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Rangers Apprehend Kidnapping And Murder Suspect

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area

National Park News

Park dispatcher Tracy Lange saw a hitchhiker on Highway 299 on April 12th and asked a ranger to check him out. Ranger Gary Panich contacted the hitchhiker near milepost 10.5 and identified him as one Christopher McDonald. Ranger Stevon Culver joined Panich as backup. An NCIC check on McDonald revealed that there was a non-extraditable warrant out against him from Colorado. The rangers were about to release McDonald when a BOLO for him suddenly came up in the system, ordering officers “to stop and hold” him for the disappearance of a one-year-old infant from Redding, California. Panich and Culver handcuffed and searched McDonald, and Redding Police Department detectives came to the scene and took him into custody. A ranger was sent to the old Whiskeytown Store building to secure a possible crime scene where McDonald had stayed. Redding PD and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office launched a major search for the infant later in the day. A ranger and fire personnel checked the Whiskey Creek shoreline by boat, but found no clues.  At 7:30 p.m., the body of the missing infant was found about seven miles east of the park boundary. McDonald has been charged with kidnapping and murder by the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office.



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