Orange Street News


EDITORIAL: The People Of Patagonia Deserve Better

By Hilde Kate Lysiak
October 8, 2019

Justice is not being served in Patagonia, Arizona.

On Friday night a terrible crime happened. A local woman was stabbed several times in the neck. The suspect in this violent crime fled as the victim’s daughter dialed 911.

That brave call saved a life, along with the first responders who rushed to the scene and did remarkable work to save the woman and rush her on a helicopter to a hospital. 

As word spread quickly in the small town the community went into shock and the Orange Street News went to work. 

After going to the scene and seeing what I could learn I went straight to the marshal’s office. The reason? In situations when a suspect is on the loose there is a pretty usual way that things are handled. 

In almost all cases law enforcement get a picture and the name of the suspect out to the media as quickly as possible. The media then gets the picture out into the community. 

In a case where a suspect is on the loose, every second count.

The reasoning is simple. The marshal is only one man, but the more people who know the suspects name and what looks like the more people can help find him.

There are exceptions, but this doesn’t appear to be one of them. The OSN later learned that Patagonia law enforcement had all of this information nearly the minute they got to the scene from an eyewitness who gave them the name of the suspect right down to the clothing he was wearing. 

It was during those crucial early hours after the crime the Orange Street News visited the Marshal’s office in hopes of filling in the blanks to get the information to the people, and at the very least get a picture of the suspect to the town.

The Marshal wasn’t in — so the OSN asked a worker by the Marshal’s office, interrupting her conversation about her favorite foods. The worker responded with annoyance, telling the OSN that publishing the story would be “illegal” because it was a “medical call.”

That was a lie. Reporting that someone was stabbed and that the suspect is on the loose isn’t a crime — a journalist is obligated to report the facts to the people. Especially when the facts could alert the people of danger.

But it wasn’t the first time a lie came from the Patagonia Marshal’s office. 

Back in February the OSN was warned by Marshal Patterson himself that she would be “thrown into juvie” for recording him in public. He added that he “didn’t want to hear about that First Amendment stuff.”

I caught most of this interaction on tape. See it below

But this time I didn’t have time to argue about the First Amendment with this worker. An allegedly violent criminal was on the loose in the community. My focus was on getting the information. 

So I kept pushing. 

The town attorney refused to comment.  

The Patagonia Town Manager referred all questions to the Marshal’s office.

The OSN continued sending repeated emails, texts, calls, and personal visits to the Marshal’s office and there was still no comment. 

The OSN worked the streets and without help from the Marshal, was able to exclusively identify the suspect — Charles Van Nest — and get the information to the people about what happened on Friday night, but unfortunately, the OSN was still unable to get a picture.

As a reporter, of course I wanted the picture for my story. But as a resident of the town, it was far more important that the suspect be found. 

More than twenty four hours after the OSN broke the story the Nogales International jumped on it and today actually got Marshal Patterson on the phone, an accomplishment this reporter couldn’t achieve, but then was hung up on when the good reporter pressed for the public right to know. In the article, the paper wrote “The marshal declined to give further details, but said he was working on a news release about the incident.

Asked why he had not responded earlier to queries about the stabbing, Patterson said: “We’re still working on the case.

“Pressed during the phone conversation at approximately 9:30 a.m. Tuesday about the lack of media communication so far in the stabbing case, Patterson said that the news release would be “out shortly” and hung up the phone. The NI had not received any news releases as of noon.”

It would be forty eight hours after the alleged crime before a picture would be given to media — and it came not from the Patagonia Marshal’s office — but from the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s office, who wasn’t even lead on the case. Three days! 

What kind of head start did the suspect get by the decision of the Marshal and his office to refuse to give out information about the suspect?

That remains unclear. But we do know he is still on the loose.

But the lack of information from authorities does more than give the suspect a head start. 

When the government refuses to share information it fuels rumors and conspiracy theories. In this case people in town know that the suspect’s family works for the town office and that he has relatives in law enforcement. This knowledge is leading many people to begin questioning what is REALLY happening in Patagonia. 

Every minute this suspect isn’t caught is another minute this family has to live in fear. The OSN wants to give Marshal Joe Patterson the benefit of the doubt and is waiting to hear his explanation for withholding the important information that could have helped put this suspect behind bars — but every hour that goes by — and every fact that is unearthed — it gets harder and harder to believe there is a reason that makes sense. OF course, if it comes the OSN will publish in full.

The victims of this terrible crime deserves better.

The people of Patagonia deserve better. 



14 comments on “EDITORIAL: The People Of Patagonia Deserve Better

  1. Erik Knepfler (@eknepfler)
    October 8, 2019

    Amazing work as always HKL! Keep up the good work.


  2. David Stonier-Gibson
    October 8, 2019

    Wow! It’s looking almost like the story line of a “Deep South” novel. It seems to this grouchy old white Australian male that the world is being put to rights by young women. Greta, Malalia, Hilde.

    You are prodding a snake with a stick here, getting under the skin of the local gendarmes. I hope and trust you have your defenses in place in case they turn on you. Not physical defenses, but legal. It looks to me as if you are going up against the kinds of people who will do whatever they can to take you down. That’s very fashionable in your country ATM. Just because you are staying on the right side of legal with your choice of words and inferences, that would not stop someone with deep pockets from having a litigious go at you.


  3. Tom Jackman (@TomJackmanWP)
    October 8, 2019

    Great story Hilde. Keep pushing, and it’s great that you are keeping your community in mind.


  4. Susan Landis
    October 8, 2019

    Great reporting, and you are right to be questioning what is going on.


  5. Sandi Wood Knowles
    October 8, 2019

    Great reporting. Keep sharing the facts!


  6. Richard Nelson
    October 8, 2019

    Fuck The Police


  7. Bob Lamm
    October 8, 2019

    Great job, Hilde. You are being completely professional and admirable. And providing a great service to your community. The Marshal’s office is acting outrageously and dangerously. But I also agree with the advice above from Mr. Stoner-Gibson. Be careful.


  8. Randy Heiss
    October 9, 2019

    Thank you for doing the right thing and working to keep us informed. You have a bright future ahead of you.


  9. Jose Hoz Joven
    October 9, 2019

    Check into his relations…you may find someone close to those “on power”…


  10. Pingback: EXCLUSIVE Witness: Suspect “Happy” and “Drinking Beer” Hours Before Stabbing — New Documents Obtained by OSN Show Potential Marshal Conflict | Orange Street News

  11. Tom Fuller
    October 10, 2019

    As a 20 year retired judicial officer for east county – I would like to tell you that what you are experiencing, Hilde, is unique…but I can tell you for a fact that you are just beginning to scratch the surface as it relates to the ‘local’ authority power structure (and cronyism within that part of the community)….I could write a book! Keep your ear to the ground…..


  12. Pingback: EXCLUSIVE: Patagonia Stabbing Suspect Admitted Kidnapping GF By Gun Point, Released After Serving One Year in Jail SEE THE DOCUMENTS | Orange Street News

  13. Pingback: OSN Top Stories of the Month SEPTEMBER | Orange Street News

  14. boulderbubble1
    November 13, 2019

    Should anything untoward occur in this town, the whole country is watching. Many of us don’t take well to thugs with (or without) badges who threaten (or cage) little girls. Some of us also REALLY object to JOURNALISTS being harassed and lawyers that might seek to aid such evil WILL be held accountable.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on October 8, 2019 by and tagged , , , , , , .

Blog Stats

  • 1,649,298 hits
%d bloggers like this: