The Ventura County Sheriff's Department is seeking public help as they search for an Ojai woman who has been reported missing.
They say 28-year-old Katherine Kampf-Thibodeau was last seen by local friends on April 18th and did not show up for her last day of work or her going away party on April 20th.
According to family members and friends her disappearance is not consistent with her normal behavior.
She reportedly told family and friends she was traveling north to Oakland but she never returned to her Ojai home to gather her belongings.
They say she was possibly traveling with 31-year-old Anthony Williams either in her 2012 grey 4-door Honda Civic with a Texas license plate of KPR9712 or his black 2005 Mercedes=Benz with a New York license plate GYW9498.
Anyone with information is asked to call Ojai PD at (805) 947-8083.
A passionate and oftentimes angry overflow crowd gave the Ventura City Council an earful at their meeting Monday in the wake of the fatal stabbing of a man last week at a beachfront restaurant.
The council heard a litany of stories about wives and children being assaulted by homeless people all over the city.
They were upset about what they see as an out of control vagrant problem that has created what they believe is a city of fear that culminated in the horrific and tragic stabbing death of 35-year-old Anthony Mele Jr., attacked as he and his wife and five-year-old daughter had dinner in the Aloha Steakhouse on the Ventura Promenade.
A 49-year-old man has been charged with murder in the unprovoked attack.
Jamal Jackson was described by police as a vagrant with a criminal history.
Some of those who spoke blamed the police and council for allowing the problem to get out of hand, while others said the police are doing what they can given their limited resources and they blamed the council for not providing enough money to do the job.
There were also those who advocated for the homeless and said the problem is complex and must be solved with better housing, mental health services and other social services.
Others said vagrants are not homeless, they are criminals who have rejected any attempt to be helped.
Everyone agreed there is a problem, but there was disagreement over how to solve it.
What started out as a routine traffic stop in Thousand Oaks turned into a short pursuit and crash that sent the suspect to the hospital/
It began shortly after 8 PM Monday night on Hampshire Road when a deputy attempted to pull over a vehicle for a traffic violation.
But they say the driver failed to yield and there was a pursuit that ended a short distance later when the suspect driver crashed on the freeway near the 101/23 interchange.
The driver was sent to the hospital with unknown injuries.
No one else was hurt.
Deputies are not sure why the driver failed to yield and tried to flee.
Ventura police are investigating a stabbing incident Monday that left a man with non-life threatening stab wounds to his arm and torso.
They say shortly before noon police received a call from VCMC reporting a stabbing victim.
Police say a 49-year-old man who is not from this area had showed up at the hospital suffering from stab wounds.
He later told police that shortly before 11:30 AM he had become involved in an argument with four young men in the parking lot near the corner of Santa Clara Street and Oak Street.
The victim said during the argument, two of the suspects attacked him and one of the suspects stabbed him with a knife.
The suspects, described as four Hispanic males ages 18-24, then ran away.
Police say they went to that area and could not find the suspects or evidence of a crime scene.
Updated--Oxnard Police Major Crimes investigators are looking for suspects and a motive in a fatal shooting.
It was reported shortly after 8 PM Sunday night in the 2900 block of Ocean Drive where it connects with the south end of Harbor Boulevard near Channel View Park and the Rudder Room on the west side of Channel Islands Harbor.
A 22-year-old Oxnard man was found in the street near a parking stall.
He had been shot and was pronounced dead at the scene.
The area is in the city of Oxnard near the unincorporated community of Hollywood Beach.
It was Oxnard's fourth homicide of this year.
Ventura County Sheriff's deputies had their hands full with a naked man who was parked in a Newbury Park park Sunday morning.
Deputies responded to a number of 911 calls shortly after 11 AM reporting a naked man in a white BMW convertible in Pepper Tree Playfields in the 3700 block of Old Conejo Road.
When deputies tried to take the 46-year-old man into custody, they say he fought back and there was a struggle.
The man was finally arrested for indecent exposure and resisting arrest.
An investigation is underway into the death of a motorcyclist near Ventura.
The adult male was found dead Sunday morning along the railroad tracks in the agricultural area behind the homes in the 3000 block of Channel Drive in Ventura.
It appears his small dirt bike crashed into a farm trailer near the railroad tracks.
It did not involve a train.
Exactly when it happened was unknown but the male was pronounced dead at the scene.
Ventura police started the initial investigation but it was handed over to the sheriff because it is just outside the city limits and then the CHP got involved because it could be considered a traffic collision in an unincoporated area which is handled by the Highway Patrol.
(Photo courtesy Karla Ramirez)
A two vehicle crash injured five people in the Ojai Valley Sunday morning.
It happened on Highway 33 at Larmier in Oak View.
One vehicle ended up overturned.
All five injuries were described as minor.
Oxnard police believe speed and alcohol were contributing factors in a fatal crash early Sunday morning.
It happened shortly after 3 AM on Riverpark Boulevard.
Police say a 2018 grey Ford Focus was southbound in the 300 block of Riverpark Boulevard when it veered onto the sidewalk and slammed into a tree.
The 28-year-old Los Angeles man who was driving the car was killed.
A 25-year-old female passenger was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Updated--A two vehicle crash in Oxnard Saturday afternoon seriously injured three teens, two of them riding in the trunk of a car.
Police say around 5:45 PM a silver Dodge Charger driven by a 17-year-old male was westbound on Costa De Oro when it was broadsided by a Nissan Sentra that was southbound on Harbor Boulevard.
The Charger spun out and two teenage girls that were in the trunk of the car were thrown out.
A female passenger in the vehicle was also injured.
Police say all three female teens, ages 16 and 17 from Oxnard and Ventura, suffered serious injuries.
The driver of the Nissan was not hurt.
Police say the two teenage girls were in the trunk of the Charger because the driver had two other passengers and a large subwoofer speaker in the car.
The crash shut down Harbor Boulevard in that area for a couple of hours.
Ventura police are looking for the suspect in a stabbing.
They say shortly before 8 PM Friday night officers are emergency medical personnel responded to the 1000 block of Seaward Avenue in the Pierpont Beach community where they found a stabbing victim on the sidewalk.
Police say the victim, a 34-year-old Oxnard man, was taken to the hospital where he is currently in stable condition.
They say the victim and another adult male had been in a physical altercation when the victim was stabbed.
The suspect then fled the area.
(Photos courtesy Oxnard Police Department)
Oxnard police say they captured an attempted murder suspect at a house in Ventura.
Police had been looking for 45-year-old Benjamin Taitai of Oxnard ever since a man was shot in the head at a house in the 300 block of Napa Street in Oxnard on April 6th.
At one point police issued a public plea for information about Taitai's whereabouts.
Then, Friday night around 8 PM, officers from both Oxnard and Ventura police departments converged on a house in the 500 block of Rancho Drive in Ventura.
It's a midtown residential community north of the 101 Freeway, east of Seaward Avenue and south of Thompson Boulevard and Main Street southwest of the Pacific View Mall.
The Oxnard Police Department Violent Crimes Unit, K9, Special Enforcement Unit, Ventura PD SWAT team with armored vehicle and FBI agents surrounded a house and started making announcements for Taitai to come out.
Taitai was ultimately taken into custody and booked into the Ventura County Jail for attempted murder and use of a firearm with bail set at $1 million.
Oxnard police say what motivated the shooting is unclear and they've not released any details on the condition of the victim.
Ventura police have released video of the man now charged with murder in the stabbing death of another man in front of his family at the Aloha Steakhouse Wednesday night.
Police say they received a call from someone saying a man, later identified as 49-year-old Jamal Jackson, had been yelling and disruptive in that same area hours prior to the attack that claimed the life of 35-year-old Anthony Mele.
Police say at the time of the call, around 6:23 PM, their patrol resources in the area were tied up on other calls and could not immediately respond.
But police at the command center were able to watch Jackson on the pier security camera to see how he was acting.
They say they watched for 20 minutes until Jackson walked away from the camera's view and determined they had not observed anything of concern and the call for service was cancelled before officers became available to respond.
Police are now asking the public for help. They want to talk with anyone who had interaction with Jackson in the hours leading up to the fatal attack and they've released the security video to the public.
Anyone with information is asked to call VPD at (805) 339-4488
Link to video is below:
Updated--The man accused in the fatal stabbing of another man in front of his family Wednesday night at the Ventura Beach Promenade was in court Friday to face a murder charge.
The arraignment for 49-year-old Jamal Jackson, described as a vagrant, was postponed for one week, but his bail was increased to more than $1 million and he remains in jail.
Meanwhile, the victim was identified as 35-year-old Anthony Mele of Ventura.
Mele has just finished dinner with his wife and their 5-year-old daughter in the Aloha Steakhouse when for some unknown reason Jackson is alleged to have entered the restaurant and stabbed Mele in the neck.
Mele was rushed to VCMC where he was taken off life support and died at 6:29 PM Thursday evening.
After the attack, Jackson fled out of the restaurant and was chased onto the beach by staff and customers until police arrived and arrested him.
Ventura police say they still don't know what prompted Jackson to do what he did.
The two men did not know each other.
A gofundme account has been created in honor of Mele:
A suspected burglar is in the dog house after the homeowner saw him enter the Simi Valley residence through a doggie door.
It happened around 9:20 AM Friday morning in the 1200 block of Newman Street.
When the suspect saw the homeowner, the suspect fled, jumped a wall into the neighbor's backyard and tried to hide under a tarp.
Simi Valley police say officers arrived in about four minutes and located the suspect.
They say 23-year-old Trevor Shields of Simi Valley was arrested and booked into the Ventura County Jail for residential burglary and an outstanding narcotics warrant.
A judge says there is enough evidence for an Oxnard woman to stand trial for murder in the death of her three-year-old daughter.
26-year-old Mayra Chavez is charged with second degree murder, assault on a child causing death and torture.
The body of 3-year-old Kimberly Chavez Lopez has never been found, but the authorities are certain she is dead and was probably killed in June of 2015.
It took months before the authorities realized the little girl was missing and before her mother, Chavez, and her father, 33-year-old Omar Lopez, were arrested.
Initially they were charged with perjury regarding their daughter's disappearance but earlier this year they were charged with murder in their daughter's death.
Earlier this week, Lopez agreed to plead guilty to a lessor charge and testify against Chavez who the authorities believe was more culpable for the girl's death.
Prosecutors say if Lopez sticks to his end of the plea agreement, he will receive 14 years in state prison.
If Chavez is convicted, she would face life in prison.
Both remain in the Ventura County Jail on $6 million bail each.
Chavez will return to court on May 3rd to have a trial date set.
Updated--Ventura police say the man who was stabbed while having dinner with his family at a beachfront restaurant Wednesday night was attacked while his five-year-old daughter sat on his lap.
Police say the 35-year-old victim had just finished dinner with his family in the Aloha Steakhouse when he was attacked.
Ventura police say a man they described as a vagrant, 49-year-old Jamal Jackson, was outside the restaurant when for some unexplained reason he went inside and stabbed the victim in the neck.
The victim was rushed to VCMC for emergency surgery.
His wife and daughter were not physically injured.
After the attack, Jackson fled but was chased and detained by restaurant employees and patrons until Ventura police arrived and took him into custody.
Jackson was booked into the Ventura County Jail for attempted murder and child endangerment.
Police say they are still trying to determine why Jackson, who did not know the victim, did what he did, but there was an indication the Jackson thought the victim did something that angered him.
Ventura police say one of their officers was injured Wednesday when he was attacked by a patient in the VCMC emergency room.
About 7 PM the ER staff became concerned that a patient might have a weapon.
They say the patient is on active PROS (Post Release Offender Supervision) so a patrol officer tried to search the patient based on the terms of his probation.
Police say that's when the patient struck the officer causing an injury that required treatment that did not allow the officer to return to work.
Meanwhile, with the help of Ventura County Probation Officers, 54-year-old Henri Brother, described as a Ventura vagrant, was taken into custody and found to be in possession of what they described as an instrument that could be used as a weapon.
Brother was booked into the Ventura County Jail for battery on peace officer causing injury and felony resisting arrest and because of his PROS status, was placed on a no bail probation hold.
A Thousand Oaks package courier was arrested Tuesday afternoon for child annoyance.
Ventura police say that around 1:30 PM a 16-year-old girl was walking alone in the area of Arapaho Street and Cameron Street when a man drove up next to her and asked if she needed a ride.
He also asked her for a cigarette.
Police say the girl continued walking and the suspect stopped his vehicle, got out and approached her on foot.
The say the suspect placed his hand on the girl's arm and asked her to get into his vehicle.
Police say the girl told the man to leave her alone and continued to walk home where she told her parents what happened and they called police.
Officers responded and located the suspect and his vehicle at Aztec Avenue and Seneca Street and he was taken into custody.
Police say they arrested 37-year-old Brandon Valdies of Thousand Oaks for Child Annoyance.
He later bailed out of jail.
Police say Valdies works as a courier delivering packages.
A Ventura County judge is recommending to the State Judicial Council that the dozens of lawsuit stemming from the Thomas Fire and Montecito mudflow disasters be heard in Los Angeles County.
Judge Vince O'Neill made that ruling Monday saying given the size, scope and complexity of the legal actions against Southern California Edison, the Los Angeles court system is better equipped to handle the cases.
There have been some three dozen lawsuits filed against the utility in Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties claiming their equipment started the December 4th Thomas Fire near Santa Paula that killed two people and destroyed over a thousand structures and set up the conditions that led to the debris flows that happened during a January 9th storm that killed more than 20 people in Montecito.
Several law firms are involved in the cases and there was not unanimous agreement about where the lawsuits should be heard, but most appear to be OK with the judge's ruling.
All of the pretrial preparations, including depositions will be able to be conducted in the counties where the victims live, but the coordination of cases and actual legal proceedings would take place in Los Angeles and presided over by a judge in that county.
The State Judicial Council has final authority as to the venue but it's likely Judge O'Neill's ruling would be followed.
(Photo is courtesy Air Squad 8 hovering over the scene)
Updated--Two male juvenile hikers were rescued in a canyon north of the city of Ventura.
One of the male juveniles was rescued quickly.
The other was stuck half way up a steep canyon wall and it took more than an hour to safely rescue him.
No injuries reported.
Air Squad 8, Search and Rescue personnel, and firefighters from Ventura City and County were involved in the rescue.
The area is north of Ventura High School and west of Hall Canyon and it's a very steep hillside.
Oxnard police have gone public with their search for the suspect in a recent shooting that seriously wounded another man.
They say they want to talk with 45-year-old Benjamin Taitai of Oxnard in connection with the shooting on April 6th at 6 PM of a man in the 3000 block of Napa Street.
The victim was shot in the head and had to undergo emergency surgery at VCMC.
Police are asking anyone with information about Taitai's whereabouts or relevant information regarding the shooting, please contact Oxnard PD.
If you wish to remain anonymous you may call the violent crimes hotline at (805) 982-7070 or Ventura County Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477. You can also visit this site http://www.venturacountycrimestoppers.org/contactus.aspx to submit a tip via text or email.
Oxnard police have identified the two suspects in the Monday morning carjacking that led to a televised pursuit in the San Fernando Valley.
They say 26-year-old Dionicio Salinas of Oxnard and 24-year-old Oscar Eulloque of Oxnard were captured after they crashed the carjacked pickup truck into a parked car in a Reseda neighborhood and tried to flee on foot.
Police say that the incident began around 2:15 AM Monday when a 27-year-old Oxnard man was approached by the two suspects in the area of Oxnard Boulevard and Commercial Avenue.
He later told police one suspect had a gun, the other a knife, and they demanded his property.
The victim was then roughed up by the two men who then took his property, including the pickup truck.
It was about two hours later that the vehicle was tracked to a location in Van Nuys and when the LAPD tried to stop it, the high-speed chase resulted.
Salinas is now in the Ventura County Jail with bail set at $110,000 while Eulloque is in the Ventura County Jail with bail set at $120,000, however, he is also being held on a "no bail" warrant for a prior felony conviction involving a vehicle theft.
Both are due in court Wednesday to face carjacking and second degree robbery charges in the Monday crime.
(Photo by Alex Wilson, KVTA News)
Update--Firefighters are crediting the fire sprinkler system with keeping a fire in check at an Oxnard senior living facility until they could knock it down.
The fire was reported around 8:30 AM Tuesday morning at the Sycamore Senior Village at 333 N. F Street.
When firefighters arrived on scene they found a fire in a first floor apartment in the massive complex.
They were able to knock it down within a few minutes because the sprinkler system had helped keep it in check and prevented it from spreading.
Still, there was smoke and water damage beyond that one unit and it was estimated at one point that up to two dozen people might be displaced.
Some 65 people were evacuated during the fire in the five story complex of more than 200 apartments.
The rest just sheltered in place.
There were six people with minor injuries, mainy smoke inhalation and burns.
Cause of the fire was under investigation.
This was the former Saint John's Hospital that was replaced by the current facility on Rose Avenue a quarter century ago.
The old building was refurished into the senior living facility several years later.
The Ventura County District Attorney's Office says a Santa Paula Police Officer was justified in using deadly force on a knife-wielding man.
The incident happened in the early morning hours of April 9, 2017.
The DA's report says Jose Romero Gonzalez-Rendon had been involved in a conflict with his roommates and had left their apartment armed with at least one large kitchen knife.
They say police then received two anonymous 911 calls from a female who said a man had rushed at her car as they were leaving for work at a location near the apartment where Gonzalez-Rendon had been involved in the roommate dispute.
The report says that Senior Officer Matt Alonzo arrived at the scene and saw Gonzalez-Rendon in a driveway north of East Ventura Street.
The DA says as the officer got out of his patrol car, Gonzalez-Rendon started running directly at him with the knife held upward and pointed at Officer Alonzo.
The report says that the officer directed him to stop but Gonzalez-Rendon continued to run at Officer Alonzo who then fired six shots when Gonzalez-Rendon was about 15-20 feet away.
Gonzalez-Rendon was pronounced dead at the scene.
The DA's report concludes, "While the events which unfolded on April 9, 2017 were tragic, the unfortunate killing of Jose Romero Gonzalez-Rendon was a justifiable homicide.
Updated--Two Oxnard carjacking suspects were chased in through the San Fernando Valley Monday morning with one being captured quickly and the other tracked down and arrested following an extensive search of the area.
The carjacking was reported around 2:15 AM Monday in the area of Oxnard Boulevard and Commercial Avenue.
The victim told police that two Hispanic males in their early to mid 20's, one armed with an assault style rifle (AK-47) and the other with a knife, carjacked a Ford F 150 pickup truck.
No injuries were reported.
Meanwhile, the vehicle was spotted in the Reseda section of the San Fernando Valley and there was a pursuit of the carjacked vehicle.
The high speed chase ended when the suspects ditched the stolen vehicle and fled on foot.
The second suspect was arrested following an extensive ground and air search of that Reseda neighborhood.
(Photo courtesy Ventura County Air Unit)
One person suffered major injuries in a crash in the Ventura County backcountry.
The CHP reported it shortly before noon Sunday on Highway 33 at Apache Canyon Road just south of the Ventura-Santa Barbara county line in extreme northern Ventura County.
It involved a pickup truck that slammed into a utility pole, trapped the driver inside.
Rescue crews freed the driver and then Air Squad 8 airlifted the driver to the hospital with major injuries.
The CHP is investigating.
Ventura police say they arrested a 73-year-old man in connection with a commercial burglary.
About 8:40 PM Saturday night they received a call that someone had broken the front window to Atara Salon at 2833 E. Main Street and was inside the business.
The caller said they confronted the suspect and the suspect fled into the neighborhood as the caller chased after, but lost sight of him running to the rear of a residence on Dos Caminos Street.
Officers responded and began to search for the suspect and found him hiding in the crawlspace of a backyard patio on Dos Caminos.
He was taken into custody with the help of VPD K9 Rover.
Police say 73-year-old Raymond Vasquez, who they describe as a vagrant, was found to have three felony burglary warrants out of Santa Clara, Claremont and Santa Barbara and is what's known as a PRCS (Post Release Community Supervision) offender.
(Photo courtesy Ventura County Air Unit)
Updated--Firefighters, US Forest rangers, and the CHP are at the scene of a motorcycle crash on Highway 33 north of the Ojai Valley in the Los Padres National Forest.
It was reported shortly before 11 AM Saturday.
A male motorcyclist in his 60's was reportedly 70 feet over the side of the highway with "multiple traumatic injuries."
Air Squad 8 was sent to the scene.
They hoisted the man up to the hovering copter and then airlifted him to Ventura and ultimately the trauma center at VCMC.
Simi Valley police say they've solved the case of the equipment stolen from a girls' softball team in Ventura.
Last month more than $6,000 worth of equipment belonging to the girls' softball team at Foothill Technology High School in Ventura was taken from a storage facility at nearby Ventura College.
On April Friday 13th, Simi Valley police received information the stolen equipment was pawned at a second hand business in Simi Valley.
Detectives recovered the equipment and also arrested a suspect, 38-year-old David Youell of Ventura.
They also served a search warrant at Youell's residence in Ventura and recovered additional items they say were stolen from the team.
Police say Youell was booked into the Ventura County Jail for felony receiving stolen property with bail set at $10,000.
Ventura police are looking for suspects in connection with an incident early Saturday morning that left a man with several stab wounds.
About 12:40 AM officers responded to a stabbing at 6328 Bristol Road.
They found a 30-year-old Ventura man who told them he had gotten into a physical altercation with one subject when three other subjects joined in and stabbed him and the fled the area.
The victim was taken to VCMC for treatment of several non-life threatening stab wounds.
The only description of the suspects was four Hispanic males ages 20-30 years.
Oxnard police are looking for a suspect and motive for a shooting late Friday night that wounded a man in the leg.
About 10:46 PM a man showed up at VCMC with a gunshot wound to his leg.
The 23-year-old Oxnard man said it happened in the area of Cooper Road and Garfield Avenue in Oxnard.
Police say the man was in stable condition.