Nov 27, 2008

The Wall Is 158 Years Too Late...

Last month I got a free subscription to “” and thought I would give the ‘ol family tree a climb. Previously, I knew my grandfather’s (who died in 1964) was named Frank, and my great-grandfather’s (died in about the ‘30s) name was George A. Armed with that info, I started running down censes records, passenger ship lists and war enrollments; I was pretty blown away with what I found.

First of all, I discovered that George A was from the Michigan area before he came to Washington State, and censes records show that he listed his mother and father’s place of origin as “Ireland.” Now, this is not unusual, lots of immigrants came from Ireland; however most of them came after 1860, and I found a record showing George was born in “New York”, in 1849, then moved to Michigan almost immediately with his older sister “Mary Jr” (yup, named after her mother), and father “Peter.” Mary was born in 1827, and Peter was born in 1817.

I found the only passenger record of a Mary Kellett (assuming they were married before they immigrated) travelling on “The Queen Of The West” in 1850, however, she would have had Mary Jr and George with her, and they were not listed beneath her on the passenger list. Upon closer inspection of the document, I find that there is an infant George and an infant Mary listed under the two families next to her on the list, and Mary is exactly the correct age, 23. So, did she lie about who the kids belonged to so that she could later say they were born in New York as “Anchor babies?”

But where was Peter? I found the one and only Peter shown coming into New York was on the ship “Meteor” in 1849, However, the spelling of the last name was “Kellet” not the correct “Kellett;" but this was a common mistake.

The biggest problem was that he listed his age as “25,” not what his real age would have been at the time, 32. So, was this great-great-grand dad or not? I then saw that many of the males listed on the passenger manifest also listed their age as “25” or “24.” Perhaps there was some immigration rule that gave some benefit to being 25 or younger? Then it hit me: my family started out in this country as a bunch of scheming, lying, conniving illegal immigrants!

Peter’s history of lying about his age did not stop there; in 1861, at the age of 44, he joined the Michigan 14th Union Army, “H” company (The” Irish Brigade”).

Army rules evidently had a maximum age of 40 years to join, so he lies about his age once again to fight in the Civil War. It’s pretty hard to be anything but proud for that falsehood. I also found that George marries someone named Lydia Beckley, daughter of Guy Beckley, the town “Constable,” I guess I have police work in the blood, a great-great grandfather who was a cop.

Yakima County is about 50% Hispanic, many of whom are here illegally. I am still very frustrated that our government has not dealt well with the whole problem of illegal immigration; however I now have a bit more understanding of the issue on a personal level.

I’m hoping that an agent from Immigration and Customs Enforcement is not on this reading list… I may be deported.

Nov 26, 2008

The Final Cruise

The Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas, caught one of our homicide suspects from a murder in 2000. He had fled to Mexico, but thought that after 8 years, no one would remember… opps, National Crime Information Center computers don’t forget. Sgt Salinas and I hopped on a flight and went to pick him up.

Once we got there, we had to get a rental car, which I already arranged for. The desk gave me the keys to a “Red, mid-sized Ford.” We went to row 18, slot 5, and found a cherry red ’08 Mustang convertible. Sarge thought this was horrible,
“How are we going to fit this suspect in here? It’s a two-door! It’s not big enough! It will be very difficult to fit (the suspect) in the…”
Then he noticed my smile,
“Who cares.” I said,
“It’s cool.”
Sarge realized the argument he was making, grinned and said,
“Ya! Let’s take it!”

We went to the hotel, got up the next morning, and had about 4 hours to kill. We put the top down and toured the entire south Texas area. Not much to see, but it was great, ‘cause we were cruz’n in a ‘stang ragtop! We both forgot sunscreen and I got burns on the back of my neck, and that little spot where, as a child, my mom permanently combed a cowlick into the top of my skull.

After I drove everywhere we could think of, we finally went to the El Paso jail. I stopped at the entrance to what is called the “Sally-port.” It’s a large garage door that opens into the area where prisoners are dropped off or picked up. There is a button and an intercom, with a closed circuit camera mounted on the wall monitoring us. I pushed the button and a voice came out of the speaker saying,
“The visitor entrance is on the west side of the building.”
I replied,
“Detective Kellett, Yakima Police, here to pick up a prisoner.”
I don’t know what I was thinking, the guy in the control room looking at two guys in a convertible saying they were from Yaki-what? I thought it would help to showed him my badge, which looks kind of like a LAPD badge.

The problem is, in Texas every badge looks like a ninja throwing star, and what I was holding up probably looked like the Lucky Charms prize. Between the kid’s toy I was holding and the Mustang, it took 10 minutes, several long explanations and two supervisors to ok the opening up of the door. Just before we went in, the control room voice said,“Nice car.”

Once we got into the jail, three jailers walked by and said,
“Nice car.”
We got the prisoner chained up with shackles and handcuffs, then shuffled him into the sally-port.
“Nice car.” He observed.

We actually placed him in the front passenger seat, with Sarge riding right behind him in the back. You’d think we were doing this guy a favor, all he could talk about was the car.
“Can we cruise by the mall?"
"Can you go faster?"
"Can I drive?”

It was like driving SpongeBob Square Pants around. As soon as we dropped him off at the jail in Yakima, I could hear him yelling out to anyone who would listen,
“The cops picked me up in a Mustang Convertible!”

Hey, he may be a scum of the earth killer, but he knows a cool car when he gets taken to prison in one.

A photo of me in El Paso... the larvel white was soon replaced by lobster red.

Nov 22, 2008

The 75 Spider

Me and the Mrs. were on our way to see the new Disney cartoon, "Bolt." We were in what Krissy calls the "Datemobile," that is my 1975 Fiat Spider roadster. I bought the car back in 1990 for $200, and have been working on it ever since. All in all it's been a fun car, and after I painted it (Ferrarri red), replaced the top and all the interior, it's been a great looking car as well.

We were heading down the road, when a '01 Impala crossed the road right in front of me. I locked up the brakes and went into her left rear passenger door.

The 5 foot minus 1 inch driver of the Impala pulled over, got out of her car and said, "Sorry." Great...

I called 911, and a few minutes later Officer Kim pulls up. She asks, "Hey Kellett, did you see this (the accident)?" Ya, I saw it... front row seat.

Mrs. Booster Seat was also found to be operating a motor vehicle without liability insurance. No aseguranza? No bueno. Now I am going to have to fight with my insurance company, who will likely peruse through eBay and see that you can find a dozen or so of these cars for 2 grand; that is, if you don't mind towing it home and spending 18 years and about 8 grand fixing it back up.

None of this has anything to do with dead bodies, nor is it very funny.

"Bolt" was good.

And Remo, write about a gajillion no insurance tickets for me tonight, buddy.

Nov 20, 2008

Satanic Mutt Murder

As with most good deeds and jobs well done, I was rewarded. My city mayor read my name in the local paper in connection with a homicide investigation and a successful conclusion. So he called my captain and asked that I be put on a very special case; a case involving murder, dismemberment and (gasp) the specter of Satanic worship.

The mayor’s neighbor had a dog by the name of Peanut. It seems that one night Peanut did not come home, and the following morning, Peanut was found dead in the back yard. Peanut’s little half chihuahua, half beagle body had been “cut” open and “mutilated”; of particular note was (spooky music- Dum dum DUM) an absence of blood. The police had immediately been called and a patrol officer was dispatched, who looked at the corpse and said,
“Looks like a coyote got him.”
The beat cop took a couple of pictures of the carcass, wrote a line or two about a dead dog in a report; spilled some coffee on the report form and turned it in. It got some laughs in the records division and there it sat.

Fast forward about 7 days. I am at my desk returning one of about 16 calls from the DA’s office when the Captain tosses me a post-it note and tells me,
“Call this lady about her dead dog.”
It seems our fair city’s Berger-Mister had championed his neighbor’s complaint regarding the police not doing anything about this horrible crime done to poor peanut; AND, one of our local TV stations had been called and were going to air how Satanic cults were running amuck and mutilating dogs.

I called the woman and was told how she had the dog autopsied (for the one word nerd out there, I know it is actually “necropsied”) by here local vet, who concluded that the dog died of puncture wounds and had it’s abdomen sliced open and the spleen was “surgically” removed.
“Surgically?” I asked,
“Did they find rubber gloves and a scalpel nearby?”
Mother Peanut was not amused; she yelled at me for a moment over the phone, cursing quite heartily for someone who lives next to the mayor. I quickly remembered that I am NOT Screamin’ Remo and can’t get away with that kind of humor; I quickly apologized and said I would get right on Peanut’s… er… murder. Word of me on this case spread like influenza throughout the Detective Division. I soon had “Pet Detective” jokes and barking sounds coming at me from all cubicles, even as far away as the Traffic Division and Arson. Humiliating.

I called the Vet. He told me that the lady came in with this dead dog and insisted on a necropsy; at 150 bucks an hour, who is he to argue? He told me that it did appear as though the dog was stabbed, the abdomen cut open and the spleen cut out; also there was little or no blood. He thought that this could be, as the women suggested to him, a result of a satanic cult ritual that he had read about in books. I asked,
“couldn’t this be caused by a coyote?”
“Ahhhh… I guess. I should have thought about that before I gave that TV interview.”

What???!!? That’s right, I turn on a TV and just catch the end of a “Disturbing report of evidence of satanic activity!” on channel 6…. great. Doc calls this lady back and tells her that he has “Thought over” his initial diagnosis, and he is now convinced that the damage done was a predator. The lady cusses him out, then pays to have the Forensic Necropsy Lab at Washington State University look at Peanut; and why not? She’s going to pay their fee of $6000.00; for that kind of money I’d tell her the dog was killed by Princess Dianna.

Long story short, (opps… too late) WSU labs report back, a “Large carnivore” was responsible for death with “Secondary predation.” Nothing sinister, nothing shocking, nothing even all that funny; just a horrible waste of my time. Took at least a half hour out of my coffee drinking time.

What follows was the local newspaper article that followed the TV report. I was misquoted at the end, I was not “Puzzled” by the cutting, I was puzzled by how some vet, (who I assume went to college for more than 15 minutes) could mistake this whole thing for something other than a hungry Wily Coyote. Also- the author of this article thought it was funny to call me “YPD’s Pet Detective.” Right… he doesn’t have to put up with guys from Community Services making fun of him.

Family reeling after longtime pet found dead, missing spleen
by Rod Antone Yakima Herald-Republic

The mystery involving Peanut hasn't been solved entirely, but investigators are pretty sure they know how the pet died. When neighbors discovered Debbie ---------‘s dog on her front lawn along 85th Avenue earlier this week, the 10-year-old dachshund mix was missing its spleen. What struck her veterinarian was that the spleen seemed to have been surgically removed. There was even suspicion that Peanut might have died at the hands of humans.

But based on preliminary necropsy results from animal experts at Washington State University, Peanut probably died by a large dog or coyote shaking it by its neck, said ---------‘s veterinarian, Dr. --------. The family pet had puncture wounds in the neck area and damaged vertebrae.

The WSU results, however, did not provide a definitive explanation as to why the dog had been cut open and its spleen removed. "We may never know what happened regarding that," ------ said. --------- said she was heartbroken when neighbors found Peanut dead and that she had her beloved pet buried at her mother's ranch. Then her ex-husband offered to hire a private investigator to find out what happened.

Her vet offered to look at Peanut's body himself. ------- said he was struck by the fact that the incision into Peanut was clean and not "ripped into" like he would have expected from an animal attack. Because he doesn't have much experience in necropsies, he sent the dog to the WSU Animal Sciences Department for further examination.

Yakima pet Detective Dave Kellett said late Friday that based on the preliminary findings from WSU, police are leaning toward classifying the cause of death as damage from a predator rather than injuries from mutilation. "Throughout history, (injuries caused by) predators have been mistaken for mutilation. We see that here," Kellett said. "In fact, it might even be two different animals. Peanut could have been killed by a larger animal and then its spleen removed by a smaller animal, maybe even a bird."

Earlier in the day, he noted that this is the season for increased attacks by predators. The West Valley area where -------- lives also is known for coyotes. With coyote attacks, Kellett said, there can be a lack of blood and puncture wounds. Coyotes often lap up blood and cause wounds with their teeth that can look like knife wounds.

But he, too, was puzzled by the veterinarian's report of a precise removal of the spleen. ---------‘s friends and family are offering a $1,200 reward for information involving Peanut's death.

Anyone with information can call her ex-husband, ---, at --------. "The general public just doesn't understand what we're going through right now," -------- said.

Nov 16, 2008

Most Embarrassing Moment--- for Krissy

Now, I’ve no illusions about out-shining Dave as the guy with funny stories; I’m Dave’s greatest fan! But I actually have a cop story of my own to tell.

Back when Dave was working patrol, he and his partner came by the house one day, decked out in their dusty blue uniforms. I was busy doing the dishes, or some other heroic domestic chore.

I would say that Dave and I are rather affectionate to one another- that partly explains our 25 years of marital bliss. In fact, we are what you would call ‘Bottom-slappers.’

As Dave walked past me, I shook the dish water off one hand, leaned over, and gave him the traditional smack on the derriere, eager to show him that he was in my thoughts. To my horror, it was not Dave who turned around to acknowledge my playful wallop, but his partner! I’d tagged the wrong cop!

I really don’t remember much after that, it’s all a blur. I mumbled some shocked apology, and fled for solace to the nearest bag of Snickers bars.

I still see this fellow at the PD every now and then, and shudder as I recall this most unfortunate incident; I just hope that he’s forgotten.

Now that I’ve confessed, you should ask Dave to tell you about the time he came within mere inches of doing the same to a gal who resembles me from the backside- at church! Maybe he remembered my mortifying episode, or maybe he had angelic help that day, but we have both learned to ‘wait until you see the whites of their eyes’ before striking out with that loving smack on the toosh!

Nov 13, 2008

The fat lady sang

It seems that some Bill and Ted reject (with a long criminal history) tried to steal a stereo out of some Michoacán grandpa’s pickup truck. Gramps grabbed a tire iron and went out to protect his stereo and collection of mariachi CDs. The thief then made what we in SWAT call a “tactical error.” When confronted by El Patron, he decided to pull a rusty Buck knife from his pocket and shouts,
“I’m gonna cut you dude!”
Grandpa felt sort of threatened by this so he swung the tire iron at el stupido’s head like it was a birthday piñata.

When police arrived, they found the thief motionless on the ground in a pool of blood. They immediately began first aid; which for cops consists of shouting real loud,
Because he was Hispanic, and all the witnesses and cops were white, Grandpa believed that he would be arrested and taken to jail for whacking the guy with the tire iron. However, the cops (who had spoken to a couple of witnesses and recovered the knife) all lined up and shook the old guy’s hand; then left him to his Ford truck and Mexican polka music.

I get the call and met the thief at the hospital. Staff there tells me that they are running a bunch of tests to see if Mr. tire-iron-sticking-out-of-my-left-ear is a vegetable or not, I guess this includes the squirting of cold water in his (good) ear and waiting for a reaction. I always thought you were supposed to use warm water, and see if he wets the bed… but then again I’m no doctor. They discover that he is, in fact, brain dead (this time a medical diagnoses, not the evaluation from his 11th grade teacher). His family starts showing up and the hospital tells them that he is, alas, gone; there is no longer any brain activity. One aunt had a puzzled look, evidently she thought activity means that you can see it wiggle... someone on the staff from Alabama was probably called in to translate (apologies to those from the South, but I used to live there...).

I call the coroner and had him stand by to retrieve the body, which is kept on life support long enough for the family to say their last goodbyes. While the family is in the room, the nurse pulls the respirator tube off and shut off the heart monitor; which was making the incessant
“beep- beep- beep- beep”
sound. Now the nurse’s station (where I and the coroner were standing) also had a monitor, which kept beeping. The family filed out and we stood around looking at the monitor, waiting for the beeping to stop so that the hospital can officially call the time of death.

It took a good 10 minutes, as the guy’s system was so full of epinephrine. Finally the beeping ceased. The corner and his assistant pulled on latex gloves and went into the room to grab the body; as soon as they touched it, the heart started back up again,
“beep….. beep….. beep.”
The nurse called out to the coroner,
“Sorry, he’s not official (officially dead) yet.”
The corner’s crew comes back to the monitor and watches it a few minutes longer, until there is (again) no more beeping. They return back to the room, but when they touched him again,
“beep…. beep…. beep…. ”
I remarked,
“Hey, the heart’s still going!”
The coroner called out from the room to me,
“What did you say?”
Before I could answer, the nurse flipped off the station monitor shouted to the coroner,
“Oh, nothing.”
I was relieved to find that there is still some pragmatism in the health care field.

Nov 7, 2008

Funny thing happened on the way to being robbed...

An injured man came into the local hospital emergency room and reported to personnel there that he had been the victim of a robbery. Hospital staff then called police, and a patrol officer was sent to take a report and perhaps develop enough information to arrest the suspects.

The “victim” explained to the officer that he was in his home when three men burst in on him and demanded his wallet. He gave them his money; however the suspects then forced a latex “adult novelty” device up his rectum, followed by two spoons.

There was some confusion in that the injuries were about a day old, and the victim did not have an explanation regarding the delay in coming into the police department.

The officer asked if, perhaps, HE had placed the object up his own arse, then maybe “lost track” of it and attempted a removal by himself with a couple of spoons. “Of COURSE not!” How could we think of such a thing!

So, detectives are now looking for the dildo/two spoon bandits… *sigh*

Nov 1, 2008

Boring, until it was not

Got a call from one of the other SWAT Team leaders, "Ya wanna come out on Halloween and be part of a fast reaction force?" Seems that the natives have grown restless and the drums say that there will be shootings, stabbings and all sorts of nonsense this night. So I meet up with Doc (you've heard of him), A-game (that name is a whole other story), Mother (yup.... another untold story) and New Guy (no story there). We get all of our SWAT stuff on: heavy vest, green BDU's that make you look like an old GI Joe, ballistic helmet and our Kimber 1911s (our chief HATES 1911 handguns, but the SWAT team already had them, so SWAT stuff is the only time we can carry them... I know, no sense this makes); then we get in a couple of cars and wait for all heck to break loose so we can point lots of scary guns at someone (Oh... we also have M-4s).

An hour later... nothing. Three hours later, all quiet. We all have to remember to get out of the car and stretch so we don't get embolisms and blood clots in our legs.

Nothing. Four and a half hours of re-telling old war stories and sharing the latest who's-sleeping-with-who and who's-getting-a-divorce. THAT gets old REAL fast (especially when New Guy tries to chime in).

We go back to the SWAT station and put everything away, then meet at Denny's at about 0200 for some breakfast.

At 0300 I am pulling up (in the Stratus) to my driveway when I hear on the radio, "Ocean 7 request assistance at Memorial Hospital, subject fighting!" Oh man! Memorial Hospital is only two blocks away, I've done nothing all night AND I might get to lay hands on someone and reduce just a bit of my toxic stress from a night of NOTHINGness! I run up there and get into the ER, there I meet an Officerina who I don't think I have ever seen before, but somehow she knows me. She points to drunk in a room who sees me and cries, "I wanna go home." I look at Officerina and ask, "Whatcha gonna do?" She plucks up some courage, feeling (correctly) that I was evaluating her actions (or inactions), and lays hands on the drunk WANTED bum.

OK, test passed.

We get out to her car and he does the best thing possible... when she opens the door to stuff him in he kicks at me and starts to run.

I could have kissed him.

I was not able to see how Officerina did on round two cause I shouldered her out of the way; I got this one. Adrenalin level is much better now.