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Flagstaff, AZ; Within the last several days, Coconino County Sheriff’s Office personnel haveresponded to numerous unrelated deaths including two probable suicides (one in the Fredoniaarea and one in the Blue Ridge area), a First Degree Homicide and arrest of the suspect, thesearch for an overdue hiker on the San Francisco Peaks later found deceased, and a death in avehicle as the result of asphyxiation. While these are not unusual types of cases, the timeline oftheir occurrence involved high demands on personnel and time resources.
We are taking this time to recap these cases, providing updates and letting the public know aboutsome of the aspects related to a response and investigation in a geographically large and ruralsetting such as Coconino.
For example, many may not be aware of the amount of people and hours involved in searches formissing people or searches related to other criminal activity. Searches can often involve a verylarge search area, coordination of multiple agencies and volunteers in the response, the need forspecialized equipment and training, operational periods that last over multiple days, andchallenging environmental conditions such as inclement weather or steep and rugged terrain.Most missing person searches involve a two prong approach: the physical search and a criminalinvestigation to determine whether or not foul play was involved.
In addition, many people may not be aware of the remoteness of many areas which may requirehours before an investigator can reach the location. To assist in getting responders to scenes asquickly as possible, we work closely with other public safety responders in the area throughmutual aid agreements to help stabilize scenes until the agency with appropriate jurisdiction cantake control of the scene or investigation.
In terms of the release of names of deceased, there may be a delay in releasing the person’s nameas investigators attempt to notify next of kin before the information becomes public. Names ofpersons who commit suicide are not usually released because the case is rarely chargedcriminally. However, if a deceased person has been the subject of a missing person report, thename often is released so that the public can be made aware that the person is no longer listed asmissing and to advise the public of the general circumstances so as to quell any public safetyconcerns of foul play.
Recapping the last week larger investigations:
November 7, 2014 – Former Police Officer Found Deceased near Woods Canyon LakeAt approximately 8:00 pm the Sheriff’s Office received a call from a camper who advised hefound a vehicle in the area of Woods Canyon Lake just off of Forest Service Road 169.According to the caller an adult male was seated in the driver’s seat and was slumped over thesteering wheel and appeared to be unresponsive. The Sheriff’s Deputy assigned to the ForestLakes community and U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement responded to the area. Upon hisarrival, the Deputy examined the victim and determined he was deceased. Sheriff’s Detectivesresponded and found a suicide note. Detectives believe the individual intentionally ingested alethal combination of alcohol and prescription medication. The victim was the sole occupant ofthe vehicle and investigators have not found any sign of foul play. The deceased man has beenidentified as 42 year-old Craig Tiger of Fountain Hills, Arizona. Detectives and the CoconinoCounty Medical Examiner’s Office are continuing this investigation.
November 11, 2014 – Missing Hiker Reported and Later Found DeceasedOn November 11, 2014 Scott Olson left his cabin located in the Hart Prairie area and told hisneighbors he was going for a hike in the meadow with his mixed breed dog “Faith.” That wasthe last time that his friends or family members saw or heard from him. Scott’s relativesreported him as a missing person on Wednesday afternoon. The Sheriff’s Office initiated aground and air search late Wednesday evening with searchers on foot and in vehicles looking forMr. Olson all night. Early Thursday morning a day time search was initiated that includedsearchers on foot, in vehicles, with scent dogs and in aircraft. Once again the search continuedthroughout the night. On Friday morning the searchers and support staff numbered more than 50individuals.
Scott Olson was located by searchers on Friday, November 14, 2014 at approximately 10:51 amon the North West side of Humphreys Peak. A search team assigned to that area spotted recentdog tracks and followed the tracks to the dog “Faith” who remained in close proximity to Scott.Unfortunately Olson was deceased at the time he was located. Olson was located at an elevationgreater than 10,000 feet downslope from a landmark known as Philomeno Spring. During thisintensive three day (43 hour) ground and air search, the Sheriff’s Office received assistance fromCoconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Search andRescue Unit, the Grand Canyon National Park Service, Arizona Department of Public Safety AirRescue groups based out of Phoenix and Kingman, the Coconino County Sheriff’s CommunityEmergency Response Team and the Nature Conservatory, and many friends and relatives ofScott. Preliminary information indicates that Scott Olson possibly suffered a heart-attack. TheCoconino County Medical Examiner’s Office is continuing this investigation.
November 13, 2014 - Male Found Deceased near Jolly Sink, North Kaibab ForestOn November 13, 2014 deputies of the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Northern Districtreceived a report of a suspicious abandoned vehicle near the Jolly Sink area on the North KaibabNational Forest. A deputy from the Fredonia Substation responded and with the help of a localrancher located a deceased male subject at the bottom of a nearby cliff near the vehicle. TheSheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division responded to investigate the scene andinformation points to suicide. The deceased man has been identified as 54 year-old ChristopherDouet of Maurice, Louisiana. The incident continues to be under investigation by the CoconinoCounty Sheriff’s Office as well as the Coconino County Medical Examiner’s Office.
Saturday, November 15, 2014 - 71 Year Old Seligman Area Man Arrested for HomicideRichard Hollman called and reported he had shot his wife (long-time girlfriend) at a homelocated west of Seligman, Arizona. Department of Public Safety Officers and Yavapai CountySheriff’s Office Deputies responded to the scene first. They detained the suspect and confirmedthe victim was deceased until Coconino County Sheriff’s deputies could take over the scene andinvestigation. The suspect was identified as 71 year old Richard Hollman. The victim wasidentified as 62 year old Carol Sheansy.
Detectives investigated the scene and interviewed Hollman who implicated himself in theshooting death of Sheansy. Detectives obtained a search warrant for the residence and located aweapon believed to be used in the homicide along with over 20 pounds of high grade marijuana.Hollman is being held in the Coconino County Detention Facility on a First Degree Murdercharge; with a bond of $1,000,000. This crime is still under investigation.
Friday, November 14, 2014 - Man Found Deceased near Lower Lake MaryAt approximately 11:30 am the Sheriff’s Office received a call from a subject who was campingin the area of Lower Lake Mary when he observed a pickup truck parked near a City of Flagstaffwater tank close to the intersection of Forest Service Roads 256 and 132. Upon closer inspectionthe caller saw an adult male in the cab of the truck; the man appeared unresponsive and slumpedover. Deputies and Guardian Medical Transport were dispatched to the scene. The subject wasfound deceased and was identified as a 59 year old William King of Page, Arizona. At this pointin the investigation, Detectives believe the man was living in his truck and using a propanepowered heater inside the enclosed cab of the truck. The victim was the sole occupant of thevehicle and investigators have not found any signs of foul play. While initial informationindicated that the victim asphyxiated, detectives and the Coconino County Medical Examiner’sOffice are continuing the investigation.
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Media and Public Contact: Gerry Blair, Coconino County Sheriff's Office, 928-226-5089