MCSO: 3 arrested, 1 wanted for kidnapping and marijuana theft in Willits


WILLITS, Calif. - Three suspects from Indiana were arrested Friday for allegedly robbing three victims at gunpoint and forcing them into a closet before stealing marijuana from them in a Willits home, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office (MCSO).

At around 1:30 a.m. on Oct. 27, deputies were called to a residence on Primrose Drive in Willits for a report of an armed robbery, MCSO said. The victims were 64-year-old Sally Ann Gurule, 39-year-old Van Slagle and 44-year-old Justin Slagle, all from Willits. According to deputies, the victims reported that three African American men driving a "burnt orange" Jeep SUV had robbed them at gunpoint and forced them into a closet and stole marijuana from them.

MCSO said as deputies were responding, they passed a vehicle that matched the description given by the victims and began a pursuit. Officers with the Willits Police Department (WPD) located the Jeep and attempted to stop it. Officials said as the suspects evaded both WPD and MCSO deputies who were chasing them, several suspects exited the car and ran. The vehicle finally stopped in the area of South Lenore and Creekside Court in Willits, where the two more suspects fled on foot, MCSO said.

One suspect, 24-year-old Diontae Stephvon Wright from Split Rock, Indiana, was apprehended when he was found hiding in the bushes in the backyard of a home near where the vehicle pursuit ended, officials said.

Another suspect, 24-year-old Michael Deangelo Taylor, from Split Rock, Indiana, was located on Center Valley Road by a Willits police officer.

Deputies said a gun, evidence of another gun and around 20 pounds of marijuana were found when the car was searched.

While the car was being searched, a third suspect was apprehended and gave authorities a false name before he was ultimately identified as 24-year-old Christopher Bradford of Indianapolis, Indiana, MCSO said.

After further investigation, all three suspects were arrested and booked into the Mendocino County Jail, according to MCSO. According to officials, they were each charged with kidnapping, robbery and being armed with a firearm while committing a felony. MCSO said Bradford was found to have a felony warrant from Indiana for possessing a stolen firearm. The arrest warrant identified Bradford as "Armed and Dangerous," according to MCSO. All three suspects are being held on $275,000 bail.

A fourth suspect, 24-year-old Hugo Mercado, was also identified as being involved and has yet to be located. Mendocino County Sheriff's detectives will be seeking an arrest warrant for Mercado.

Any people with knowledge that could help officials in this case are encouraged to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Communications Center at 707-463-4086

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