>Sonora / Tuolumne News, Sports, & Weather, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, Jamestown | Union Democrat

News Classifieds Web
web powered by Web Search Powered by Google

Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Property owners shocked by crime

Property owners shocked by crime

A Groveland couple say they were as shocked as anyone to learn about the gruesome finding of a dismembered body on their property last week.

Phillip and Jenny Beckett live on 15 acres of land off Bairds Road, where authorities located a Stockton homicide suspect and the remains of his presumed victim late Thursday night. 

Bryan Scott Cook, 38, a former Mi-Wuk Village resident, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of homicide.

Earlier that day, Stockton police had received an anonymous tip and discovered a bloody scene at a house on the 4500 block of Mist Trail Drive in the Weston Ranch area of the city. The investigation led them to develop information that Cook could be staying at the Bairds Road property in Groveland.

Stockton police said investigators found a human torso in a campfire at the Groveland scene, along with other pieces of the body in Cook’s car.

Cook was later booked into San Joaquin County Jail.

A second suspect, Valentina Ann Paz, 49, was arrested Friday after being interviewed at a Stockton police station. She was booked into San Joaquin County Jail on suspicion of homicide and conspiracy.

The victim, Michael Shane Jones, 48, formerly of Long Barn, had been living at the Mist Trail Drive house with both suspects prior to his death, authorities said. Officers at the crime scene in Stockton noted that it appeared the tenants had moved out of the residence. 

Jenny Beckett said Cook was in the process of moving, and, to her knowledge, had been staying in a trailer on their property for the past couple weeks.

Beckett said Cook was the boyfriend of her sister, Teresa Holt. 

Both Becketts said they didn’t know Cook personally, but were letting him temporarily live in the trailer on the property at Holt’s request.

Stockton detectives interviewed Holt on Friday but did not implicate her in any crimes and released her.

“All I know is that my sister was not involved at all,” Jenny Beckett said.

The Becketts were away from their home most of Thursday night, Phillip Beckett said. He noticed lights from emergency vehicles down the road from his house when they returned between 9 and 10 p.m., but didn’t think much of it at the time and went straight to bed.

Jenny Beckett said it wasn’t until the next day that police talked to her and she found out about the body and Cook’s arrest.

“It was a total shock,” she said.

Cook’s trailer, which actually belongs to Holt, was out of sight from the couple’s home and they had no contact with him, Jenny Beckett said. She added that Cook originally planned to leave around the beginning of this month.

Though he was mostly “a stranger” to the Becketts, Cook had previously worked for a construction company in Tuolumne County owned by Jenny Beckett’s brother and was considered “one of the best hands he had,” Phillip Beckett said.

“Everyone who knew him (Cook) said they couldn’t believe it,” Phillip Beckett said.

Tuolumne County Sheriff’s detectives assisted Stockton police with the search for Cook and were the first to locate him. However, the Sheriff’s Office has declined to comment on the case and referred all questions to the Stockton Police Department.

“Basically, it’s Stockton’s case,” said Tuolumne County Sheriff Jim Mele. “They contacted us and we assisted them in their needs.” 

Mele added that the San Joaquin County Coroner will be handling the autopsy. Authorities have yet to release an exact cause of death.

Stockton police spokesman Joe Silva said detectives are also investigating different theories on a possible motive but had no new information to release Monday afternoon.

Paz and Cook remained in custody without bail at San Joaquin County Jail.  

The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office said formal charges have yet to be filed against either suspect, though that was expected to happen sometime today.

Paz’s first appearance in San Joaquin County Superior Court was scheduled for 1:30 p.m. today, while a hearing for Cook was set at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday. Both hearings will be held at the Stockton Courthouse, 222 E. Weber Ave., in Department Z.

Follow UnionDemocrat.com

Get Today's Top Headlines to your inbox

The Union Democrat print edition

The Union Democrat 11/28/15

View Paper

The Union Democrat is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Tuesday through Saturday. E-Edition or Print Plus subscribers have full access.


If you are not a current subscriber, subscribe today for immediate access. Circulation: 209-533-3614

View all The Union Democrat print publications

Weekender by The Union Democrat

Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties

Weekender 11/26/15

View Guide

Available online every Friday or get it early in Thursday's print edition.

View past copies of the weekender

Local / Sports / Business / Stocks / News of Record / State / Nation/World / Obituaries / Submit News
Editorials / Letters
Union Democrat Photos / Community Photos /
Search Classifieds / Jobs / Autos / Homes / Rentals / Place an Ad
Online Extras
Weather / Local Business Links / Community Links / Photo Reprints
Union Democrat
About / Contact / Commercial Printing / Subscriptions / Terms of Use / Site Map

© Copyright 2001 - 2015 Western Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. By Using this site you agree to our Terms of Use