Northwest briefs


Man chases burglar on road with hammer

A hammer-wielding Tacoma man bloodied his feet chasing a suspected burglar several blocks early Thursday, but he never gave up.

The 46-year-old suspected burglar finally did when police came to the man’s aid.

It was about 2 a.m. when the man awoke and heard someone rummaging through his detached garage in the 4300 block of Tacoma Avenue. He grabbed a hammer on his way to investigate.

When he spotted someone prowling his pickup truck, he gave chase. His girlfriend called 911.

Police arrived and arrested the man on suspicion of burglary after he stopped running from the homeowner.


Vandals topple 64 headstones at cemetery

City workers expect to finish restoring 64 headstones today that someone knocked down at the city’s cemetery last weekend.

A couple that normally walks past the cemetery at 530 Elmwood Road reported the incident Sunday after spotting the pushed-over headstones, City Manager Bill Murphy said Thursday.

The couple reported that the headstones were not disturbed when they walked past on Saturday, he said.

None of the headstones was damaged, and no suspects have been identified in the incident, which Murphy described as strange.

“It makes you scratch your head and wonder,” he said.

Crews began restoring the headstones to their proper positions earlier this week, he said.

“We’ve been in the process of putting them back up where they belong,” he said.


Buried body confirmed as Malden teen

A body found buried in north Spokane County on Wednesday has been confirmed by the Medical Examiner’s Office as 17-year-old Donavin Stapert of Malden near Spokane.

Investigators believe he may have died on March 7 in Whitman County, then was taken to a wooded property near Chattaroy and buried 4-5 feet underground near Schwachtgen and Owens roads.

Three adults are accused of providing Stapert methamphetamine, covering up his death and hiding the body, reports said.

The cause of Stapert’s death is pending toxicology tests, according to a news release.

Chastity D. Barkhuff, 38, of Malden, and James L. Ramson, 30, of Spokane, were arrested on Saturday and booked into Whitman County Jail. They now face homicide charges in that county.

Barkhuff is charged with controlled substance homicide, providing methamphetamine to a minor and unlawful disposal of a body.

Ramson is charged with unlawful disposal of a body, rendering criminal assistance and possession of meth, reports said.


Sex offender caught after leaving health behavior facility

Timothy Adam Ashford, who, on Thursday was reported to have absconded from his registration requirements after being expelled from a Behavior Health Rehabilitation mental treatment facility in Olympia, was apprehended by Olympia Police Thursday afternoon.

Ashford has been arrested for a charge of failure to register as a sex offender, and is being held at Thurston County Jail.


Teacher wins on “Wheel of Fortune”

Students from Cheryl Hackinen’s fifth-grade class at Tacoma’s Skyline Elementary School watched from home Thursday night as their teacher won $11,450 on national television by guessing phrases such as “fettuccine alfredo” and “early bird special effects.”

The “Wheel of Fortune” contestant competed Jan. 24 in Culver City, Calif., but was asked not to talk about the outcome of the show until after it aired.

Hackinen said she doesn’t have a clue what she’ll do with the winnings. “Seriously, I don’t (know),” she said. “There’s nothing I have to use it for.”

She has time to decide. The money comes 120 days after the air date.

Hackinen said a parent of one of her students planned to tape the show for the class to watch together.


Three arrested on suspicion of heroin

Three people were arrested on suspicion of possessing heroin Thursday afternoon after police served a search warrant at a Battle Ground mobile park.

Shortly after noon, police searched the Battle Ground Mobile Estates, located in the 300 block of Southwest Seventh Avenue.

They then arrested Thomas A. Wilen, 24, on suspicion of three counts of delivery of heroin and one count of possessing heroin.

Teal Barchek, 34, and Angis Leniger, 22, were also arrested on suspicion of heroin possession.

McClatchy News Service