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Not a murder after all, that’s the findings of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Dept. after interviewing an original witness and family members of the man who died. Reports of a man running from a burning van, then a body found inside that van last month in Leggett. Now a forensic odontologist has made a positive identification of the body found in the burned out van. It was the registered owner of the van, 58 year old Edward Kinckney, of Eureka. His family told police he had been showing signs of mental health problems the last few weeks of his life. So after talking to family and the original witness, detectives say a suspect seen running with his leg on fire, was probably Kinckley, who they say may have run back into the van before he died. His cause of death is still being investigated as there are more tests being run. Investigators say the original witness has been cooperating.

Good news at Eagle Peak Middle School. Board members of the Ukiah Unified School District found the school doing well with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programming as they become a STEM magnet school. The Daily Journal reports the school district board decided last year to make the change at Eagle Peak to become a STEM magnet school to help focus students for potential future careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The students get to work on projects like in robotics, electronics, computer coding and programming, 3-D art design, and music technology. The school also reporting more students enrolling in the past five years.

A man from Laytonville found guilty of several crimes including burglary and vandalism. The Mendocino County D-A’s office reports a jury came back after deliberations yesterday announcing the guilty verdicts against Frank Cabral, but he was found not guilty of possessing methamphetamine for sale. Instead he was found guilty of a lesser misdemeanor of simple possession. But he’s guilty of burglary in the second degree and vandalism causing $400 or more in damage, both felonies. He will be back in court Thursday. The man also had a previous conviction for murder in the second degree from out of state, if that’s found true in court Thursday, it could mean a doubling of whatever his sentence is.

Several marijuana gardens found in the Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forest and now the cleanup. Kym Kemp dot com reports on the finding from the Integral Ecology Research Center who say they found more than “6 tons of trash removed and close to 6 miles of irrigation line removed from streams being diverted.” The sites found in watersheds of the Trinity River and Hayfork Creek where protected species live, including the Foothill yellow-legged frog, steelhead trout and chinook and coho salmon. The Center reports the sites impacting critical habitat for the species.

A car with phony license plates in Fortuna ends in the arrest of two people on drug and weapons charges. The Fortuna Police Department reports the license plates found not to be registered to the car they were attached to. The cop further investigated and found an assault rifle, a stolen handgun from the State of Washington and more than eleven ounces of suspected Meth packaged for sale. Those inside, Janet Mallett and Donnell Campbell were arrested on multiple charges including possession of a controlled substance for sales, possession of a high capacity magazine, possession of an assault weapon. Campbell had a warrant out of Mendocino County too. The two held in the Humboldt County Jail.

Those still evacuated from their homes after the Camp Fire broke out, have been allowed back to see the damage. Most homes were totally destroyed in the fire that started November 8th. It killed nearly 90 people, with a handful still unaccounted for. 14,000 homes in Paradise and other communities nearby burned. They’ve all been warned, as have others going back in to town, there are limited services and to use power generators and have enough food, water and fuel for their cars. They’re also warned not to live on destroyed property until it’s declared clear of hazardous waste, ash and debris.

Some archaeologists along with volunteers in Paradise looking for cremains of those previously lost and burned again with homes destroyed in the Camp Fire. The Institute for Canine Forensics and archaeologists from Alta Archaeological Consulting in Paradise. The same group working at the Tubbs Fire burn last year, working in about 50 homes in Santa Rosa. The group will be in Paradise for three days, walking thru sites and bringing in a dog to help. They searched last weekend for the cremated remains of five people who were in urns left behind.

A new sergeant has been sworn in in Lakeport. The Police Chief Brad Rasmussen swore Sgt. Michael Davis into office yesterday at Lakeport City Hall. He was first a deputy with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office before coming to the police dept. He’s being formally introduced to the City Council at their regular meeting tonight at 6.

Two people from Lake County arrested in Sonoma County for multiple burglaries. Lake Co News dot com reporting Ryan Messing and Tabytha Jarvis were arrested after a call from someone in Forestville who came home and interrupted a burglary in her home. Police say the woman parked her car in the driveway and saw another car there, a woman inside it asked her if “Gina” lived there, then took off. The homeowner saw there was a broken front door window and heard some rummaging in the house while she was still in the garage. She ran back to her car and called police. She says she then saw Messing run out of her house to a nearby vineyard. Messing arrested in the vineyard and his girlfriend, Jarvis, was picked up later, then identified by the homeowner as the woman she saw in her driveway. Detectives found stolen firearms, tools, jewelry and miscellaneous items at her home. The two were being held in the Sonoma County Jail on burglary, possession of stolen property, theft of firearms, possession of a stolen vehicle and conspiracy charges.

The latest Statewide Elk Conservation and Management Plan has been released by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The release after public review on how to maintain healthy elk herds. They’re looking to continue reestablishing elk and continue management practices that have bolstered elk populations in Calif. The agency says it builds on their commitment of a strong foundation for the continued conservation of this iconic species and its future management. The work includes controlling invasive weeds, installing water sources, conducting research and planting food plots.

The family of Scott Peterson, the convicted murderer of his wife Lacey, says there’s new evidence that’ll prove he’s innocent of the murder. Scott Peterson’s sister-in-law, Janey on the Dr. Phil show with the news. She says there’s a mailman who was involved and police even have a timeline to prove it. She says her brother in law shouldn’t be on death row, while there’s so many unanswered questions. She went on to tell Doctor Phil police never followed up with more than a dozen witnesses including a mailman she says is critical to the case. She also claims a former CBS reporter is to blame for Scott being on death row. The Peterson family wants a new trial now.

Some new laws take effect on the road in January. One of them, you cannot buy or lease a car and drive off without temporary license plates. The Gov. actually signed this bill into law in 2016. It means dealers have to put temporary tags on cars, not paper advertisements. And drivers with the temporary tags for different cars, or if they make their own temporary license plate, could face felony charges if they’re caught. The new law also apparently to cut down on the amount of folks trying to get out of paying for parking and tolls.

The State Attorney General is partnering with the city of Oakland to try to stop a developer from bringing coal through a terminal that’s being built on the old Oakland Army Base. Xavier Becerra getting on board as the city of Oakland appeals a federal judge’s ruling last May, saying the city violated its development agreement with Phil Tagami and the Oakland Bulk Oversized Terminal project by not allowing the transport. Then the development company sued the city. The Oakland City Council has also voted to approve the transport ban. Now the Atty. General has filed court papers to support the city’s appeal to prohibit coal saying the city has the right to apply new regulations to protect residents from health risks to the 2013 agreement with Tagami.

A Northern California utility company has fired a contractor after reports surfaced some workers were posing on burned out Camp Fire properties in a mocking fashion. As we reported yesterday, three workers posted photos on social media with captions or comments making fun of victims. So Pacific Gas & Electric cut off their agreement with Bigge Crane and Rigging Co even after the company said it fired those responsible, calling what they did an egregious insult. The posts went viral showing the workers in front of the destroyed homes, pretending to drive a burned out car and jumping through what was left of a trampoline. In one picture, there was a dead cat with a beer bottle in its mouth.

A man busted in Missouri for poaching deer has been ordered by a judge to watch the movie “Bambi” repeatedly as part of his punishment for poaching hundreds of deer. The Springfield News-Leader reports David Berry Jr. has to now watch the film at least once a month while serving one year in jail. Some conservationists say it’s one of the biggest deer poaching cases in state history. The deer killed for their heads, with their bodies left rotting. The man found guilty of illegally taking wildlife. Three relatives paid $51,000 in fines and court costs related to the case too.

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