wilson suffered chest injuries and was also transported to KVH. He was treated and released.


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