Cell phone used to find fallen man

Navajo Times

WINDOW ROCK, June 21, 2012

Text size: A A A



W INDOW ROCK - The search for a Bittersprings, Ariz., man turned tragic on June 12 when his body was found in a canyon where he had fallen.

H.R. Yazzie, 23, had gone with his mother, Arlene Yazzie, a couple of days earlier to the family sheep camp to meet Arlene's husband, Benjamin Yazzie. Sometime during the early evening of June 11, he told family members that he wanted to take a long walk and was seem heading out to a nearby canyon.

When he didn't return that night, the family began searching for him in the morning and then called police, who began a search of their own. They were able to track him to the top of the canyon but the tracks ended there.

Additional Navajo police were called out to help in the search and the search continued until it grew dark. The following morning, the Navajo police asked for and receive assistance from the Coconino County Sheriff's Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety, which also provided a helicopter.

The search on that day began about two miles northwest of the junction of U.S. Highways 89 and 160, the location of which was determined by looking at Yazzie's cell phone record. This was the last area where the cell phone's tracking device showed Yazzie's location.

At about 7:25 p.m. his body was found face down some 80 feet from the floor of Tanner Canyon. It appeared, said the police report, that he had fallen from the top of the canyon some 350 to 400 feet to his death.

Police later interviewed the family members, who said that he appeared to be in good spirits when he started out on his walk.

A helicopter had to be used to transport Yazzie's body out of the canyon.


Tuba City man found dead

Navajo police are investigating the death of a Tuba City man on June 17 as a homicide.

Earlier in the day, police received a call from an unidentified person that Patrick Ranger, 35, had been involved in a fight.

When police got to the house where the fight was supposed to have occurred, they were taken to an upstairs bedroom where they found Ranger in a big pool of blood.

The blood was later found to have come from a deep laceration on top of Ranger's head.

The case is still under investigation. Police said they have the name of the person who was reported to have been in an argument with Ranger.


Police officers vehicles spray-painted

Navajo police are trying to find the person or persons responsible for damaging Navajo Nation and personal property belonging to a tribal police officer who lives at Red Hills Trailer Park in Gallup.

The name of the officer has not been released but the report states that the officer found out in the morning that sometime during the night someone had spray-painted her tribal vehicle as well as her personal vehicle with the words "die" and "die pig."

The person or persons had also broke two of the windows on her personal vehicle. So far there are no suspects but the case is still under investigation.

Family member die in rollover

A vehicle rollover in the Tonalea, Ariz., area resulted in the death of four people and serious injuries to three others, including two children.

When police were first notified of the accident, they learned that multiple deaths and injuries had occurred in the accident, which occurred about 3 p.m. on June 18 at about mile marker 348 on U.S. Highway 160.

Police said that the vehicle's driver, Bryan Chee, 30, was among those who died. The other deceased were listed as Zelenski Begay, 37, of Cowsprings, Matthew Yazzie, 21, of Tuba City and Delvin Yazzie, 30, of Tuba City.

Besides the two children, the other person who received serious injury was Derek Haskier, 28, of Tuba City. He and the two children had to be transported by helicopter to area trauma centers for treatment.

Police said that speed and alcohol were contributing factors to the accident.


Spike strips stop speeding driver

A Leupp, Ariz., man is facing a variety of charges after leading tribal and Arizona state police on a long pursuit that resulted in injuries to one state police officer.

The pursuit began near Tuba City about 5 p.m. on June 11 when state police asked for the assistance of Navajo police in apprehending a reckless driver.

At that time the driver was on Highway 89 headed toward Tuba City at speeds of more than 100 mph so tribal police decided to put down a spike strip at the junction of Highway 160.

However the driver was able to go around it. As the driver continued to speed toward Tuba City at speeds up to 120 mph, police closer to the city put down a second spike strip.

Police watched as the vehicle's front left tire exploded and went flat. But that didn't stop the driver, who continued leading police in a chase that still approached 100 mph despite traveling on the rims of one of his tires.

Police put down a third spike strip and this time, the other front tire went flat, which disabled the car and forced the driver to stop. At that point, the driver was identified as Duran Cody, 32.

He was charged with reckless driving, DWI and eluding police. State charges are also pending in connection with the unspecified injuries to a state police officer.


Marijuana field destroyed by Cameron

Navajo police have no idea who created the marijuana field near Cameron, Ariz., but said that the field is no longer exists.

Police received a report on June 15 that marijuana was being grown on a plot of land west of the Cameron bridge. When police got to the site, they found 10 marijuana plants one to three feet high.

They immediately destroyed the plants.

They also found that the person had set up a watering system and they destroyed that as well by cutting the tubes and puncturing holes in the buckets.

Police said so far they have no information as to who was responsible for growing the plants.

Several fires set in Navajo

Navajo police are also looking for the person or persons responsible for setting a series of fires just after midnight on June 17.

The first report came in about 12:48 a.m. and stated that the Navajo Baptist Church in Navajo, N.M., was on fire. When police arrived at the scene, they saw smoke coming out of the church, which appeared to be a hogan with some new additions.

The police officers went to the front door and could see that a fire had been started in the middle of the room on what appeared to be some sort of furniture. Using water, dirt and a fire extinguisher, police managed to put out the fire and drag the furniture out of the building.

But as they were doing this, they were told that there was also a fire on one of the additions. By this time, the police were joined by people in the community who helped put out the fire in the addition, which was used as classrooms.

This fire was out when a woman ran up and said that a house in the Navajo Housing Authority complex was on fire and police headed there to see what they could do.

When they arrived at NHA No. 27 on Juniper, they could see flames coming out of the house. They opened the door and observed that a pile of trash had been put on fire in the main part of the building. Fires had also been set in the hallway and in one of the bedrooms.

With the help of neighbors, they were able to put out these fires before damage could be done to the building.

Firefighters from the Navajo Fire Station arrived and from the tribe's fire station in Window Rock about 45 minutes later.

Neighbors had chased down a juvenile who had been seen in one of the areas the fires had been set and police said they are in the process of investigating this person and others to see if they have any connection to any of the fires.




Man flees from police

An attempted stop of a speeder ended up in a police pursuit and the driver being sent to the hospital after he rolled his vehicle over.

It began about 4:24 a.m. on June 10 about mile marker 1.9 on Navajo Route 10 near Leupp, Ariz. That's when a Navajo Nation Police officer on regular patrol observed a speeding car being driven by Marco C. Begay, 29, of Tuba City.

At the time, the officer judged that Begay was going 89 mph in a 55-mph zone. He turned around and started chasing the vehicle and reported that it seemed to be gaining speed because the distance between the police unit and Begay's vehicle kept getting larger.

Finally, at about the 3.9-mile marker, the officer noticed a fire on his right side and as he passed it, he noticed tire tracks indicating the man he was chasing had skid off the road. He also realized that the fire came from the car after it had overturned.

As the officer approached the vehicle, he saw Begay jump over a right-of-way fence and come toward him.

"What's wrong with you," the officer said. "Why were you speeding so fast?"

"I'm just stupid, I know," Begay replied. "I should not have tried to run."

He was flown to the Flagstaff hospital for treatment. But before that he was charged with DWI, reckless driving and unlawful flight.


Gunshots at Nenahnezad

A little after 1 a.m. on June 9, tribal police in the Nenahnezad, N.M., area receiving reports of gunshots being fired in that area.

When police arrived at the scene, it didn't take them long to find a vehicle with "gunshot defects" but no sign of the person who were responsible.

Witnesses gave the police some description of the person who was responsible and even a name but the police report said at the time no arrests were made and the matter is still under investigation.


Fire at Greasewood put out

Tribal police checked out a brush fire that was reported to have started in the Greasewood, Ariz., area about 3 p.m. on June 1.

When police arrived at the scene about 4:39 p.m., they reported that the fire was over. They noticed a car parked near where the fire was with the occupants shoveling dirt on a few hot spots that remained.

When the Ganado Fire Department showed up a few minutes later, firefighters took over putting the hot spots out and by 6:53 p.m. when police left, it was completely out.


Utah man drowns

Police reported a drowning that occurred on June 9 in Piaute Farms, Utah, about 21 miles northeast of the Oljato Chapter House.

By the time the police arrived at 6 p.m. the victim, who was identified as Taio Cly Myerson, 30, of Goulding, Utah, was out of the water and witnesses said they tried unsuccessfully to revive him.

Earlier in the day, he had gone out swimming and was sucked into the water by a whirlpool by the waterfall. Witnesses estimated that he had been underwater for between 15 and 30 minutes before he was rescued.


Peach Springs man pleads guilty

PHOENIX - Albert Marwin Cook, 39, of Peach Springs, Ariz., and a member of the Hualapai Tribe, pleaded guilty June 19 to assault resulting in serious bodily injury, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

According to the plea agreement, on Sept. 23, 2011, Cook assaulted the victim by hitting and kicking her multiple times all over her body. As a result of the assault, the victim sustained serious bodily injuries, some of which required surgery.

Cook is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 9.


Dilkon man sentenced for sexual abuse

PHOENIX - Shonnie Shidale George, 22, of Dilkon, Ariz., was sentenced June 18 to 30 years in federal prison of four counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a minor, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

The evidence presented at trial showed that George sexually abused a four-year-old girl, a six-year-old girl, and a seven-year-old boy.

George was also sentenced to a lifetime term of supervised release and was ordered to register as a sex offender.


Whiteriver woman sentenced for manslaughter

PHOENIX - Sutero Anessa Quintero, 19, of Whiteriver, Ariz., was sentenced June 18 to 15 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

On Oct. 16, 2010, following an altercation, Quintero stabbed her long-time boyfriend in the chest and back with a knife, killing him.


Whiteriver man sentenced for sexual abuse

PHOENIX - Akeem Ozzy Johnson, 24, of Whiteriver, Ariz., was sentenced June 18 to nine years in federal prison after pleaded guilty to abusive sexual contact with a minor, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

In September 2008, Johnson became intoxicated at a party on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, and sexually abused a young child, who was sleeping on the couch at the party.

Following his release from prison, Johnson will be placed on lifetime-supervised release and will be required to register as a sex offender.


Tohajiilee man sentenced for shooting

ALBUQUERQUE - Jordan Benjamin Apachito, 20, from Tohajiilee, N.M., was sentenced June 12 to three years in prison for his conviction on assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury charges, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

During his plea hearing, Apachito admitted to shooting the victim, a 22-year-old Navajo man, in the stomach with a 12-gauge shotgun while the two men were at Apachito's residence on June 24, 2011.

Apachito also admitted that he shot the victim intentionally from just a few feet away, and that it caused the victim to suffer permanent and life-threatening injuries.

Apachito will serve three years of supervised release after he completes his prison sentence.


Shiprock man sentenced for arson

ALBUQUERQUE - Lesley K. Begay, 28, who resides in Shiprock, was sentenced June 12 to four years in prison for his arson conviction, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Begay admitted that he maliciously set fire to a dwelling that was located in San Juan County within the Navajo Reservation on Aug. 21, 2011.

Begay will be on supervised release for three years after he completes his prison sentence.


Peach Springs women plead guilty

PHOENIX - Eva A. Vaughn, 25, of Peach Springs, Ariz., pleaded guilty June 7 to assault with a dangerous weapon, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

On June 6, her co-defendant, Leeshana Tyzell Matuck, 22, also of Peach Springs, pleaded guilty to assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

Vaughn, Matuck, and co-defendant Lodema Maylene Mahone, 26, of Peach Springs, were all indicted on charges of assault with a dangerous weapon, assault resulting in serious bodily injury, and kidnapping.

According to the plea agreements, the three women assaulted the victim by punching, kicking, and striking her with an object. As a result of the assault, the victim sustained serious bodily injuries, including severe swelling and bruising, and injuries to her head, face, and body.

Vaughn and Matuck are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 5 and Sept. 17, respectively.

Mahone was scheduled for a change of plea hearing on June 14.

Back to top ^