VANDALISM? CORRUPTION? HAVE NO WHERE ELSE TO TURN? NO STORY TOO BIG OR SMALL THE OSN WILL INVESTIGATE! Please email news tips to Hildelysiak@gmail.com
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.
UPDATE: CHARLES VAN NEST WAS APPREHENDED BY MARSHAL PATTERSON ON OCTOBER 9 AT AROUND 10:30 AM AT TRAILER COURT NUMBER 295 OFF DUQUESNE STREET IN PATAGONIA ALIVE AND IN GOOD CONDITION