Roundup: Murder charges dropped in Santa Ynez case, more news




  • In US
  • 2022-12-03 01:04:26Z
  • By VC Star | Ventura County Star
In October, as a regional manhunt was underway, authorities in Santa Barbara County released a photo of a Chrysler minivan like one believed to have been stolen in a murder case.
In October, as a regional manhunt was underway, authorities in Santa Barbara County released a photo of a Chrysler minivan like one believed to have been stolen in a murder case.  

Here's a roundup of recent incidents and announcements from Ventura County and regional agencies:

Murder charges dropped in Santa Ynez fatality

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY - The Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office has dismissed murder charges in a case that involved a regional manhunt in October.

The complaint against a Lancaster man, Rylen Quinn Svane Morris, who was 26 at the time of his arrest, has been dismissed, prosecutors said Friday.

The case involved the death of 72-year-old Terry Lee Wilson, whose body was found on Oct. 8 near his Santa Ynez home on Jason Way.

Svane Morris had allegedly fled the scene in a Chrysler minivan stolen nearby, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's authorities said at the time. He had previously dated Wilson's daughter, officials had said.

The sheriff's office had issued a news release seeking the public's help locating Svane Morris, saying at the time he was considered dangerous. He was arrested days later in Santa Cruz County and was subsequently charged with murder.

On Friday, DA officials issued a statement saying prosecutors had dismissed the case due to "new information" regarding Wilson's cause of death. No other details about the cause of death were provided in the statement.

Chief Deputy DA Sonia Balleste of the agency's Santa Maria office said the investigation remains active, so she could not disclose the new evidence that caused prosecutors to change course. But when significant developments leave prosecutors unable to prove allegations, she said, it is "ethical" to release the person from charges.

The county coroner's bureau hasn't yet completed its final report on Wilson's cause and manner of death, she said. As of Friday, it wasn't clear whether the fatality involved a possible criminal offense. It was not a suicide, Balleste said.

In part because of the high-profile manhunt and arrest, the investigation was still underway when prosecutors filed charges, Balleste noted. Several weeks out, the evolving case has led to a "dramatic change in posture" regarding the former suspect.

The DA's office expects to issue an update by the end of the month when there is more clarity about what took place, Balleste said.

Fentanyl death spurs arrest

CAMARILLO - Ventura County Sheriff's officials arrested a suspect in connection with a fatal fentanyl-related overdose in Camarillo in November.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid linked to a surge in drug fatalities in recent years, both in Ventura County and around the U.S.

The overdose occurred on Nov. 17 in the 700 block of Paseo Camarillo, where a person was reported unconscious. Camarillo deputies and county fire personnel were unable to revive the victim despite life-saving measures. The sheriff's office is contracted to provide police services in Camarillo.

Evidence at the scene indicated the victim had ingested fentanyl. Detectives with the county's interagency pharmaceutical crimes unit identified a 29-year-old Camarillo man as the suspected source of the fentanyl.

On Nov. 30, detectives conducting surveillance on the suspect followed him as he left his residence. Camarillo deputies then arrested him on suspicion of a felony drug offense. The suspect, who is slated for a court appearance on Dec. 12, remained in Ventura County's main jail on Friday. He was not eligible for bail as he is on state parole, officials said.

Water quality at risk

VENTURA COUNTY - Ventura County's Environmental Health Division warned of bacteria risks at local beaches as storm water accumulates amid ongoing rain.

The contaminated runoff is possible with two-tenths of an inch of rain, officials said, impacting storm drains, creeks, rivers and channels that empty onto beaches. Contact with contaminated water can can lead to illness.

Physical hazards also include tree limbs and logs that can be carried to the ocean and cause injury.

Residents should avoid contact with all storm runoff and ocean water at Ventura County beaches for at least 72 hours after all rain has stopped, officials said.

If contact does occur, wash thoroughly with soap and water.

Sample results for specific beaches are listed on the division's recorded hotline at 805-662-6555 and on the county's ocean monitoring results website.

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Murder charges dropped in Santa Ynez case, more local news

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