Search efforts continued Wednesday morning, Dec. 29, for a missing 42 year old Gresham, Ore., man near Beacon Rock, approximately 3 miles west of North Bonneville.
Approximately 30 ground search members, including several K-9 units searched the area Tuesday, Dec. 28, where a 1998 Mazda pickup registered to David Mekvold was located late Monday night, Dec. 27, on a gravel road off State Route 14. The vehicle was associated with an an active missing person out of the Gresham Police Department, Gresham, Ore.
Skamania County Sheriff's Office Detectives continue to work in conjunction with Gresham Police Department Detectives on this matter.
"Weather continues to be a factor in this operation," said Undersheriff Dave Cox. "Our search teams have done a tremendous job searching the terrain with the weather we have been given."
Temperatures have been in the lower 30s.
The search command post will continue to be located at the Beacon Rock trailhead on State Route 14.
A southeast Portland man is in custody at the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional Facility (NORCOR) in The Dalles related to multiple allegations including kidnap, rape, assault and DUII. Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers and detectives are continuing the investigation with the Wasco County District Attorney's Office.
Benjamin Franklin Reed, 31, from southeast Portland, was taken into custody by OSP troopers Sunday, Jan. 2, upon his release from a Portland-area hospital where he was treated for injuries sustained in an earlier traffic crash.
Reed was transported to and lodged at NORCOR on the following charges with bail listed at $1.234 million: rape in the first degree (2 counts); kidnap in the first degree; kidnap in the second degree; sodomy in the first degree; assault in the second degree; assault in the fourth degree -- felony (child present); recklessly endangering another person (3 counts); driving under the influence of intoxicants; reckless driving; and menacing.
According to OSP Sergeant Pat Shortt, on Dec. 31, 2010, at 4:33 a.m. a commercial truck driver traveling eastbound on Interstate 84 near milepost 79 reported seeing a man chasing a woman on foot in the eastbound lanes. The truck driver stopped on the side of the road at which point the man got into a black 2002 Jeep Cherokee and while driving away eastbound attempted to run over the woman.
A few minutes later a rollover traffic crash was reported eastbound near milepost 82. Troopers responded to both incidents and at the traffic crash scene found the black Jeep Cherokee overturned with a male subject, later identified as Reed, ejected and a small female child secured in a child safety seat inside with non-life threatening injuries. During the rollover crash the Jeep collided with a Plymouth Voyager van with two occupants who were not injured.
Reed and the woman's 23-month old child were transported by ambulance to Mid-Columbia Medical Center for treatment. Reed was transferred to Oregon Health Sciences University for further treatment until his release and arrest.
The investigation related to both incidents alleges Reed took the 25-year old female victim and child by force from the Portland-area residence where they live together. Reed assaulted the adult female and forced her to drive east on Interstate 84 until they stopped at the eastbound Memaloose Rest Area near milepost 72 where Reed sexually assaulted the woman. After the sexual assault, they continued eastbound until milepost 79 where the woman stopped and ran from the vehicle at which point she was spotted by the commercial truck driver who stopped to help.
FIRE & EMS
Hood River Fire crews responded to a kitchen fire Jan. 1 in a house on Columbia Street in Hood River. Upon arrival, crews found the house charged with smoke, but the fire had been contained by a burned-through water line near the dishwasher. Crews evacuated the smoke from the rental house and overhauled the fire area to check for fire extension into the walls. The rental was un-occupied at the time of the fire, but renters had just recently left the building.
According to the rental agency, the renters had smelled something burning and the dishwasher could not be opened. They left the building, but notified the rental company of the problem. The rental manager immediately went to the rental to check the situation and found the home's smoke detectors sounding and the building filled with smoke. She called 911 and Hood River Fire crews arrived a short time later. Damage is estimated at $40,000, but it could have been worse.
"Had it not been for the water supply line to the dishwasher burning in half, the fire would have continued to build and more substantial damage could have been done to the house," says fire chief Devon Wells. "The broken water line acted like a residential fire sprinkler, stopping the spread of the fire. Again we see the value of quick acting detection and suppression systems in homes."
Wells adds that anyone that smells smoke from an appliance or any other type of fixture in their home should immediately disconnect the power to the appliance and call 911 for assistance.
"Fires can build inside walls and smolder for hours or even days until enough heat builds to cause an open fire. That could be in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping in the home. Don't take that risk," says Chief Wells.