Not enough evidence to press charges in Tahoe man’s death
February 7, 2003
Lack of criminal evidence is forcing the District Attorney’s Office to shelve the case in which Edward Ortega died in a staged accident.
“The evaluation of the case thus far indicates there is lack of sufficient evidence to warrant filing of criminal charges at this time,” District Attorney Gary Lacy said. “However, we’ll continue to look into the matter.”
The body of the South Lake Tahoe mason was found Aug. 2 several feet uphill from his smashed white flatbed truck. The vehicle plummeted at least 100 feet off Mormon Emigrant Trail and crashed into a tree. California Highway Patrol officers initially believed the crash to be an accident, but later ruled the death a homicide.
Ortega was working on a desolate ranch off Silver Fork Road owned by Rodney Sency, a former South Lake Tahoe auto mechanic. Ortega would leave his family in Arizona and travel to South Shore during the warm weather months looking for work. Sency, accompanied by a lawyer, was the one who notified El Dorado County sheriff’s deputies about the crash and where it was located.
In other news:
n Arthur Gerling, a 28-year-old South Lake Tahoe man, was taken into custody after threatening a neighbor with a knife, trying to run him over with a car and evading police, a South Lake Tahoe police officer said.
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Gerling reportedly came back to his apartment after a night of drinking on Wednesday, pushed his girlfriend and threatened to stab his neighbor in the back, the officer said. When the neighbor said he would call police, Gerling got into his Camaro, tried to run over the neighbor, ran a red light and pulled away from police who had their lights on, the officer said.
After finally deciding to pull over, Gerling kicked and twisted at officers trying to handcuff him, the officer said. He was arrested on charges of brandishing a weapon, obstructing an officer, driving under the influence, assault with a deadly weapon, evading a peace officer and making terrorist threats.
n About $3,000 in video games, compact discs, DVD movies and prescription drugs were taken from a 1994 Chevy Camaro parked at the Goalpost Restaurant and Bar during the early hours of Sunday, a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy said.
The 22-year-old owner of the car was in the bar for nearly 10 hours before returning to the car to find the passenger side window halfway rolled down and the items missing. The $1,000 he thought was pick-pocketed was later found on the floor in the rear passenger area.
n Two teenagers were taken into custody after allegedly stealing more than $200 in clothing items from Rain Urban Street Apparel on Tuesday, a South Lake Tahoe police officer said. After stuffing a white jogging suit, jeans, belt, bracelet, watch and a stripped shirt under their clothes, the two were spotted by authorities, the officer said.
The stolen property was recovered.
n A Bijou Elementary School fourth-grader reported Monday that a man with a silver handgun chased him for a short while before heading off toward Bijou Woods Apartments, a South Lake Tahoe police officer said.
The man was described between the ages of 18 and 24, Caucasian, about 5 feet 8 inches tall, 180 pounds, with blue eyes and blond hair. He was wearing long gray shorts and a blue Adidas T-shirt.
n A 26-year-old South Lake Tahoe man was taken into custody on battery allegations after he reportedly punched his girlfriend then stabbed himself with a steak knife about five times, a South Lake Tahoe police officer said.
Authorities said the man stabbed himself after the Sunday morning incident, leaving several half-inch puncture wounds in his torso, then went to lie outside.
n A 2002 Chevy 2500 Heavy Duty truck was reported stolen while parked at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe on Feb. 1, a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy said.
The 29-year-old owner of the truck was at Harrah’s to gamble and drink but had his father pick him up. Before taking off for home, the 29-year-old stopped at his truck to pick up some paperwork and reportedly left his door unlocked and keys on the seat, the deputy said.
When he returned the next day to pick up the vehicle he found it missing.
n Somebody kicked in the rear door of the Kingsbury Laundromat and stole $100 worth of quarters, a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy said.
A security camera caught the incident of a white male, wearing a light hat, light shirt and dark pants kicking the door in, the deputy said.
n A 24-year-old South Lake Tahoe man was arrested on charges of drunken driving when an officer saw him speeding on Emerald Bay Road and stumble twice outside the 7-Eleven, a South Lake Tahoe police officer said.
n A 32-year-old South Lake Tahoe man was arrested on charges of drunken driving and parole violation after he was pulled over for expired registration, a South Lake Tahoe police officer said.