Detectives still seeking suspect in murder

December 05, 2002 11:00 pm

By AMY LINDBLOM

Tuolumne County Sheriff's investigators are still searching for a man suspected of murdering Jennifer Lynn Coons, a 21-year-old Sonora woman.

Lt. John Steely said Coons was shot once in the chest with a handgun.

Investigators believe the shooting happened Sunday in a remote Columbia-area location.

Detectives would like to talk to Kristopher Lee McDaniel, 30, of Columbia, whom Steely said is the main suspect.

Coons died at 2:38 p.m. Sunday at Tuolumne General Hospital.

She was taken there by Jerry Christopher Coey, 30, who told detectives that Coons flagged him down on Sawmill Flat Road, near the entrance to Columbia College.

Coey, a Sonora-area parolee, is being held at the Tuolumne County Jail for parole violation. He is not considered a suspect in Coons' murder.

Coey remains held without bail.

McDaniel's home was searched and his vehicle seized by sheriff's investigators, Steely said.

"McDaniel is a parolee at large, and should be considered armed and dangerous," Steely said. "We believe he is still in Tuolumne County."

According to court records, McDaniel's criminal record goes back to 1995 and includes convictions for narcotics possession and misdemeanor battery, as well as resisting arrest and driving on a suspended license.

A memorial fund has been set up at County Bank on Sanguinetti Road for Marsha Coons, the victim's mother, to help defray costs associated with her daughter's death.

Marsha Coons works in the photo department at Wal-Mart, said her boss, AnnaMaria Gustafson. People who wish to contribute may do so at the bank or at Wal-Mart. The phone number at the photo counter is 533-0220.

"Right now our thoughts are with Marsha and helping her get through this terrible ordeal," said Gustafson.

Anyone with information about McDaniel or his whereabouts is asked to immediately contact the Sheriff's department at 533-5815 or Detective Kelvin Moses at 533-5828.

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