Fugitive hung out to dry
A 27-year-old Fallon man suspected of child endangerment and other charges was arrested in cramped quarters one week ago by Fallon police, who were acting on a tip.
Jeremy Steven Valencia, who is suspected in a brutal child abuse case out of Lemoore, Calif., was discovered in a dryer by police on May 22, Fallon Capt. Ron Wenger said.
Wenger said FPD received information about Valencia’s whereabouts and searched several residences before finding Valencia at a home on South Broadway Street at about 1 a.m. In addition, Wenger said 21-year-old Fallon native Travis Slaugh was also arrested for harboring a fugitive.
Slaugh was booked on charges of interference, resisting arrest and accessory to principles of crimes in connection with hiding Valencia.
As for Valencia, Wenger said officers searched the home and noticed the dryer door ajar.
“We gained permission to check (the house) and we found him hiding in the dryer,” Wenger said. “It was a tight fit and they got him out of the dryer. It’s hard to put up a fight.”
Valencia, meanwhile, had numerous active warrants for his arrest including several out of Hanford in Kings County, Calif., and two in Nevada including a Fallon municipal court warrant.
He has been on the run since the incident with the child occurred, according to media reports.
“Normally, he would put up a fight and run from us,” Wenger added. “He’s been on the lam for awhile.”
The Kings County Superior Court website has a Fallon address on Lizard Court as Valencia’s residence, although he lived in the Lemoore/Hanford area at some point, according to media reports.
On March 11, prosecutors in Kings County filed a criminal complaint and a warrant for his arrest.
According to a story aired on KMPH Fox 26 in Fresno on March 11, Kings County Sheriff’s detectives wanted to speak with Valencia about the physical abuse suffered by a 1-year old girl. Lemoore is about 33 miles south of Fresno.
According to the station, family members said he babysat the child outside Lemoore and hit and burned the child. The girl also suffered a broken arm and black eye and authorities were alerted to the suspected abuse after the mother of the child took the child to the hospital, where hospital staff notified the sheriff’s office.
“It is suspected child abuse, but that’s not our case,” Wenger said.
Valencia went on the run and hadn’t been seen since, that is until Fallon police arrested him last week.
The child’s aunt, Erlene McDarment, spoke with the news station in March and said Valencia is responsible for abusing the infant.
“It hurt; you know you could tell she was traumatized,” McDarment told the station. “She was sad, she was crying non–stop, I was holding her in the hospital, and she cried herself to sleep.”
Valencia, meanwhile, was booked into the Churchill County Jail and is being transported to the Kings County Jail.
The other charges include ex-felon in possession of a firearm, possession of short-barreled shotgun and making threats, Wenger said.
Valencia’s criminal history, though, dates back to his teenage years when in 2007 he and another man went on a week-long crime spree.
Valencia, 19 at the time, and Robert Ortiz assaulted a man who was dating Valencia’s former girlfriend with a baseball bat. Valencia threw a chair striking his former girlfriend in the head after she attempted to break up the fight. He also threatened to kill the woman and her grandfather, broke windows from two vehicles. Valencia also served a jail sentenced for violating a restraining order.
As for the crime spree, he pleaded guilty to one count of burglary and was sentenced to drug court. However, Valencia failed out of drug court and was sentenced to 16 months to six years in prison in August 2008.
In 2012, Valencia pleaded no contest to stealing numerous items from a home owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
He, along with two other individuals, stole hot water heaters, an air conditioner, plumbing and wires to scrap causing $38,000 in damages. Valencia was sentenced one to four years in prison for grand larceny.