TWELVE HOUR MANHUNT RESULTS IN ARREST OF THREE
On November 28, 2011 at 11:58 PM, The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of gunfire in the downtown area of Turtle River. Deputies responded to a location in Turtle River to investigate the complaint; however no one would answer the door. Subsequently, a car sped from the scene resulting in a pursuit. The pursuit ended with a total of 4 occupants fleeing on foot from the vehicle (abandoned on a short wooded trail) approximately 11 miles north of Bemidji on Irvine Ave N. Arrested at the scene was Jessica Ann Johnson, 20, unknown address. An AK-47 style assault rifle was found in the vehicle along with two 30 round magazines. The search continued for the three other occupants.
Additional deputies, the Headwaters SWAT team, a Border Patrol officer, a Minnesota State Patrol trooper and Paul Bunyan Task Force members responded to the scene and conducted a sweep of the area. The search was aided in the early morning hours by a Minnesota State Patrol helicopter using thermal imaging equipment. Officers searched residences and outbuildings in the area and spoke with several homeowners during this manhunt. Dispatchers also made telephone contact with residents to inform them of the law enforcement presence and the suspects who were loose in their neighborhood. Officers remained in the area and the helicopter was released from duty at daylight.
The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office received a phone call at 7:55 AM from a resident on Irvine Ave N, approximately a mile from where the vehicle was abandoned, advising that two males matching the description of two suspects in this case had approached a residence on Irvine Ave N. and asked to use the phone. That request was denied and the suspects ran from the yard. The search continued.
The United States Border Patrol responded with a helicopter, along with Beltrami County Deputies, Bemidji Police Officers, State Patrol troopers, BCA and the Paul Bunyan Task Force. Citizen tips reporting dogs barking or other indicators of suspects in the area were investigated. The search continued.
Information was developed indicating that Robert Wayne Parker, Jr. 23 of Bemidji, MN was one of the suspects who had fled the scene. Follow-up investigation determined that Parker was able to successfully elude the search and get a ride away from the area at around 7:30 AM and is still being sought by authorities. Red Lake Police Investigators aided the Sheriff’s Office in this investigation. The other two remained at large in the area near Buena Vista.
At 12:17 PM an observant citizen called the Sheriff’s Office to report he had spotted two males walking northbound on Irvine Ave N, approximately 3 miles north of the original location. The description matched the suspects. Officers responded to the scene and arrested Christopher Lee Rossbach, age 24, of Ponemah, MN and Winfield William White, 22, also of Ponemah at 12:21 PM.
The suspects were taken into custody and all three are being held at the Beltrami County Jail pending potential charges after review by the County Attorney’s Office.
The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office appreciates our alert citizens who assisted in any way possible along with the agencies who instantly responded over the 12 ½ hour period expended in the subsequent capture of these suspects.