Medicine man dies, 8 sent to hospital

Navajo Times

Police Report, March 1,2012

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W WNDOW ROCK - A tragic ending to a Navajo traditional ceremony Sunday resulted in the death of a Navajo medicine man and sent eight others to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning.

Navajo Nation Police were called to the Bedonie residence west of the old Tuba City airport early Sunday morning after receiving reports that there were several individuals there who needed to be taken to the hospital.

The deceased was identified as Junior Yazzie, 74, of Tolani Lake, Ariz.

When police arrived at the hogan, they discovered the survivors to be confused and not responsive to verbal commands. Several had vomited during the night and reported having severe headaches.

Police also discovered that all of the windows had been closed and there was a charcoal bin in the center of the hogan.

Officers immediately opened all of the windows in the hogan and began escorting everyone outside.

The police report said Yazzie was found on the floor in the center of the hogan.

Martha Yazzie, 74, of Tolani Lake, was seated on a couch and was reported to be confused and had a shortness of breath.

Carol Bedonie, 62, address unknown, was sitting in a folding chair next to the door. When police arrived, she was found slumped over the chair. She told police that she had a hard time breathing and was very weak.

Johnstan Bedonie, 42, of Tuba City, tried to help others get out of the building but police said he was also weak and complained of a headache.

The others in the room, including two children, all reported having the same problems.

Martha Yazzie and Carol Bedonie were transported to area hospitals for treatment by ambulance while the rest had to be taken by police vehicles.

Brush fire kills elderly couple

An elderly couple from the Sawmill, Ariz., area died Sunday, the victims of a brush fire that they had started to burn weeds.

The official report on the incident has not been turned in yet so the names of the victims have not been released.

The Window Rock Fire Department was dispatched to an area near Sawmill about 1 p.m. because of reports of a brush fire that had gotten out of control. When they got there and saw the size of the fire, they immediately contacted the McKinley County fire department and asked for assistance.

Units from five fire stations throughout the county responded to the request but the first did not arrive until 30 minutes after the original call.

When they arrived at the scene, they found the fire to be located in an arroyo that was too far down for the fire trucks. The fire had spread to the size of two football fields and fire officials said that it started by an elderly couple who wanted to burn some weeds and then lost control of the fire because of the wind.

They were apparently unable to get away in time before the fire caught them.

Rudy Nez, chief of the Navajo Pine Fire Station, said that there had been a child in a pickup but that child was rescued by the victim's grandson who had seen the fire and ran to help. Several minutes after the child was removed from the truck, the fire reached the truck's gas tank and the gas tank exploded.

Nez said that the fire basically put itself out when it ran into the cliff and could go no further.

Transit bus accident under investigation

Navajo Nation Police are still investigating a Navajo Transit bus accident that occurred about 5:30 p.m. Friday on U.S. Highway 264 east of Ganado.

Police said that a vehicle heading west crashed into the bus as the driver was passing other cars. One person died in the accident while 24 passengers on the bus sustained injuries from minor bruises to more serious fractures.

The name of the deceased has still not been released since the official report of the accident has not been turned in to headquarters yet but police were saying that the driver of the vehicle may have had his view of the road affected by the sun getting in his eyes.

The bus was severely damaged.

Body of missing man found

Farmington City Police reported Tuesday finding a body of a Fruitland, N.M., man who had been missing since Nov. 16.

Dereck George, 27, was last seen leaving Blake's Lotaburger on West Main in Farmington, where he worked as an afternoon shift manager six days a week.

His family filed a missing persons report two days later.

Police were able to find a video taken at the Bisti Giant which showed George's vehicle stopping at the gas station. Several people were seen leaving the vehicle but none of them were George.

Farmington detectives investigated the incident but said they were unable to determine if there had been any foul play. They also said that they were unable to locate George.

That's where the situation remained until Feb. 25 when a body was seen submerged at the Tepee Lakes RV Park. An examination identified the body as being George.

A preliminary investigation found no signs of foul play but the body has been sent to the Office of Medical Investigators in Albuquerque for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

Many hit, killed by vehicle

A liquor-induced argument led to the death of a Lake Valley, N.M., man on Feb. 27.

Navajo police were dispatched to the scene at mile marker 61 on State Highway 371 near Lake Valley about 6:30 p.m.

When they got there, they found out that Garrett Begay, 22, had already died.

Janice Harrison, no age or address given, was the driver of the vehicle that struck and killed Begay.

She told police that she was traveling northbound on the road and noticed a vehicle parked on the shoulder with no headlights on. She then saw a man run across the road but before she could take any evasive action, she had struck him with her vehicle.

Navajo police also talked to Alice Johnson, no age or address given, who was in the car parked alongside the road.

She said Begay and Brandon Charley, the victim's brother, were in the car with her and Artemico Antonio, no age or address given. They were headed home to Farmington when the accident occurred.

The three were all drinking and shortly before the accident Begay and Charley began fighting in the car so bad that Harrison said she had to pull over.

The two got out of the car, still arguing, when Begay ran across the road and was struck by the vehicle.

Charley and Antonio were charged with public intoxification and taken to the Crownpoint jail.

Woman hit with beer mug

A Ganado, Ariz., woman was sent to the hospital on Feb. 22 after she got into an argument with her drinking companion and was hit over the head with a beer mug.

Navajo police said the victim, identified as Laura Ann Sacatero, 52, got into an argument with Theo Shorty, 43, of Cross Canyon, Ariz., over a set of car keys.

Sacatero was diagnosed as having a skull fracture by doctors at Sage Memorial Hospital.

Shorty was arrested and charged with aggravated battery.

Missing person

A $10,000 award is being offered for any information regarding the whereabouts of Jessica Ronhock, who was last contacted Jan. 10 in Elmira, N.Y.

She was reportedly seen in Kayenta getting gas on or about Jan. 18.

Ronhock, 21, is 5'7" and 150 to 160 pounds with brown hair and brown eyes. She was driving a 2000 white Jeep Cherokee (66JX98).

If anyone has any information, contact Sgt. Scott Packard at 607-737-5617 or

Embezzler sentenced

PHOENIX - Franklin J. Jackson Sr., 63, of Bapchule, Ariz., was sentenced Feb. 23 to five years of probation, ordered to pay $38,893 in restitution, and perform 100 hours of community service after pleading guilty to embezzlement from a tribal organization, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Jackson pleaded guilty, admitting that he submitted fraudulent expense and stipend claims while serving on the board of the Gila River Indian Community's Lone Butte Industrial Development Corp. from Sept. 2007 to March 2009.

He became known for claiming that he was wining and dining prominent individuals within the Gila River Indian Community.

Jackson admitted that he regularly submitted bogus claims for meals, meetings, and mileage when, in fact, the events underlying the claimed meals, meetings, and/or mileage had either not occurred or were not part of LBIDC official business.

Sawmill man gets 17 years in death

PHOENIX - Joseph Aaron Duncan, 28, of Sawmill, Ariz., was sentenced Feb. 22 to 17 years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, after pleading guilty to second-degree murder, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Duncan was drunk at home when he accidentally shot and killed a friend on April 8, 2011.

Then he tried to cover up the crime, burying the victim in a wooded field, burying the gun, and burning his and the victim's clothing. He also threw the fatal round into the trash, according to court records.

The victim's body was not found until more than a week after the shooting.

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