News

Actions

Man arrested for deliberate homicide in 2011 death of John "Mike" Crites

Man arrested for deliberate homicide in 2011 death of John "Mike" Crites
Posted at 5:42 PM, Aug 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 00:58:32-04

The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office has announced a man has been arrested for deliberate homicide in the long-unsolved death of John “Mike” Crites.

Sheriff Leo Dutton said 66-year-old Leon Michael Ford was arrested Wednesday morning in Oak Harbor, Washington, and charged with deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence. He said three LCSO detectives were on hand as the Island County Sheriff’s Office took Ford into custody.

In a release Wednesday, Sheriff Leo Dutton said Ford is accused of “purposely or knowingly” causing Crites’ death on or around June 26, 2011, and disturbing Crites’ remains between June 2011 and September 2012 in order to interfere with the investigation.

Dutton said Ford will be arraigned in Oak Harbor on Thursday afternoon. They will seek to bring him back to Lewis and Clark County in the coming days.

Crites went missing in June 2011. His dismembered remains were discovered near MacDonald Pass in October 2011, and his skull was found in a separate location in September 2012.

Crites lived in the Turk Road area, northwest of Birdseye. Dutton said Ford had owned a nearby piece of property.

Crites had been involved in property disputes with several of his neighbors. Dutton said that his death was “quite possibly” linked to a land dispute.

This is the first time someone has been charged in connection with Crites’ death.

“It’s gratifying to call the family and tell them that an arrest has been made,” said Dutton. “It’s gratifying to my staff to know that arrest has been made. It’s gratifying to the residents of Turk Road to know that an arrest has been made.”

Dutton said he had a unit of cold case investigators working on the case, but that he never considered the investigation “cold.”

“They have put in a lot of time, a lot of effort, gathered a lot of evidence,” he said. “We never gave up, we continued to work leads, we continued to work where we had evidence. There’s been a lot of people, a lot of cooperation to make this happen today.”

When asked if he expected any additional arrests in this case, Dutton said, “Right now, we are focusing on Leon Ford.”

This story has been updated. Original post below.


The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s Office has announced a man has been arrested for deliberate homicide in the 2011 death of John “Mike” Crites.

According to a press release Wednesday, Leon Michael Ford was arrested in Oak Harbor, Washington. He was charged with deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence.

In the release, Sheriff Leo Dutton said Ford is accused of “purposely or knowingly” causing Crites’ death on or around June 26, 2011, and disturbing Crites’ body between June 2011 and September 2012 in order to interfere with the investigation.

Dutton said Ford will be arraigned in Oak Harbor on Thursday.

Crites went missing in June 2011. His dismembered remains were discovered near MacDonald Pass in October 2011.

This is the first time someone has been charged in connection with his death.