Jason Warren, arrested on Sept. 27, is in jail without bail
By Charles Douglas
After nearly a week of speculation as to a pair of investigations into the untimely deaths of local residents, Sheriff Mike Downey called a press conference this afternoon to clear the air and identify a “person of interest” in the cases.
“I know there’s been a lot of speculation…you got to understand why we’ve been holding back information,” he said.
Downey proceeded to explain that on the same afternoon as the fatal hit-and-run slaying of 40-year-old Bayside resident Suzanne Seemann on Old Arcata Road in Freshwater and the discovery of the body of 47-year-old Dorothy Ulrich of Hoopa in a residence there, law enforcement had taken 28-year-old Jason Anthony Warren into custody.
Warren was inside a home in Eureka at the time of his arrest; the Kia used in the hit-and-run which killed Seemann and injured 50-year-old Terri Vroman-Little and 41-year-old Jessica Hunt was found in Eureka earlier in the day.
Warren, whose area of residence was unknown to Downey, had skipped out on a Sept. 7 court hearing. Warren had previously plead guilty to assault with a deadly weapon and was set to be sent to state prison to serve a six-year sentence.
Warren, who has already served time on felony robbery and was released earlier this year, now sits in the Humboldt County Correctional Facility without bail, and has had an attorney appointed to represent him.
“We felt there was no jeopardy to the community in this matter,” the Sheriff explained, as Warren wasn’t going to be released under any circumstances regardless of the outcome of the investigation. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has taken the lead on this case, with assistance from the District Attorney’s office, California Highway Patrol and the Eureka Police Department.
“We were waiting on the autopsy, and that is being conducted in Santa Rosa,” Downey noted.
The Sheriff believes charges in the case would be filed “hopefully by the end of the week,” although he declined to state whether Warren was cooperating with investigators. He told the assembled reporters that while an arrest on either the Hoopa slaying or the hit-and-run wasn’t formally being made at this time, he didn’t want rumors to run rampant on “the blogs” and on Facebook.
“There’s been a lot of misinformation going out,” Downey said. “It was time to come forward and put as much of it to rest as possible.”