MAN ARRESTED, SUSPECTED OF SEXUALLY ABUSING TWENTYNINE PALMS CHILD FOR 11 YEARS

A Riverside County man has been arrested, accused of the continuous sexual abuse of a child in Twentynine Palms. On Wednesday, October 21, at 9:53 p.m., deputies from the Morongo Basin Station responded to a report of continuous sexual abuse; the victim disclosed sexual abuse by a family member, Russell Richeal, 37, for over 11 years at multiple locations, including their shared residence in Twentynine Palms. On October 22, a warrant was issued for the arrest of Richeal on four charges related to long-time child sexual abuse.

Russell Richeal

Later that same day, deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department located and arrested Richeal in Jurupa Valley for his warrant. Russell Richeal was booked in Riverside County. Monday, October 26, he was transported to the West Valley Detention Center where he is being held on $250,000 bail.

HOUSE FIRE IN JOSHUA TREE MONDAY NIGHT

Firefighters were called to a house fire in north Joshua Tree late Monday night. County Fire Battalion Chief Bob Evans said Joshua Tree, Yucca Valley, and Yucca Mesa firefighters were called to the 63100 block of Cielito Drive about 11:30 p.m. The blaze was well involved with smoke and flames when they arrived. Crews had the flames knocked down in 36 minutes. Evans thought the fire had started in the living room of the home; the cause is still under investigation. The wind was not a factor in fighting the blaze. The male occupant was able to get out of the house safely and there were no injuries.

The Blue Ridge Fire in Yorba Linda Courtesy Orange County Fire Authority

Battalion Chief Bob Evans also mentioned that a crew from a brush patrol engine stationed at the Twentynine Palms fire station was sent about 9 p.m. Monday to join a strike team help fire the Blue Ridge Fire in Yorba Linda, which is currently at 8,000 acres and is 0 percent contained.

TWENTYNINE PALMS CITY COUNCIL MEETS: VERMIN, COVID ASSISTANCE, AND MEASURE U

The Twentynine Palms City Council gathers this evening to discuss the overpopulation of rodents in the City. Reporter Heather Clisby has details…

Tonight, the Twentynine Palms City Council meeting will include a discussion on the rodent problem and what can be done about it. Possible solutions include “rat birth control” and County Vector Control.

The Council will consider allocating funds from the CARES Act to launch two programs to combat financial burdens from COVID-19 – a rental assistance program for commercial properties, and helping restaurant owners prepare for outdoor dining as the weather cools.

As this is the last council meeting before the election, council members will discuss the city’s stance on Measure U, the repeal of Fire Protection District 5, known as FP5.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 6136 Adobe Road. The meeting can be viewed on demand on the City’s website, 29palms.org. Residents can also live stream the event from the site and clicking on the “Meeting Agendas” link.

FORMER TWENTYNINE PALMS MARINE SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS TO LIFE FOR MURDER

Curtis Krueger

A former Twentynine Palms Marine who was convicted last month of murdering a Murrieta man and burying his body in Joshua Tree National Park in 2018 was sentenced to 18 years to life in a Riverside County Court last week. Judge Kelley Hansen denied the defense attorney’s request Thursday that Curtis Krueger’s conviction be reduced to manslaughter from second-degree murder, saying that the jury got the verdict right. Krueger, 32, took the stand during his trial last month and said he followed his 29-year-old girlfriend, Ashlie Stapp, to the home of Henry Stange, 54, in May 2018. Stapp testified that she had sex with Stange in exchange for drugs. Krueger confronted Stange over allegedly sexually assaulting Stapp, and then beat him to death in Stange’s garage. Stapp helped Krueger clean up the crime scene and bury the body in Joshua Tree National Park, where Stange’s body was found about a week later. Ashlie Stapp pleaded guilty to helping Krueger evade arrest and was sentenced to 309 days in custody and three years probation.

Then-1st. Lt. Curtis Krueger, Combat Logistics Battalion 7, and his girlfriend, Ashlie Stapp, during the unit’s Jane Wayne Day aboard the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif., May 10, 2018. Krueger killed Henry Stange, 54, of Murrieta two weeks after this photo was taken, and Stapp helped him bury the body in Joshua Tree National Park. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Margaret Gale)

YUCCA VALLEY PLANNING COMMISSION TO HEAR REPORT ON SHORT-TERM RENTALS

The Yucca Valley Planning Commission will meet tonight. Managing editor Tami Roleff says a native plant permit is on the agenda and a report on short term vacation rentals…

At tonight’s 6 p.m. meeting of the Yucca Valley Planning Commission, commissioners will be asked to approve a native plant permit to remove three yucca plants from a property at 55822 Sunnyslope Drive for a fire engine turn-around. Also on the agenda, the commission will hear a report on short-term vacation rentals in the town. Residents may attend the meeting in person in the Yucca Room of the Yucca Valley Community Center, or view it online through a link on the town’s website, yucca-valley.org.

You are strongly encouraged to view the meeting live on the Town’s website at http://yuccavalleyca.iqm2.com/Citizens/default.aspx.
To view from the website, select the live stream link on the top of the front page.

2) If you choose not to attend the Planning Commission meeting but wish to make a public comment and/or a comment on a specific agenda item, please submit your comment via email by 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 27, to the Commission Secretary at bvrhovnik@yucca-valley.org Your comments will be distributed to the Planning Commission and every effort will be made to read your comment into the record. Comments read will be timed and limited to three minutes. All comments should be a maximum of 500 words, which corresponds to approximately three minutes of speaking time.

3) You may also submit comments during the meeting through the same email address. Every effort will be made to read comments aloud which are submitted after 5 p.m. and during the meeting, subject to the same three-minute time limitation. All comments submitted before and during the meeting will be included in their entirety in the official record of the meeting.

4) If you choose to attend the Planning Commission meeting in person, seating in the Council Chamber may be limited in order to accommodate the 6-foot recommended social distancing seating procedure.