Local Boys & Girls Club staff reeling after Tahoe staff-member arrested.
Local and national Boys & Girls Club staff were in a state of shock Monday following the arrest on kidnapping and murder charges of a part-time worker at the South Lake Tahoe branch of the club.
Cathy Blankenship, Western Nevada Boys & Girls executive director, said the 16 employees in the Carson City facility don’t recall having had contact with the suspect, 19-year-old Thomas Robert Soria.
Soria, a resident of Stateline, is being held without bail for the suspected kidnapping and murder of 9-year-old Krystal Steadman, a member of the South Lake Tahoe Boys & Girls Club.
Blankenship said all the branches work autonomously and that employees in Carson City are screened through local and FBI criminal records searches.
“We have an extensive screening process funded through a state grant and mandated by the Nevada Legislature,” she said. “But that doesn’t always ensure that you get the information you need.”
Contact between children at the Carson City facility and at the South Lake Tahoe facility is limited to programs and special events, Blankenship said. Children are not transported en masse from one facility to the other for daily supervision.
“We have things like sports tournaments and a football league,” she said. “(Lake Tahoe branches) are smaller clubs.”
John Schroeder, Pacific region vice president, said that clubs incorporate and operate independently in their home states.
“We don’t exercise any control, nationally and regionally, for local clubs,” he said.
Information about the tenure of Soria’s employment at the club was not available Monday, although Schroeder said that he had contacted the South Lake Tahoe branch and was assured that “they had done routine checks through local authorities.”
Repeated phone calls to the club were not answered Monday afternoon and evening.
In the nine western states there are 211 separately incorporated clubs. Nationally, including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, there are 2,591 clubs.
“Stuff like this is just so rare,” Schroeder said, from the club’s Long Beach, Calif., office. “It just knocks the skids out from under you.”