MENDOCINO Co., 5/8/19 -- Last night a complicated and extended car chase and search took place for three suspects in an armed robbery and kidnapping. (We reported on it here.)
Today the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO) issued a press release explaining in detail what happened. It's a long story with lots of twists and turns and bears reading all the way through.
Here's our summary, and we should note that we have not independently verified this story and all people are considered innocent until proven guilty in the American justice system. If you want skip to the press release click here.
According to the MCSO, yesterday evening a man who resides in the 9200 block of Spyrock Rd. was allegedly accosted at his property by Rigoberto Landa and Katherina Speer, and three men with "type Jamaican accents." The three men then detained the victim, and two of his neighbors, and allegedly shot and killed a puppy to intimate the captives. The men then ransacked the house, allegedly robbing 100 pounds of cannabis. However, apparently not being locals with a knowledge of the back-roads, the men then kidnapped the victim to bring him down the hill for directions. However, it appears that Rigoberto Landa and Katherina Speer stayed at the property and were later arrested.
Some ways down the road they lost control of their vehicle and rolled over. Unable to right the car they then attempted to carjack a passing pick up, shooting three rounds at it. But the driver of that vehicle fled in reverse, also losing control of his truck, and rolling over. The detained victim told law enforcement that he believes that the driver and two passengers of this truck managed to escape into the woods, but they remain unaccounted for as of the issuance of the press release.
Finally, the suspects succeeded in carjacking a white Ford Explorer with a Confederate flag on the hood, allegedly stealing it from two women, and proceeded down the hill to U.S. Route 101, where they successfully fled from law enforcement, potentially leaving the county. They currently remain at large.
During the time this was happening people began sharing the information on area Facebook groups, and social media users then alerted law enforcement who initiated a chase. Multiple white SUV type vehicles were stopped, including in Laytonville and in Willits, but were quickly released when officers realized they were not the suspects.
That's our summary, but read the full release for more details.
MEDIA ADVISORY/NEWS RELEASEMCSO
DATE: "May 8, 2019"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Incident Number: 2019-13369
Crime/Incident: Kidnapping [207(a) PC]
Robbery [211 PC]
Carjacking [215(a) PC]
Assault with a Deadly Weapon-Firearm [245(a)(2) PC]
Conspiracy [182(a) PC]
Animal Cruelty [597(a) PC]
Location: 9200 Block of Spy Rock Road, Laytonville, CA
Date of Incident: 05-07-2019
Time: Approximately 6:00 PM
Victim(s): (3) Adult Male, all in their 30s, residents of Laytonville CA
(2) unknown adult females, victims of carjacking.
(3) unknown adults, one female and two males, victims of attempted carjacking and assault with a deadly weapon.
Suspect(s): Landa, Rigoberto Santos, Hispanic Male Adult, 40 years of age, Ukiah CA
Speer, Katherina Andrea, Hispanic Male Adult, 43 years of age, Ukiah CA
Three (3) black male adults, described as being in their 30s, having athletic builds, with short cut hair, and speaking with type Jamaican accents.
Written By: Lieutenant Shannon Barney
Synopsis: On 5-7-2019 around 8:39 PM the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call from a caller who was reading a very recent post on a Social Media site (Facebook). The caller related the post indicated a robbery had just occurred on Spy Rock Road in Laytonville and the suspects were described as (3) black male adults associated with a white Ford Explorer. The social media site was being used by residents in and around the town of Laytonville to update each other as this event unfolded. The caller gave MCSO Dispatch an update that the vehicle had recently passed Registered Guest Road (a spur road off of Spy Rock Road) headed towards State Highway 101.
Due to the information being spread on the social media site, Law Enforcement agencies started to get numerous calls from concerned citizens who claimed to have been following "the suspect vehicle" as it traveled South on Highway 101. As a result of these calls the California Highway Patrol, the Willits Police Department, and the Sheriff's Office conducted several high risk "felony" car stops of vehicles that were reported to be the "suspects" or that matched the suspect's vehicle. These stops occurred just south of the Town of Laytonville on Highway 101 and just south of the City of Willits, also on Highway 101. While the vehicles did match the original vehicle description, Officers quickly determined the occupants of these vehicles were not involved in any criminal activity and they were released.
Deputies were able to locate and interview an adult male who resided in the 9200 Block of Spy Rock Road who told them he'd been at his home when he heard a gunshot in his front yard. He stepped outside and saw a Hispanic couple, later identified as Rigoberto Landa and Katherina Speer, at his front door. The victim and two of his neighbors, who had been visiting, were then confronted by three black males all armed with handguns. The victim related one of his neighbors had a puppy with him that one of the black males later shot and killed, in what appeared to be an intimidation tactic, to gain compliance from the victims. The victims were all bound and restrained while the suspects searched the location. The victim estimated that approximately 100 pounds of marijuana bud was stolen from him by the suspects.
The three black males then kidnapped the victim, saying they needed him to show them how to get back to the highway. Within 2 miles of the victim's house he indicated one of the black male drivers lost control of the vehicle they were driving and rolled the vehicle onto it side. All four men were able to get out of the vehicle where the three suspects attempted to roll the vehicle back to an upright position but were unable to do so. The victim indicated a uninvolved pickup truck, carrying two adult males and one adult female approached their location. The male suspects then attempted to carjack the occupants of this vehicle, firing three rounds at the vehicle. The driver of this vehicle put the vehicle in reverse and attempted to rapidly back away. The driver lost control of his vehicle on the steep incline and rolled this vehicle onto it's side. During this time the original victim, who was kidnapped, was placed off the side of the road by the suspects.
The victim thought the occupants of this second vehicle escaped on foot but could not say for certain. A third vehicle, a white Ford Explorer with a Confederate battle flag (Rebel flag) painted on the hood, then approached the scene. The black males were successful in carjacking this vehicle from two adult females. The two adult females were forced to pack the stolen marijuana from the original suspect vehicle and load it into their vehicle. The victim was then successful in breaking his restraints and escaped on foot into a wooded area. He was able see that the two adult female carjacking victims were alive and walking away from the scene while the suspects drove away in the stolen Ford Explorer.
Meanwhile, at the victim's house the two neighbors of the victims were able to free themselves from their restraints and were able to overpower and detain the Hispanic couple, who were left at the scene by the three black males. They were later turned over the Sheriff's Deputies. They were booked into the County Jail on one open count of conspiracy to commit robbery and with their bail being set at $50,000 each.
The three male suspects and the stolen vehicle are currently outstanding. The three people who the suspects attempted to carjack are still outstanding. The Sheriff's Office would encourage anyone with information about the three missing people or the three suspects or who might have any information about this case to please contacted the Mendocino County Sheriff's Communications Center at 707-463-4086 or the WeTip anonymous crime reporting line at 800-782-7463.
Approved by: Lieutenant Shannon Barney