NEWS BRIEFS for Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020

From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

Missing woman’s body found

RIVERTON (WNE) — Missing since Jan. 2, 23-year-old Jade Wagon has been found deceased.

Her body was found in a field near Ethete. Authorities verified her identity Tuesday. 

Fremont County Coroner Mark Stratmoen was tight-lipped about the state in which Wagon was found. 

“The only thing we’re saying is that she was found, and we’ve confirmed her identification,” Stratmoen said. 

The coroner ordered an autopsy on Wagon’s body, which should yield a cause of death in about five weeks. The results of the preliminary autopsy have not yet been released. 

The Wind River Police Department is handling the case, and has received but not yet responded to requests for information. 

The Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation and the FBI also are involved in the investigation. 

Multiple sources claimed Wagon was last seen at the Wind River Hotel and Casino before leaving with unknown parties. 

She was the sister of Jocelyn Watt, who was murdered in Riverton along with Rudy Perez almost exactly one year before Wagon’s disappearance. 

Under investigation by the Riverton Police Department, the murders of Watt and Perez have not been solved. 

The girls’ mother, Nicole Wagon, is an activist for Not Our Native Daughters, which supports Gov. Gordon’s task-force on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women.


Man accused of sharing marijuana candy in nursing home

PINEDALE (WNE) — A Colorado man visiting his father at the Sublette Center nursing home is charged with giving another resident some THC candy, which the resident had asked him to bring to Wyoming when he came to visit. 

William A. Ahrens, of Lyons, Colorado, now faces a felony count of delivery of a controlled substance, marijuana, on or about Dec. 2, 2019, according to court records. Colored edible squares were marked with “THC” on them, according to the affidavit filed by Sublette County Detective Danielle Cooper. 

A Sublette Center nurse called her husband, Detective Travis Lanning, after the resident started acting agitated, saying she thought he might have taken THC, the affidavit says. The resident said he had eaten “a handful.” 

An unrelated person with power of attorney found the candies in the resident’s pocket and gave them to the nurse and another deputy collected them. They tested positive for THC on Dec. 3, the addidavit continues. 

No money exchanged hands, the document states. The Sublette Center resident had asked Ahrens to bring him some THC a couple of months earlier and both talked about bringing THC from Colorado, where it is legal, to Wyoming, where it is totally illegal. 

Wyoming has no provisions for medical marijuana or THC. 

The felony charge was filed on Jan. 9 in Sublette County Circuit Court and Ahrens is ordered to appear for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 12 at 11 a.m.


Skier bitten by coyote in Yellowstone

CODY (WNE) — A woman was bitten by a coyote Tuesday morning in Yellowstone Park while she was cross country skiing near Canyon Village.

Witnesses took the 43-year-old woman to the Canyon Visitor Education Center, where rangers provided initial treatment for puncture wounds and lacerations to her head and arm. Rangers transported her to Mammoth Hot Springs by over-snow vehicle, and then she continued on to a medical facility.

Park staff temporarily closed Grand Loop Road near the South Rim Drive when the incident occurred.

Rangers then positively identified and killed the coyote. The coyote is being necropsied and will be tested for rabies.

“Encounters like these are rare, but they can happen. We suspect this coyote may have been starving due to having porcupine quills in its lower jaw and inside its mouth. Its young age likely led to its poor condition and irregular behavior,” said wildlife biologist Doug Smith.


Greybull backs away from pit bull ban

GREYBULL (WNE) — In the face of heavy opposition from the community, the Greybull Town Council has decided to address the problem of dangerous and vicious dogs without the use of any breed-specific legislation that targets pit bulls.

The decision, reached during a special meeting at Town Hall Jan. 23 was not unanimous, but rather 4-1 with Councilman Clay Collingwood casting the lone dissenting vote and, taking it a step further, suggesting that he might raise the issue again at the February meeting.

After flaring up on social media in the days that followed the January meeting, the discussion resumed on Jan. 23, as approximately 60 residents from across the Big Horn Basin filed into the council chambers to speak out against the proposed pit bull ban.

The town had scheduled the meeting two days earlier, indicating on the agenda that it was to consider a motion declaring its opposition to any form of breed- specific legislation as a way of

addressing the dangerous/vicious dog issues facing the town.

Many community residents who showed up did so wishing to make statements to the council. 

Before calling for the vote and seeing it pass 4-1, Foley called on the town to move forward with efforts to better define vicious and dangerous dogs based on their behavior, rather than on any kind of breed- specific legislation. 

"I think we can come up with better guidelines on behavior, instead of labeling specific breeds, which would not be enforceable," he said.


Gillette woman faces federal charges in meth ring

GILLETTE (WNE) — A 42-year-old Gillette woman accused of being part of a Sinaloa Cartel meth ring remains in Campbell County jail awaiting extradition on federal drug charges.

Local charges against Billie Jo Adams were dismissed last week because of those federal charges, with prosecutors and judges saying it was in the best interest of justice to let the federal indictment take precedence.

Adams had been on the lam for several months before her arrest Dec. 28 in Cheyenne.

She was arrested on a federal warrant, but also on a Circuit Court warrant for defrauding a drug and alcohol test and for violating her probation in District Court for leaving a residential treatment center in Rock Springs in June 2018, where she had been sent as part of her sentence and probation for taking drugs into jail.

Adams, aka Billie Jo Reynolds, was one of 43 people indicted by the federal court in San Diego for their connections to an international meth distribution conspiracy connected to the Mexican cartel, prosecutors alleged in federal court filings unsealed May 21.

Roughly 80 pounds of meth, four guns and more than $100,000 cash were seized, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Southern California said in a statement released May 21.

The vast majority of the defendants live in southern California. Most of them were arrested in May, but Adams was one of 10 people who avoided immediate arrest.

She faces a single count of conspiracy to launder money and a single count of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.